2/03/2017

1999 Tacoma EM9 000-Size Flattop Guitar





Update: I just reset the neck and installed a new, tall, compensated bone saddle. The guitar still has perfect action but now has a more robust, gutsy tone and lots of adjustment room at the saddle for later setup changes. Part of the work can be seen in this blog post but I've also replaced all the photos in the post with up-to-date ones and updated the sound file to a new one.

After I finished work on this, I gave it a strum and I thought -- hey, that sounds like a 70s Guild! I mean that in a good way, too -- my favorite  Guilds are 1970s F-112 12-strings and 1970s F-30s, which this Tacoma resembles in specs and body shape. This is a 000-size guitar, really, but folks call this a mini-jumbo shape these days because they're curvier and have a slightly tighter waist.

Similar to those 70s F-30s, it has a long 25 1/2" scale length, 15 1/4" lower bout, 4 1/4" depth, and modern-style 1 11/16" nut width and small-medium C-shaped neck profile. If you mix those specs with a solid top and solid mahogany back and sides, the palette is similar to a modern 000-18 Martin but with more drive and punch in the mids. It's a good sound for a fingerstyle player wanting clarity or someone who wants to bang out chords with a clean, balanced, punchy tone.

Anyhow, my work on it was simple -- I reset the neck (it's bolted), reglued the bolt-receptacle in the neck's heel itself, made a new bone saddle, then gave it a light cleaning, dressed the fret-ends, and set it up. It has spot-on action with 1/16" treble and 3/32" bass height at the 12th fret. The strings are essentially regular 12s with 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 gauges. The fretboard extension dips slightly down from the plane of the rest of the board over the body -- something I do during resets to allow for body swell in summer which can sometimes "ski-jump" a guitar's board extension.


This Tacoma is US-made and comes with its original gigbag.

I like the look of the guitar -- with tortoise binding, simple rosette, and small teardrop pickguard (aftermarket, and quality) shape. These are classic features, while the satin finish and sculptural bridge give it a modern look.



The neck is mahogany, the board is bound, and the frets are jumbo-sized in a rosewood board with abalone markers.


The top looks like cedar but it's advertised as sitka spruce in period catalogs. I can't tell, to be honest! It smells a bit like red cedar but not enough for me to peg it.

Anyhow, there's a bit of light pick-scratching around the soundhole and a few small scratches and dings throughout the guitar -- but no cracks.



As you can see, the new saddle has plenty of height and back-angle.












I removed the little plate at the neckblock (that covers the bolt access) during the neck reset and stuck it on the inside-back of the instrument with some sticky-film.


You can see the over/under neck bolts in the block, here.

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