This post is the second episode in the short series about my acoustic guitars.
You can find the previous one here: About my nylon string acoustic guitar: Takamine TC132SC
Intro. Back in 2012…
I’ve been playing Gypsy Jazz (GJ) rhythm guitar for about five years. To make a long story short, I liked GJ style, but I loved fingerstyle more. It was hard for me to find enough time for both styles, and I wanted to focus on one. My Saga Gitane D500 was an excellent entry-level guitar for Gypsy Jazz, but … I wanted to play fingerstyle, so I sold D500 to a good guy from Portland, OR. (Thanks Jesse!)
Not so long before that, I went to the shopping tour around the local music shops and played 20-30 different guitars. I found a Walnut Taylor 416CE-LTD, 2011 Spring Edition and I liked it. People at Bellevue American Music were so friendly and helpful, but … price was too high for me and I dropped that idea.
Being a satisfied Takamine TC132SC owner, I looked at Takamine too. I found some very good (but rare) reviews of Takamine TF740FS acoustic-electric guitar. With 1 7/8” (47.5mm) neck width at nut, 12th fret neck-to-body connection, short scale, solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides, it was positioned as an acoustic guitar for fingerstyle. As with TC132SC a year ago, I didn’t find any TF740FS locally, but I talked to people on the TakamineForum.com and Acoustic Guitar Forum, watched videos on YouTube and read everything about this guitar.
I liked what I found. One of the TF740FS owners told me that his guitar not only sounded well, but also had a good setup and low action right out from the factory. Another player was excited by guitar’s high accuracy in intonation, but wasn’t very excited by how it looked. Ok, it’s fair, but I don’t like too bright inlays or too advanced ornaments, bells and whistles on my guitar. I prefer plain cedar wood on the top and side dots on the side of neck.
Finally, I noticed a used 1-year old Tak TF740FS on eBay, sent a few questions to the top-rated seller, was satisfied with the answers and bought it.
It arrived a week later and was in “like new” shape. Thanks Phil! My first impression was “Wow! That’s THE sustain!” The sound was endless! The body was deeper than a standard OM model, so it sounded much fuller than a typical OM-sized guitar. It had Elixir Polyweb light strings on it. Very warm mellow tone with a deep sounded bass. Wow!
I thought that the guitar was already PLEK-ed (or, at least, half-PLEK-ed) at the factory. The action was right, and the intonation was very good. My only wish was to have frets polished a bit better. But it was a used guitar, and it’s a good reason to visit a guitar tech. It sounded great, I felt it very well and it was MY guitar! I put a TC132SC aside and played TF740FS only for a couple of weeks. I put on new extra-light phosphor-bronze strings, but didn’t like them and replaced them with something “heavier”.
A couple of years later, I “PLEKed” this guitar too, and added an internal microphone and a separate 1/4 jack for that microphone on the lower bow of the guitar. It’s now what’s called ‘dual source’ system. I used it with two-channel D-Tar Solstice preamp, and later with Zoom A3 acoustic guitar multi-effect pedal and it worked very well.
Approximately in 2016, the Takamine TF740FS model reached its end of life and was replaced by a new generation guitar, Takamine EF740FS. It has approximately the same dimensions as its predecessor, the same 1-7/8″ (47.5mm) wide neck, and still an excellent guitar for fingerstyle. However, comparing to TF740FS, a new model got a solid thermal spruce top, and solid sapele body
and sides. It also got a TLD-2 non-lamp preamp vs. CTP-2/CTP-3 preamp on older TF740FS model. I haven’t played it myself and can’t comment on how it sounds. If you are interested, you may check several video reviews on YouTube, read the specs on the Takamine web site, and check prices on Amazon.
June 2017 Update
Finally, I decided to buy a steel string guitar with the neck-to-body connection at 14th fret and 1 3/4″ neck. Also, I found a very reasonably priced used Taylor 416CE-LTD, 2011 I mentioned earlier with trade-in option available, so I pulled the trigger and did the exchange. I am about as happy with that Taylor as with TF740FS, but they are definitely quite different guitars. Here are some pros and cons of both:
- 416CE has smaller body, and it’s much lighter than TF740FS.
- TF740FS’s voice is much deeper with a lot of low frequencies. It works very well when comping with a singer, or as a solo fingerstyle guitar in relatively slow ballads.
- Taylor’s sound is brighter and is better balanced across all strings.
- Taylor’s 1 3/4″-wide neck is actually more convenient for me and easier to play than TF740’s 1 7/8″ one.
- I liked Takamine’s CoolTube preamp and sound when plugged in more than Taylor’s stock preamp.
- Taylor had a very good setup done by the previous owner. String action was reasonably low (as I like it). I decided not to do anything with it this year, nor PLEK it.
In general, I was very satisfied by TF740FS and have nothing to complain about. The only reason I moved to Taylor is because I haven’t found any comparable Tak’s guitar at similar price/trade-in options in my area. I still keep and play nylon-string Takamine TC132SC and do not have any plans nor needs to replace it anytime soon.
Takamine TF740FS Video Reviews
TF740FS Demo by Lance Allen
Very informative review, professional video, quality acoustic audio and nice playing by Lance Allen. Kudos!
TF740FS Review by Brad Davis
Brad David is a famous Takamine player and ambassador. There is a lot of his excellent demos of Takamine guitars on Youtube. This one with Sigler Music. This time you can hear how this guitar sounds plugged in.
Takamine TF740FS Review by Doug Young for Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Acoustic Guitar contributing editor Doug Young demonstrates the Takamine TF740FS acoustic-electric guitar.
David Lindley and Takamine Guitars
See what multi-instrumentalist David Lindley found in this guitar – it’s a very interesting music and interesting prospective.
Mark Goldenberg’s Performance on TF740FS
Takamine TF740FS Photos
Click any thumbnail below to see the full-size photos.
A few comments about Takamine guitar cases.
Takamine provides high-quality guitar cases with their guitar. On the picture above with guitar cases, one on the left is a case for nylon-string Takamine TC132SC, and another one on the right is for steel string Takamine TF740FS. TF740FS is positioned as a guitar for fingerstyle. Its deep body helps to produce solid deep sound. Due to that, the case for TF740FS is also wide, and it also has an extra latch on the opposite side. Other than that, both cases are the same inside and outside, and both are high-quality guitar cases.