Product: Takamine EF-407 Acoustic Guitar.
Reviewed by: Shannon Bourne
Over the last 50 years Takamine has been at the forefront of producing a steady stream of great sounding and fairly affordable guitars. Not only are they great quality but they also have a model to suit any kind of music… provided that it is acoustic music of course! From Dreadnaughts to classical to smaller models, there really is so much choice.
The EF-407 is a “concert” style body shape (refer to Martin style guides) but Takamine call this their “NY” style body. This guitar is like a mash up between a Weissenborn slide guitar and a Martin acoustic. It features Hawaiian Koa top, back and sides, a mahogany neck capped with an Indian Rosewood fingerboard. One thing I really love purely for aesthetics is the slotted headstock, which always makes me think of 1920’s blues and the open back 3 and 3 machineheads have a smooth action that makes tuning and detuning no work at all.
Straight out of the box, straight out of the case and this guitar feels and looks superb. Opening the case, I was really taken by the exotic look of the koa. Naturally, this timber features quite a pronounced, figured grain with knots and flames that can be very prevalent. Picking the guitar up I really like the neck profile, which feels solid without being too cumbersome and the body, which feels a little on the frail side but the slight frailty adds to the instrument’s “airiness”.
Giving the guitar a strum, there is an explosive and pronounced mid-range bark… almost like the chords are bursting out of the guitar. At first I was convinced that this instrument would lend itself quite nicely to fingerpicking and such but was really surprised at the way this guitar reacted equally as favourably to strumming as well! Out of the box, this guitar’s action was set pretty perfect, but I would have been more likely to raise the action just a little to accentuate the bass frequencies and try to get a little more volume out of it … personal choice pretty much. One small feature that some players often overlook is the material that the nut is made of; this instrument possesses a bone nut that greatly enhances the open nature of the tone. The Takamine really straddles the line between boxy and open, which is a great quality. It would be equally well suited to “ol’ timey” music as well as older style blues. You’ve got most of your roots tones covered but with the unique tonal qualities of koa. There really isn’t another wood that sounds like it.
Dropping the guitar into DADGAD tuning really made the tone of this instrument bloom. Getting some Celt/folk licks under my fingers was easy and at this juncture, I dare say this guitar would sound amazing in the studio with a couple of quality microphones on it. The D’Addario EXP16 strings really suit this guitar and have a brilliant tone…I wouldn’t want to go much heavier than this.
Plugging the guitar into a PA was a joy as well. This guitar features the “CT4B” preamp system that has a 3 band EQ, a volume and an on-board tuner. Definitely a plug in and play guitar. Take along your favourite reverb and you don’t have to think about much at all. The electrified tone of the guitar was fairly well balanced but inherently there are always issues with thin sounding “high” strings in the case of piezo pickups. So, single picked lines suffered a little but could easily be fattened up with a nice warm reverb.
So, what we have with the takamine EF-407, is an attractive, well-crafted and incredibly practical instrument. It holds it’s tuning and has a rare mix of beauty and practicality and at a RRP of $1599- there are some companies that will need to pick their game up if they want to seriously compete.
Shannon Bourne has just released a new album, “62:49 Live” www.shannonbourne.com