Takamine was originally founded in Japan during the early 1960s and is named from the mountain near their factory in Sakashita, Japan. Mass Hirade, who has a line of classical guitars named after him in Takamine's model line-up, came to work for Takamine in the late 1960s, and it was at this time that the Takamine brand began to take off.
Most early models were copies of popular American designs - especially several Martin models. Not only are many of these guitars similar in design, but the logo script was near identical, other than the name.
In the late 1970s, Takamine, along with many other Japanese manufacturers, were sued by a number of American guitar builders, including Martin, for trademark infringement. Takamine agreed to stop using their Martin style logo on their guitars and came up with their own. Guitars from this era are known to most guitar collectors as the pre-lawsuit era, and many of these instruments have become extremely collectible today.
Here is a classic vintage Martin HD-28 copy by Takamine Japan. Made from the late 70's to early 80's, the EF-370 SH features a Martin style headstock and logo, a solid spruce top, laminated rosewood back and sides and Martin HD28 scalloped bracing with a factory Takamine pickup system.
The “S” in the model number designates a solid top, and the “H” stands for Herringbone, being a copy of the original pre war Martin Herringbone guitar, the iconic HD-28.
Solid spruce top
Laminated rosewood book matched two piece back
Laminated rosewood sides
Scalloped X bracing - replica of Martin HD28
Martin HD28 style zig zag backstrip
Martin shape headstock with Martin style logo
Martin style herringbone purfling to body and soundhole
Rosewood freatboard and bridge
Cream binding to body, neck and headstock
Original Takamine pickup & preamp system
Original Takamine/Kaman factory tuners
This may be as close as you get to an affordable version of a Martin HD 28 Herringbone. The attention to detail apparent in the build of this guitar is staggering. It was as if the Taka tech boys dismantled an original HD 28, copied every component down to the bone, and then built a perfect reproduction of an iconic acoustic guitar from the ground up. Which is pretty much what they did.
And the proof is in the playing. It is a warm and generous sound.
The only work done on this one since 1985 is a saddle shave by Clyde Watkins at Big Music in Sydney some years ago.
It plays beautifully in all positions, without fret buzz anywhere even with a relatively low action. The frets show minimum wear with plenty of life left. There are a few marks, minor dings etc, and some swirling on the pickguard, but nothing unexpected on a 40+ year old guitar.
There are no structural issues, and no repairs required.
This dreadnought is well-built and sounds the business. Although the laminated back and sides give it a bit more of a D-18 style voice in the midrange than a "true" D-28 would have, you could put this one up against a modern Martin dreadnought and it will more than stand its ground. It looks killer, and has plenty of "bluegrassy" vibe to it.
These early 80s Takamines are great quality instruments by any standards. And they are getting harder to find, especially in this condition.
This guitar was a home-hound and never left the house. So it comes as it is – ie without a case.