I sup­pose I should make a for­mal introduction.

My dad knew I was look­ing for a gui­tar so I could start teach­ing myself, and his co-worker’s daugh­ter hap­pened to be sell­ing hers. I decided not to buy it cause I had no idea what it was, not to men­tion the fact that I’m noto­ri­ously picky about these kinds of things. He bought me the gui­tar any­way (using my birth­day as an excuse), and I drove to Toronto to pick it up the first chance I had when I got back from Europe.

I asked Steve to do a demo of the gui­tar because his skills can really show it off.

Takamine F370SS: guitar front

Takamine F370SS solid wood acoustic dreadnought.

It turns out the gui­tar is absolutely gor­geous, with solid spruce on top and solid koa on the back and sides. And being hand­made in Japan in 1999 — the only year this model was in pro­duc­tion — makes it an instru­ment that will never be replaced. An heir­loom I’ll pass down to my chil­dren if I ever have any.

Takamine F370SS: guitar front detail

The colour looks a lit­tle darker and warmer than usual spruce, which leads me to believe the wood has already matured a bit.

Rosette design made of rose­wood, wal­nut, maple, and mother of pearl.

I’m sure the koa con­tributes to the clar­ity of the tone, which is rich and bright. There’s lots of sus­tain through the entire range that seems to go on for­ever, like hear­ing del­i­cate water droplets ring­ing in a cave.

Takamine F370SS: top wood and binding

Purfling detail.

It plays like a dream. The action is set well for fin­ger­style play­ing, though maybe a lit­tle too low for heavy strum­ming. But I tend not to really dig into the strings unless I’m drunk or high any­way. It’s has a nice heavy lac­quer, which I’m hop­ing will make up for the lack of a pickguard.

Takamine F370SS: back wood

Solid koa back. The wood pat­tern doesn’t stand out as being dis­tinc­tively koa to me, which usu­ally has a heav­ier cross grain.

The design is sim­ple and min­i­mal­is­tic — exactly my style.

Takamine F370SS: side wood

Yummy honey colour­ing is yummy.

I can tell it’s a qual­ity instru­ment every time I pick it up. It feels solid and sta­ble with­out being heavy. The fin­ish is flaw­less. The tun­ing pegs are nice and tight, but I never have to tune it any­way unless I acci­den­tally knock a peg on something.

Takamine F370SS: fretboard

Rosewood fin­ger­board with a sin­gle marker on the 12th fret designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

I named it Larissa after Doctor Zhivago’s great love, Lara, whose life inter­twines with his at sev­eral points and in many pro­found ways. She was already with some­one else when she met him, as was he, but some­how fate brought them together (and even­tu­ally left them apart).

In the same way, I won­der what this gui­tar has already been through before com­ing into my pos­ses­sion. What mem­o­ries of it’s own does it have? What shows has it gone to? Who has it ser­e­naded? What melodies has it played? It’s in such good con­di­tion that I won­der if the pre­vi­ous owner played it at all.

Takamine F370SS: fret markers

Single dot inlays on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets.

That’s not to say I’ll never need another gui­tar. I had my heart set on one with nylon strings for a more mel­low sound, and being a dread­nought means Larissa is a lit­tle too big for me, both in the way she fits under my arm and in the scale length (mak­ing it a stretch on low strings near the nut). The neck is also 1 5/8 inches, which is a too tight for some clas­si­cal and fla­menco styles, but this will be per­fect for when I’m look­ing for a bright, large sound with lots of projection.

Takamine F370SS: bridge and saddle

A split sad­dle bridge, char­ac­ter­is­tic of some Takamine’s. This is sup­posed to make it eas­ier pro­vide the best into­na­tion to the strings, but the trade-off is that most under-saddle pick-up sys­tems can’t be used cause they tend to be designed for sin­gle saddles.

Takamine F370SS: headstock front

Mother of pearl logo inlay.

Takamine F370SS: headstock back

Gold tuners with pearloid buttons.

Takamine F370SS: model number