Larissa — Takamine F370SS

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



  1. WOW. This is a lovely gui­tar. Will check your next post to hear it. Takemines were pretty highly regarded back when I was play­ing, but I don’t know about as late as yours. Probably great!.
    My Martin D18 doesn’t have the sheer scale of this one I think — it’s no won­der it sounds rich.… and the mar­quetry is lovely.

    Way to go, dad!.

  2. Thanks for post­ing that demo of MY GUITAR!

    I love the unique sound of it. Really, in a jam with other gui­tars, the sound if dif­fer­ent enough to add its own unique fla­vor to the jam, but still blend.

    My only gripe about he gui­tar is the nut is very nar­row and it can be a chal­lenge to cleanly form open chords, but other than that it’s a keeper.

    I bought mine when Guitar cen­ter took over a local music shop. They had 5 out on the floor on stands sell­ing for <$325! At that time, GC didn’t carry this model so they just wanted to get rid of them. I couldn’t believe my luck. I sat there for a cou­ple hours and played each one as took the pic of the litter.

    You take the gui­tar out, and I always get com­ments on it’s beauty and the unique­ness of it’s sound. The gui­tar mic’s really well, but I it doesn’t do will with after­mar­ket sound-hole pick­ups. I’m des­tined to mic it I guess :-)

    Thanks again for post­ing that video link.


  3. I also have one of these. I have seen Koa that didn’t appeal to me that much, how­ever I love mine, sim­i­lar to yours except the grain­ing on the back is drop dead gor­geous. Since I ordered
    it thru the mail I was indeed for­tu­nate to get one I like. The price tag on it at that time was $ 1499.00. It had a three inch scratch that is fin­ger­nail deep but sur­pris­ingly depend­ing on how the gui­tar is turned you can’t see it. I paid $ 600 with a decent hard­sheel case. I often get well mean­ing com­ments on how my bridge is ” bro­ken “. I then explain that the fac­tory made it that way.
    Anyway, the tone is sim­ply amaz­ing, its a qual­ity instru­ment and there’s no way I would sell it
    for $ 600 even with the scratch. I wish I could hand it down but none of the grand­kids play any­thing except video games. I really don’t know what to do with it when I’m not here. A plus with this is when I play it at Bluegrass jams and speca­tors com­ment on its sound. And I smile broadly when asked, ” no, its not a Martin “.

  4. I love my f370ss. I won it at an auc­tion in a ben­e­fit for WNCW, our west­ern north car­olina amer­i­cana npr sta­tion (best in the world!!) I also have Martin D-28, HD-28, and D-35. It is hard to tell the dif­fer­ence with Martin strings on all and I have been play­ing for 36 years. I play pretty hard how­ever, and w/o the pick­guard it’s gonna start lookin like willies axe b4 too long!!

  5. So, what strings have you found for the best “bal­anced” sound? The gui­tar is bright and smoothly jazzy by it’s nature, but I some­times find myself wish­ing for the low-E and A strings to have a bit more pres­ence . I think the nat­ural har­mon­ics of the Koa backs and spruce top favors res­o­nance > A.

    My last set are phosphor-bronze coated and wow they really brought out the bass strings.



    • Personally, I found phosphor-bronze coated strings to be much, much too bright for me on this gui­tar. But I gen­er­ally pre­fer a mel­low sound, so that’s prob­a­bly why. I cur­rently have a set of D’addario elec­tric chrome flat­wounds on there, and I find it’s the best bal­ance to my ear.

      • I’ll give them a try. I found that using just “nor­mal” bronze wound strings all I heard there the top 4 strings in the chord.

        I haven’t tried the silk-n-steel strings he’s using in the demo .. they might be fun.


  6. I found one of these gui­tars in a sec­ond hand shop for a lit­tle under $600. I am absolutely in love with it! It is by far my favorite gui­tar I have ever owned. I would never sell it, but I won­der what this gui­tar may be worth. Is this a ques­tion you can help me answer?

  7. Nate,

    Guitars are worth what some­one is will­ing to pay for it (just like a stock). If you found one for $600, and it was being adver­tised so that other poten­tial buy­ers would have found it, then that’s the cur­rent going rate.

    That said, I’ve seen posts of oth­ers sell­ing closer to $1k. Condition also mat­ters tremen­dously as well as the indi­vid­ual per­for­mance of your par­tic­u­lar guitar.

    Though acoustic gui­tars are of the same “model”, the par­tic­u­lars of each indi­vid­ual instru­ment comes into play. Like I men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous post, I had 5 of this model to audi­tion and choose from. 2 really stood out from the rest and then I picked my favorite.

    So, based on your data-point and the oth­ers I’ve seen, the best esti­mate is between $600-$1,000.

  8. I have the same gui­tar as yours; it´s an absolute gem!
    Take care of it and don´t ever sell it!

  9. But I doubt it has only been made in 1999 because I bought mine new in 2006; even if it´s a long way from Japan, there would be 7 years to account for…

  10. It was my under­stand­ing the f-370ss was made for 2 years. I can’t recall the years but believe it to be con­sid­er­ably before 1999, Not that it mat­ters as far as value I for one would be inter­ested in know­ing what the pro­duc­tion years were… :)

  11. Not only were they only build for one year (2 years on the out­side), but they were Tak’s first attempt at a solild-solid gui­tar (along with a cou­ple other mod­els that year).

    I used to have a brochure for the line, but I’ve since lost it.

    Remember, at this point Tak’s were known to be great “stage gui­tars” … prewired stage acoustics with ply parts to help keep the feed­back down.

    Putting a solid-solid gui­tar out .. espe­cially one with just artis­tic inlays and exotic woods (and sound) was a real gam­ble .. and frankly .. they didn’t sell.

    When a local large music store in Rockville, MD got bought by Guitar Center, GC didn’t have the F370ss SKU in their inven­tory .. so they took the 5 they had in stock and stands and on sale as soon as you walked into the door.

    I sat and played each one took the pic of the lit­ter for low $300’s. Unfortunately, my ser­ial num­ber paper tag inside has long since fell out and dis­ap­peared, but I believe it showed a 98 date. They stopped pro­duc­ing them due to lack of sales after the first pro­duc­tion run.


  12. Lucky for me I played one in Allentown, Pa. on sale for $999 with it list­ing at $ 1499.00 but it was out of my price range. But at east I got to hear the sound. I called a music store in North Carolina I believe, actu­ally look­ing for a Sigma Martin DR-41. He didn’t have one but we got to talk­ing and he told me he had this as a demo, some­one put a scratch on it and I could have it with a for $ 600. Six was in my ball­park and we closed the deal. It was around the late 90’s or very ear­lier around Y2K I recall cor­rectly. Never had some­one play it that wasn’t impressed. These are sweet sound­ing very light gui­tars but quite capa­ble of pro­duc­ing impres­sive bass as well. The way I fig­ured I was going to scratch it any­way and get mad at myself so some­one else just saved me the aggra­va­tion. Naturally that’s still the only blem­ish on it.

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