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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Martin/Takamine Chinese fake

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Steve Dallman
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 11th, 2015 10:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A player in town brought me his "new" guitar to set up. The headstock says "Takamine" in Martin script and appearance. It's a Chinese counterfeit. Good opportunity for me to inspect one of these.

The sound is pretty good, but action is high. It needs a truss rod tightening and saddle lowering. Nut is actually cut well.

Ooops...this rod is absolutely frozen. I suspect they got glue on the threads and even on the outside of the rod nut, which is inside the body. I've worked on guitars since the late 60's and as an authorized repair tech since 1980. This is the first time I had a truss rod I could do NOTHING with. I went with lighter strings which helped a little.

I lowered the very poorly shaped saddle. It is almost flush with the top of the bridge, so that's as far as I can go, with out thinning the bridge.

The tuners look at first glance like Grovers. But they are cheap, non-adjustable tuners with stamped backs that look like good Grovers. They do work alright.

I got it playing better, but not how I'd like it, due to the frozen truss rod. It sounds OK...better than the average $69 acoustic guitar. It is pretty. They used no grain filler so the grain shows through the apparently thin finish. I'm sure a couple layers of whatever they used, a buffing and out it went.

It would make a better prop or decoration than a player, but it is serviceable. The action is a little stiff for a beginner, but not too bad. I've played real D-28's and D-35's with stiffer action.

But it does look nice. Isn't that what's important these days??

Fake headstock

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 11th, 2015 10:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Tuners

Fake tuners

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 11th, 2015 10:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Body

Body shot

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Nov 11th, 2015 11:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It really is a nice looking guitar with nothing from a distance that would tell you it is not a mid '70s through early 80's Takamine lawsuit copy of a Martin.

I had one, a D35 copy that I traded to a forum member. That Takamine was one of the best acoustics I have ever played much less owned.

Too bad the truss rod is hosed and they got the neck angle wrong.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 11th, 2015 11:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The owner thought it was one of the lawsuit Takamines, but I still have doubts, and think it's a new counterfeit. The plastics are too new. It is possible that this was a really low end lawsuit guitar, but not only is this thing completely clean, inside and out (no dust, dirt) the owner never had a case for it.

BUT, I have seen pics of lawsuit Taks that appear from the front to have the same tuners...at least the shafts look the same, not like Grovers. The work on the guitar is really poor, especially the saddle, which was thinned at each end...the treble width nearly paper thin.

The thin finish with the grain showing doesn't look like any Tak I've ever seen and I worked for a dealer in the 80's

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 11th, 2015 11:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Seeing that this MIGHT be an actual Takamine, I believe I'll give one more attempt with the truss rod. I'll use a soldering iron to heat the nut and see if I can break it free.

IF this is an actual Tak, low end as it might be, it deserves a little more attention.

BbendFender
Contributing Member
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American Patriot

Not so famous dude.
Nov 11th, 2015 12:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Keep us posted. I still have 3 lawsuit Takamines and they are great acoustics. Mine are from 1973-78.

Peegoo
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Chain Smokin'

Gas Station Attendant
Nov 11th, 2015 02:22 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

GREAT review. Thanks Steve.

I don't think it's a lawsuit Tak because of the cheapo tuners.

The lawsuit Taks had better tuners--and nobody in their right mind would swap those out for the crappy stamped tuners on the guitar you have in the pictures.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*********

So. Cal. USA

Nov 11th, 2015 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The finish on my Tak was not thin in the least. I'd have to see what is stamped in the sound hole to tell you what this is if have any doubts.

The tuners do not look correct nor does the nut for this model which should be an F340, F360 or similar. The model, serial and Takamine logo should be stamped in the sound hole. The model #s were stamped on the center strip back brace and the serial numbers were on the neck block on original examples.

My vote for the moment is counterfeit but I've wrong before.

Coral Head

Sunshine State

Groupies needed
Nov 12th, 2015 04:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I sold a lawsuit Tak 12 string a few weeks ago. I will look for the photos and compare. I wonder why someone would fake a guitar that only sells for $200? Wouldn't you rather fake a guitar worth thousands?

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 12th, 2015 04:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 1979 Takamine F-349 that my wife (then girlfriend) bought my mom new for Christmas 1979.After she passed away in 2005 my dad gave it to me. It is all mahogany D-15 style (the one you are working on has a larger and different shaped body. I have looked it over and compared to your photos. Here is what I find:
a. The shape of the headstock and Takamine Script are identical, however the headstock is darker on the front almost to the point you can't see the grain.

b. The tuners are identical front and back
c. The pickguard is identical
d. The bridge is identical with the exception my saddle is thicker and same thickness from one end to the other.
e. The fretboard markers are identical pattern with exception mine does not have the last dot on the 17th fret
d. The finish on the body is not thin nor is the back of the neck but the front of the headstock doesn't look as thick as the body does.
e. mine has a "MADE IN JAPAN" sticker on the back of the headstock at the top and Takamine F-349 is stamped into the inside of the back right where the sound hole is and serial number sticker is on block under the truss adjustment on the inside.
f. my nut has yellowed with age as has the saddle.
g. mine did not come with a case so we had to buy one back then.
If the one you have possession of is a fake they went to alot of trouble and they very well could have but I have to ask why? so they can get a couple hundred dollars for it?


Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 12th, 2015 09:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I humbly apologize for any misinformation but I was thrown by this one. I worked at a Takamine dealer from 1980 through 83 but admittedly, my memories from that far back are spotty.

On that note, suspecting the truss rod nut had glue holding it, I made a heating tip for a soldering gun that would fit in the allen socket hole and heated the nut up. No good, so I heated it again, then used a hypodermic to apply some alcohol between the nut and body.

Eureka, it came free. I removed it, and you could see and feel where the glue had been holding the nut. I cleaned the outside of the nut, waxed the threads and the end, and put it back in.

The rod adjusted normally now, and I it right where I wanted it. The saddle is still very, very slightly high, but I'm out of room, short of sanding down the top of the bridge, deepening the slot, and refinishing the bridge...or a neck reset. I'll leave it as is, which is really good.

Action is very good, typical of most well set up acoustics. Tone is very good. My acoustic, which is a "Primera" Japanese acoustic from the 70's likely made where Martin Sigmas were made, still sounds richer and a little louder, but it good none the less.

This guitar does match your description Bubbalou, except this is a different model and the MIJ sticker is gone. I've since seen pics with the same stamped Grover-looking cheap tuners. As cheap as they are they work fine.

So, the owner likely has a real lawsuit Takamine, and it's in great shape and plays well.

The thin finish shows the grain on the body but the neck and headstock are smooth. I even suppose the grain didn't show when it was made, but decades of gassing off and shrinkage made the grain pop.

Thanks for all the input. This ended up a happy story.

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 12th, 2015 02:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

These were middle of the road lower cost guitars that were ok for the price. I thankyou for the way you posted it as it made me pull it off the wall, clean the dust off the tops of it, closely inspect it and realize it was time for some TLC. Then I tuned and played it and it has blossomed sinc e last played I put EXP .11 coated phospher bronze strings in it in 2005 and they still sound good. Steve you just stated what you felt. It does sound like it needs some TLC. We could only afford a cheap thin walled case at the time and I want to get a better one at some point. How is the intonation?

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 05:00 PM, Nov 12th, 2015)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 13th, 2015 02:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I did not check the intonation, but will if the owner brings it back for a new saddle. I will do as much as I can with a new saddle.

I have a "jumbo" cheap Estaben acoustic I bought for next to nothing. I set it up and love the way it feels and looks. Acoustically, it sounds similar to the Takamine, although the strings may have something to do with that. I have Elixers (light) on mine and put light gauge GFS phosphor bronze on the Tak. But volume, and brightness are similar. My 70's Primera, with D'Addario flat tops (ground wounds) is far fuller and richer than both. I use my acoustics for live single work and don't really care how they sound acoustically, just plugged in.

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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***

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 13th, 2015 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a Mitchell (guitar center house brand) that my wife bought me for my birthday in 2011. It is an acoustic electric that I put John Pearce phosphor bronze strings on. I know people will crow about this one but I enjoy it more than the Martin DC16 Aura GT I once had. Partially because the Martin's tone would change with barometric pressure and sound flat at times and partially because this is only $199 on sale and I don't worry about it like I did the Martin but it does have good tone, feel and playability. May be because I am way past needing new strings and the intonation seems a little off on the B. I will put new strings on it and adjust the saddle if needed at that time.

I am glad you posted the photos of that Tak because I had forgotten what the string pins looked like. It has black Tusq pins in it now. The originals (white with black dot) had gotten brittle and broke pulling them out when I got the guitar because Mom wasn't able to play it in her last years and it sat in a case in a a room that wasn't kept at a constant temp. I am torn between getting pins that are similar to the originals but those were plastic and these are a little better in the tonal area. I love her guitar but the Mitchell has always played a little easier due to the neck and until the other night when I took it down, polished it etc it had not sounded as loud or rich as compared to the Martin or Mitchell but now she sounds nice. I guess a few years of hanging on the wall was good for it.

I think I have the pin problem solved ;)

Steve, what are the 1st 4 digits of the serial number. Mine says 7907 (July 1979)also, I have noticed some grain starting to "pop" or show near the neck on the top too.

Bone end pin with ebony dot

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 07:05 PM, Nov 13th, 2015)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 14th, 2015 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sorry, The owner picked up the guitar. One reason this guitar sounded not so rich, may be because it's been in storage and never played. We'll see if it loosens up with use. I don't have the serial number.

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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***

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 15th, 2015 02:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No worries Steve. I agree with the fact the guitar did not sound as rich due to not being played as this appears to be the same with the one I have.

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 15th, 2015 10:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Photo of the body of my 1979 Takamine F-349

Body

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 15th, 2015 10:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Photo of the Front of the Headstock.

Note that the nut is yellowed somewhat but looks white here in the photo.
The saddle in the next photo shows it has yellowed some over the years.

Front of Headstock

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 12:59 AM, Nov 16th, 2015)

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Nov 15th, 2015 10:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Photo of the Back of the Headstock

Back of the Headstock

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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Martin/Takamine Chinese fake




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