NAMM 2023: Of all the top-tier acoustic guitar brands in the world, Takamine are the undisputed specialist of the limited edition model, and this year the Japanese brand has reached back into the archive for a special acoustic electric guitar that celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Santa Fe model.
Like the Santa Fe, the LTD2023 is a cutaway acoustic, its NEX body shape is a Takamine original, and measures up as a scaled down jumbo.
Where some of the other Sante Fe models we have seen have typically used spruce for the top, solid rosewood on the back and sides, the LTD2023 prefers solid cedar on top, with a back and sides of oak. Tone-wise, Takamine tells us to expect the LTD2023 to be warm and balanced.
The ace in the hole, however, might just be the pickup and preamp system. Takamine has equipped the LTD2023 with a CTF-2N FET preamp based on the classic FET-driven “Brownie” preamps of the early ‘80s, which players such as Ry Cooder, James Taylor and Jackson Browne have all favoured at one point or another for its “warm and natural saturation”.
Like the Brownie, the CTF-2N FET preamp is a three-slider design, but it’s also expanded upon. Mounted on the shoulder, it has sliders for Low, High, and Volume, a battery compartment, a simple push-button guitar tuner with LED screen, and a notch filter dial (0-5k) with a -6dB/-12dB push button.
The neck is mahogany. The fingerboard – which looks like ebony though Takamine is yet to confirm this – has decorative inlays that are in keeping with the pattern around the rosette. This, as with previous Sante Fe designs, looks inspired by Native American art. The bridge looks to be ebony, too. Other spec details are yet to be revealed.
The Santa Fe is an an important model in the Takamine catalogue, but so too in luthiery. Takamine was an early adopter of CNC routers and laser-cutting machines in their production, and the first Santa Fe, the ESF93, was the product of this tech-driven approach to guitar making.
The LTD2023 has a Natural Gloss finish, with gold hardware and amber pearl key tuner buttons. There are no prices available just yet, but given that last year’s 60th Anniversary model, the LTD2022, was priced at $2,999, we might expect something north of this.