Available only through a select range of Takamine dealers, the company’s Collectors’ Series represents a special-edition run of hand-crafted instruments that have been fashioned by a small and select team of skilled luthiers.
We count seven models in the current series, which ranges from the two you see here through to the nylon-string H8SS (£1,549), the dreadnought-sized CP5DCO-AD (£2,199), right up to the most opulent member of the magnificent seven, the abalone-encrusted Gifu-Cho NEX (£2,599). As you can see from the prices shown here, Takamine hasn’t aimed this particular series at hedge fund managers and their like, but is quietly offering up some premium limited-edition models that will appeal to the everyman budget. Good on ’em, we say.
The CP771MC-SB is a cutaway electro-acoustic OM, which leans towards dreadnought dimensions in our book. This instrument is designated as being a cutaway OM, but it still looks more like a borderline dread to us but without that fattish waist. It’s a hefty ol’ thing, too - just about everyone on the team who had occasion to pick it up remarked that it was heavier than it looked. This is almost undoubtedly due to the preamp - the CTP-3 CoolTube system is common to this guitar.
This time, construction is all-mahogany, something that shouts ‘blues machine’ from the start in many circles. Mahogany is a well-established tonewood and is well known for its chewy mids and robust volume, and Takamine refers to the timber here as ‘American Mahogany’, which we assume means that it hails from the tropical Central or South America. In any case, the Shadow Burst finish goes a long way in complementing the chocolate colour of the wood, with some familiar-looking fiery grain showing through.
The mahogany trend continues with the CP771MC-SB’s neck, not chunky, but more C-profiled and eminently palm-friendly. The neck sports an ebony ’board with attractive position markers in all the usual places, the bridge sprouting six string pins in the tried and tested way.
The CP771MC-SB, on the other hand, is more of a belter, but still not quite as sprightly as some OMs that have come our way in the past. The all-mahogany construction lends a bit of beef to the sound, but even drop-tuned, we would expect a little more oomph.
This guitar has Takamine’s CoolTube preamp/pickup system installed and if you haven’t come across these before, they have a valve in them, plus a very comprehensive EQ system that allows the user a real opportunity to sculpt the amplified voice to his or her own taste.
The change from acoustic to electric is not all that dramatic with the CP771MC-SB, but the EQ on the CoolTube preamp is enough to add more zest to the overall sound picture, as well as more of that punch that we found lacking earlier.
The CP771MC-SB, on the other hand, is the slightly less than satisfying all-rounder than the recently-reviewed New Yorker, although here, again, the CoolTube goes a long way to lend a helping hand. For the money Takamine is asking for this instrument, and considering that it forms part of a limited edition - and is handmade - you would be well advised to seek it out and test its prowess for yourself.