Takamine PTU441-MTB: What is it?
The Takamine PTU441-MTB is a limited run parlour-sized acoustic guitar in an era when small-bodied instruments are all the rage.
Originally issued exclusively for the Japanese market, some of these handsome little acoustics are being released in the UK, and are very much a get-it-while-it’s-hot kind of deal.
It’s hardly a cheap acoustic, but it sees Takamine take due care and attention to the spec. We’ve got solid spruce on top, rosewood on the back and sides. While there are no details as to the provenance of the tonewoods, the UK exclusive Satin Tobacco Sunburst brings out the best in them. This is a stunning little acoustic.
The mahogany neck terminates with a squared-off, slotted headstock that’s fitted with gold three-a-side tuners and white plastic buttons. The New Yorker body shape is certainly a parlour, measuring 355m across the lower bout, 487mm long, but it doesn’t necessarily look it, and that might have something to do with the way the neck joins the body at the 14th fret.
The nut is synthetic and measures 42mm, with the string spacing at the rosewood bridge measuring 54mm. A split-saddle design, the bridge helps ensure the intonation is in good shape, and Takamine’s ever-impressive CT-4BII CoolTube pickup and preamp should make this parlour equally at home on the stage as it is on the couch. Or, indeed, the studio.
That's the thing, we often talk about the parlour acoustics as being instruments of the sofa, sharing space with the TV remote and the spotted begonia, and might be the case with cheap acoustics, which are just great fun to have around and play whenever the mood takes you.
But this is a grown-up, pro-quality parlour, and besides user-friendly dimensions, we’ll be looking for a more subtle, sweeter voice that will record well, adding nuance and detail in those songs that need an alternative to the big-bodied boom.
Takamine PTU441-MTB: Performance and verdict
With a gloss version of the PTU441 having already come and gone in the UK, there’s no question that Takamine is on to something with these immaculately realised riffs on their New Yorker series instruments. This should be in similar demand.
The PTU441 will definitely be a change of pace for those holidaying over from the People’s Republic of Dreadnought; the nut width, for one, might require a little getting used to. At 42mm, we’re talking electric guitar proportions.
But that is always a consideration with shrinking a guitar design down. Those with fingers like Mr Tickle’s arm’s and a primo fingerstyle game might find it a little cramped. Others will find it just cooperative to a fault.
• Lowden WL-25
The WL-25 is a serious tool in a compact form. The understated aesthetic that we are used to seeing from Lowden fits it perfectly.
The neck, however, is a little more substantial, offering plenty of support for the fretting hand. And no one ever complains about a satin finish greasing the wheel while we’re rattling through the chord changes. The PTU441 has that addictive quality that keeps you playing more.
Tone-wise, it’s not going to be pushing much air in the lower frequencies, with the real gold to be had with those upper-mids and treble.
Through an acoustic amplifier, the bass response is more pronounced, and it demonstrates how a good EQ and preamp can make a small-bodied acoustic can punch above its weight. Mounted on the shoulder, the preamp control panel includes an onboard tuner, a 3-band EQ and Volume controls, and houses the battery compartment.
It might not be cheap, but with its flawless build, easy playability, quality electronics and tones, the PTU441 represents decent value. Adding an EQ pedal to your live rig would make it even more practical.
MusicRadar verdict: With its tasteful, classy aesthetic, tidy build and sweet tones, the PTU441 is an exemplary small-bodied acoustic, that’s well worth checking out while it’s available.
Takamine PTU441-MTB: The web says
"We’ve been saying for ages that smaller-bodied guitars are the new dreadnoughts where current trends are concerned. Improvements in PA systems mean that the happy strummer is never more than a simple tweak away from getting a good sound, thanks to strides forward in technology. So this guitar ticks many boxes in terms of portability, build quality and sound performance."
Takamine PTU441-MTB: Hands-on demos
Takamine PTU441-MTB: Specifications
- ORIGIN: Japan
- TYPE: Parlour
- TOP: Spruce
- BACK/SIDES: Rosewood
- MAX RIM DEPTH: 105mm
- MAX BODY WIDTH: 355mm
- NECK: Mahogany
- SCALE LENGTH: 629mm
- TUNERS: 3-a-side open gear
- NUT/WIDTH: Synthetic/42mm
- FINGERBOARD: Rosewood
- FRETS: 21
- BRIDGE/SPACING: Rosewood/54mm
- ELECTRICS: Takamine CT-4BII
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.95/4.29
- LEFTHANDERS: No
- FINISH: Satin Tobacco Sunburst
- CONTACT: Takamine