My guitar and bass collection

 

Tacoma

A short-lived adventure building (mainly) acoustic instruments in the Pacific Northwest

You cannot do without a couple of specialty instrument. So the collection includes the requisite acoustic bass, archtop, mandolin, and (acoustic and electric) soprano guitar. They are all built by the now defunct Tacoma Guitars, a great little manufacturer here in Washington state. It all started with a sawmill near Tacoma, WA. Being in the Pacific Northwest, the mill saw a lot of high quality hardwood lumber pass through the yard. In 1991, its owner at the time, South Korean piano manufacturer Young Chang, started an acoustic instruments factory near the mill and Tacoma (Guitars) was born. A mere 4 years after they started out, they built several more traditional acoustic guitar models, about 200 in all, for no other than G&L, including this Dreadnought (“DF” prototype. Many of these designs were available in the 9 Series, 14 Series, 28 Series, and 55 Series guitars. But Tacoma came really into its own by creating an unmistakable style with some very innovative designs, from Parlor to Jumbo, from mandolins to baritone, with proprietary bracing patterns, a 2-bolt neck attachment, and their Wing-series. The latter name is based on the “paisley” shaped Wing sound hole placed in the upper bass bout. And as can be seen, all acoustic Tacoma instruments here have such a sound hole: the AJF28CE Archtop, the M3E Mandolin, the P1 Papoose, and the CB10CE Thunderchief Bass. The Papoose also has a solid body version in the SP1 Papoose electric. Relevant pages from 2005 Catalog are included below whereas material from earlier years is included separately with each instrument. Some of them suffer in varying degrees from a common problem with Tacoma instruments where the top coat of the finish delaminates from the body leading to blisters. It is unknown whether a lack of knowledge was at fault or the particular pattern in the Pacific NW weather. Fact is they never really got it right. Tacoma was absorbed into Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) in October 2004 before it regretfully disappeared entirely in 2008. Did Fender run it intentionally into the ground, just like they with Hamer and Ovation? There are some suspicions but there might be a solid business reason behind it all given the 2008 economic collapse as well as the somewhat bloated state of FMIC then. However, all five Tacoma instruments on this site predate the Fender takeover, as does the aforementioned G&L acoustic prototype.