My guitar collection - Acoustics

 
 

Founded in 1991, Tacoma built stringed instruments for about 17 years of which the last 4 under ownership by the Fender Musical Instruments Company (FMIC). Who ran it summarily into the ground. But before that time they build some very interesting models using imaginative designs, from Parlor to Jumbo, from mandolins to baritone. They also built an Archtop model in 2 versions as shown on p. 3 of the 2001 Catalog. Only for a couple of years though. Unlike any of the other Tacoma models in this collection, the Archtop neither appears in the (downloadable) 2005 catalog nor on the archived March 2005 website. The sunburst AJF28 has a double bound, 3” deep, 16⅞” wide body with a single cutaway (indicated by the ‘C’ in the model designation) on the treble side. Instead of f-holes, the solid carved, X-braced Sitka spruce top has the Wing (paisley) sound hole so typical for a Tacoma. The figure in the solid maple back and sides is not overwhelming, just esthetically pleasing. Although the loose bridge is made of ebony, both the tailpiece and pickguard are made of molded graphite. The ‘E’ means it has the E5 pickup system, consisting of an EMG humbucker specifically voiced for this model. The first EMG pickup ever used an archtop was an active, high-Z EMG-91 with battery powered circuitry. And with ‘EMG-HZ’ on its cover, the pickup on this guitar appears to be such an active pickup. However, the unit is fully passive. Its bar magnet poles intend to provide a balanced and smooth tone. A volume control and tone control are neatly placed underneath the pickguard. The pickup abuts the figured maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and 1¹¹⁄₁₆” wide nut. The position markers are playfully offset towards the bass side. The scale length of the guitar is 25½”. The headstock has an inlaid ivoroid logo and black chrome Gotoh tuning machines.

 

Tacoma AJF28CE Archtop

The story behind this guitar

Year:

Serial number:

Strings:


Using the explanation on the Fender hosted Tacoma support site on how to decode the serial number format, this guitar was the 1st built on the 265th day of 2003, i.e. Monday, September 22. The reason this particular guitar piqued my interest is twofold. First, it differs in a fundamental way from (almost) all other Tacoma instruments in that it has a traditional set-in neck with a full length (external) neck heel; the much more common Tacoma 2-bolt attachment on e.g. my Thunderchief looks quite different where the body transition into the neck. Second, given some pictures provided by Jef Lear, its previous owner, this guitar looked mostly pristine and void of finish problems, frequently seen on a Tacoma, where the top coat tends to delaminate and bubble, allegedly due to variations in humidity. Except for a small blemish on the neck where the binding has been replaced and some finish is missing, it all checked out after arrival and its playability and sound are distinct and unique, certainly now it has the chromes on it. Instead of the Fender Acoustasonic Jr., which might have been the obvious choice, I have been using the second channel on my Phil Jones Bass Suitcase Compact for amplification resulting in a sound which is warm and round confirming the rumor these little PJB amps are great for archtop guitar too. What a beauty she is!

The story behind this guitar

2003

G2655010

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