Manufactured in very limited numbers capped at only 300 units worldwide — Takamine is pleased to introduce the FT341 black dreadnought. It features a solid spruce top with maple sides and back and is featured in Takamine's exquisite black gloss finish and white binding, with appointments that are much like the iconic EF341SC. For ease of amplification, Takamine's retro-inspired CTF-2N preamp is installed. Nick Jennison reviews.
To my mind, no acoustic guitar manufacturer is more synonymous with live performance than Takamine. Prior to the launch of Takamine's legendary Palathetic pickup in the late 1970s, amplifying acoustic guitars was a chore. Go and watch some footage form Woodstock, for example - there is no shortage of acoustic guitars, and no shortage of howling feedback either. That's if you can actually hearthe guitar at all!
In 2023, we're a bit spoiled on this front - even the most basic of entry level acoustics seems to come with a perfectly serviceable pickup system - but there's still something magical about the OG "Tak" sound. It's evocative of Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and the Eagles: an era when stadium rock dominated the airwaves, and one perfectly encapsulated by the Takamine FT341.
Dressed head to toe in the iconic Takamine gloss black, the FT341 is a large-bodied dreadnought with the classic Tak silhouette of square shoulders, broad waist and expansive lower bout. It's a body style that's synonymous with thunderous lows and massive projection, and while the FT341 is no exception, it marries this explosive power with a clear and cutting high-end presence. This is no doubt due to the unusual combination of a solid spruce top with bright-sounding maple back and sides in place of the usual mahogany or rosewood. It's a fantastic sounding combination with a "produced"-sounding sheen in the highs that sits beautifully in a rock or modern country mix, and sounds clean and articulate when played solo.
It's also one of the most playable Takamine guitars I've laid my hands on, with a very comfortable action right out of the box. As someone who's messed up more than a few saddles trying to get the action right on an acoustic, I'm very grateful. It also speaks to Takamine's confidence in their craftsmanship, since higher actions tend to "travel better".
Plugged in tones come from the "retro-inspired" CTF-2N preamp. It's a FET preamp that's evocative of the classic "Brownie" preamp favoured by Ry Cooder, James Taylor, Glen Frey and so many others. It's not exactly a "natural" sound in comparison to more modern designs, but it has a classic voice that's totally unmistakable. The CTF-2N retains the character of the originals, but adds a few important modern features like a chromatic tuner, a notch filter with -6bd and -12db settings for defeating feedback and a more easily accessible battery compartment (although this was pretty stiff to get open for the first time!).
Strictly limited to 300 units worldwide, the Takamine FT341 is not only a fantastic-looking and sounding guitar, but it's also an instrument that evokes one of the most beloved eras in guitar music. It has the look - and the sound - of so many of those legendary performances we grew up watching. If that's something that excites you as much as it excites me, you need to check one of these guitars out. You'll need to move fast, though, because when they're gone, they're gone!
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