Pros: A quality guitar with good sound and playability
Cons: Only subjective ones
I'm very new to the world of Tacoma guitars, but from my limited experience, I've formed the opinion that the company believes in producing a quality guitar that offers good sound and playability. The guitar that I've selected to review today is the Tacoma DM28--I spent an hour or so with this instrument last evening and I came away with some very favorable impressions of this guitar. I have some nice things to say about it, so here goes.
The Tacoma DM28 is a dreadnought style guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. The neck is also made of mahogany, and the fretboard is ebony, with abalone ginko leaf inlays. The top and back are bound with attractive tortoise shell binding, and the tuners adorning the headstock are gold-plated. The guitar is available in three gloss finishes--cherryburst, sunburst and natural. The model that I played had a natural finish, which I consider to be more attractive and less loud than the cherryburst or sunburst finishes. The neck had a satin finish that gave it sort of a matte look.
The Tacoma DM28 is really an elegant looking guitar--the dreadnought body style is an old standard, and none of the appointments on the guitar appear to be overdone. The tortoise shell binding on the top and back is a nice variation on the standard white or creme binding used in most guitars, and the gold tuners provide a nice touch without the appearance of excess. The overall look of the Tacoma DM28 is very pleasing and is done just right, at least to my somewhat conservative eye.
A close inspection of the Tacoma DM28 revealed that it was constructed with great care and much attention to detail. The binding and inlay work was tight and smooth, and I detected nothing indicating the least bit of sloppy workmanship. Another thing that tipped me off was that the guitar was almost perfectly balanced and had a nice feeling of presence and heft. It felt comfortable in my lap, being neither too light nor too heavy, a testament to the quality of materials used in its construction.
I really liked the way that the Tacoma DM28 played--even though ebony is not my choice of fingerboard woods (I much prefer the "softer" feel of rosewood), my runs were executed almost effortlessly. Fingerpicking was a little tricky for me because ebony is a slick, hard wood and the strings tended to "squirm" just a little bit during my fumbling attempts. An accomplished fingerpicker might not notice or be affected by the ebony-rosewood dichotomy, but my challenged fingerstyle attempts were a little bit more difficult because of the ebony fretboard. I won't deduct points for this because it wasn't the guitar's fault, just the fingerpicker's lack of style.
Another subjective thing I noticed was that the neck seemed a little wide--my hands are small, so I generally prefer a slim profile neck. It seems that the wide neck problem is something that's been cropping up lately in most of the new guitars I've played. Could it be that my hands are shrinking as I age, or are guitar manufacturers making the necks on their guitars a little wider? Either way, this impression doesn't affect my assessment of the playability of the Tacoma DM28--it's a fine playing guitar that would suit almost any application.
I was really impressed by the sound of the Tacoma DM28--the brilliant, active tones produced by the spruce top were perfectly balanced and offset by the dark warmth of the mahogany back and side. The result was a rich, almost jumbo sound that was a little surprising coming from the dreadnought style body. The Tacoma DM28 would really project when I jumped on it when executing runs, but when it was caressed in the fingerpicking or flatpicking mode the sound was mellow, balanced and full. Does it sound as good as a high end Martin or Taylor?--not quite, but it's not a $3,000-$4,000 guitar either. For the money (I think it can be bought for around $1,400), the sound is excellent.
The Tacoma DM28 is a good, solid guitar. The combination of looks, construction, playability and sound make it a guitar worth looking at it if you're in the market for a nice dreadnought style guitar that has a lot to offer.
Thanks for reading.