|Body And Neck:|
When Master Luthier Mass Hirade joined Takamine in 1968, the brand was never the same again, as he quickly stamped his experience and flair on their design and build quality. The high-end Takamine TH5C Hirade concert classic is a nylon-stringed guitar that bears the master’s name and, while it may not be hand-built by Hirade himself, it’s a mouthwatering guitar that’s captured a place on our chart of the best sub-$2,000 acoustics. Worth the cash? Let’s take a closer look!
The TH5C is handcrafted in Takamine’s Pro Series facility in Japan – a location that oozes experience, with more than fifty years of craftsmanship under its belt. And it certainly shows, as the TH5C is flawless in build, finish and overall feel. With a traditional classical body shape and modern single cutaway, this classical guitar features a solid cedar top, matched with a solid rosewood back and sides, all enrobed in a natural gloss finish.
It’s a good-looking guitar – nothing too extroverted, but clean and elegant, with an attractive marquetry rosette. Aside from looking good, it plays very smoothly, with a nice mahogany neck and dark ebony fretboard, and a 2.008” nut width. This is joined at the 12th fret, with 19 in total – all quite accessible thanks to the cutaway.
This modern performer is equipped with quality electronics in the form of Takamine’s exclusive CTP-3 CoolTube Preamp system, which features low-voltage tube tone, with 3-band EQ (low, mid, and high sliders), semi-parametric midrange control, notch control, and an onboard chromatic tuner. This really is a versatile system, and more than worthy of a guitar in this price range.
Elsewhere, the TH5C features open-geared Gotoh gold-plated tuning machines, with white tuning keys. There’s also an ebony bridge, and a hardshell case, which is a solid addition, although one we always expect at this price.
The tone really is lovely and is certainly very warm – as you’d want from an instrument made of cedar and rosewood. Acoustically, the projection is quite strong and clear, although a tad quieter than expected, possibly due to the cutaway and pickup. However, it’s amplified through the preamp where this classical guitar truly shines. The tube pretty much removes any sterile or quacky sounds, while the versatile EQ really allows for ultimate control of your onstage tone.
The TH5C Hirade isn’t a cheap instrument, but it is a very good one. With the quality electronics and good playability, it’s a guitar that’s perfect for the regular classical performer who wants a reliable friend on stage, with a tone that will go a long way to wowing audiences.