Welcome to the first of what will become a semi-regular series of posts on used baritone gems: baritone guitars which, if you stumble across one, are worth adding to your arsenal or, at the very least, represent a good reason to linger in the pawn shop a little longer.
Our first used gem is the Tacoma Thurderhawk acoustic baritone. Continue reading to see our full review including a video, specs, and more.
Tacoma Guitars produced instruments between 1991 and 2008. The company made a name for itself with some norm-defying features such as their offset soundhole, bolt-on necks on acoustics, and offering American-made acoustics at reasonable prices. In my opinion, the Thunderhawk is an example of their finest work.
Tone and Playability
The Thunderhawk is a joy to play. The satin-finished neck is thin and begs to held. The guitar is light and well-balanced. Tonally, the Thunderhawk is bright and lively when compared with most baritones. Individual strings ring clearly with a sound that feels like a mix of handcrafted wind chimes and earthy grit at the same time.
Here is video of the Thunderhawk in action:
In case you are still wondering about the bolt-on neck, here is a pic of the neck joint.
Despite the conspicuous presence of those bolts, the guitar does not suffer from any deficiencies in playability or tone. In fact, it excels.
On a personal note, the Thunderhawk was the first baritone I ever played. I can still remember where I sat in that old mom and pop music shop in my college town. At that time, the used asking price was around $500.
A Sad End to a Promising Baritone Maker
Sadly, Tacoma Guitars closed its production shop shortly after being purchased by Fender. The folks at Fender initially indicated that production would continue at a different location. But, production stopped in 2008. Since then, the price of a used Thunderhawk has climbed dramatically. In 2016, you can expect to pay between $1,100 and $1,600 to bring home one of these USA-made gems.
Here are the specks on the Tacoma Thunderhawk:
Thanks for spending some time with this post. Have you played a Thunderhawk? Please post a comment. Do you resent the folks at Fender for mothballing the Tacoma Guitars factory? Please post a comment. Do you have a used baritone gem that we should feature in a future post? Please post a comment and share this post with others.
We'd love to hear from you.
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