Full disclosure: we didn’t invent the dreadnought guitar shape. It came about in the early 1900s, well before Takamine started making guitars in 1962. This being said, the dreadnought guitar has had a long and storied tradition at Takamine! Some of Takamine’s most iconic artists have graced the stages with a dreadnought, which in itself is an iconic image of an acoustic guitar. When you close your eyes and think of an acoustic guitar, you probably see a dreadnought in your mind’s eye. Takamine has made admired dreadnought guitars for over 55 years.
It was back in 1906 that the name "dreadnought" was first used, but it wasn't on a guitar. Instead, it was a British Royal Navy battleship (the HMS Dreadnought) that was so large and packed with so many big guns that any of its sailors or the people it was designed to protect would have no fear of losing... hence, no dread. You get the idea. It was a good parallel for a large-bodied guitar with so much pure acoustic power that its unamplified volume could compete with strings, horns, drums, and singers.
The Shape and The Sound
Of all the body shapes that Takamine makes, the dreadnought is the second largest (with the jumbo shape being the biggest), and is very similar in size to the NEX shape. However, that similarity ends with the size of the instrument. As body shapes go, the dreadnought has very little in common sound-wise with the jumbo or the NEX, which actually share a similar sonic footprint.
While the NEX and Jumbo are bold, glossy sounding strummers, the dreadnought has a really cool element of percussion that no other guitar shape produces. When you do muted, percussive strumming, the dreadnought adds a unique kick drum-like feel that no other body shape does as well. That's one reason why the dreadnought is so popular for solo performers and singer-songwriters who play live. The dreadnought isn't tied to any specific genre of acoustic guitar playing, and has been a classic shape for folk and bluegrass players as well as country, pop and rock performers. Takamine artists as varied as Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Jon Bon Jovi, John Jorgenson, Steven Wilson, Bob Seger, and many others use Takamine dreadnoughts for their live shows and recordings.
Takamine truly made a name for itself by providing artists with a dreadnought cutaway guitar that plugs in and works great onstage, like the ever-present EF341SC. All of the wonderful Japanese-crafted Takamine dreadnoughts have hand-voiced bracing, with the tops being joined together with protein glues — a very traditional technique that requires great skill and provides exceptional tone. They do this because it makes them satisfied that they are giving you the best dreadnought experience that you can get. Takamine has also been producing “thermal-topped” dreadnoughts like the EF340S TT and the EF360SC TT for a cool, broken-in sound in a new guitar.
We make dreadnoughts with red cedar tops, like the P3DC; premium Sitka spruce, like the P7DC; and even rare Adirondack spruce, like the CP5D-OAD. All of these highly-acclaimed models provide dreadnought goodness with a variety of dynamics.
Go check out some of these fantastic guitars at your local Takamine dealer today!