Sometimes you come upon a piece of guitar music that you just have to share. Such is the case with this clip of French guitarist Franck Philippo performing Jason Vieaux's arrangement of the Duke Ellington classic "In a Sentimental Mood". When trying to describe Philippo’s touch and feel, the word "exquisite" comes to mind... a marriage of artist and instrument that would make any guitar artisan proud to have been involved. That's why we're making certain that our family of Takamine craftsmen in Sakashita, Japan experience this gorgeous performance as well.
The guitar Franck is playing is the Hirade TH90 from Takamine’s Classical and Hirade Series. The solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides provide a brilliant, rich classical tone, and the solid ebony fingerboard acts as a runway for fingers to fly (or at least Franck’s do). The oval sound hole delivers a tighter, more focused projection, along with a vintage look and feel that harkens back to the Parisian club days. Rounding it all out are Takamine’s world-renowned electronics, capable of dialing in the finer points of true acoustic tone, both traditional and contemporary. The Hirade TH90 concert classic represents Takamine high-performance guitars at their handcrafted best.
The guitar’s namesake, Master Luthier Mass Hirade, arrived at Takamine in 1968, and introduced many design and manufacturing improvements. At the time, Takamine was primarily the builder of classical guitars, a pedigree clearly evident in the world-class quality of their current classical guitar lineup that includes the Hirade Series. Hirade became the president of Takamine in 1975, launching efforts to bring the small factory’s offerings to a much wider audience by designing a wide array of steel-string models, and developing the game-changing Palathetic pickup that would attract many of the 5-star artists who helped launch the brand to worldwide prominence.
We could go on and on trying explain how a centuries-old Japanese culture of wood craftsmanship inspires what the dedicated artisans at Takamine Guitars do, and how they do it… or we could just let a gifted guitarist like Franck Philippo demonstrate exactly why. Thanks to Derek Johnson of Sona Jobarteh's band for sharing.