- 1 History
- 2 Design features
- 3 Models
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Tacoma Guitars began as a division of Young Chang America, which had been processing Northwest hardwood for export in Tacoma for piano soundboards since 1991. Mill general manager J.C. Kim persuaded Young Chan to build a guitar manufacturing plant nearby. For the first few years, the plant produced about 100 guitars a month, for another guitar brand. In 1997, the Papoose and Chief models debuted at the 1997 winter Convention of the National Association of Musical Manufacturers. That year, mass production of the unconventional Papoose model, the first sold under the Tacoma brand, also began. Since then, Tacoma has developed ranges of guitars—some with conventional round sound holes, others with the paisley sound hole introduced on the Papoose (as the Wing Series).
A recession in the Asian economy caused by the Avian Flu epidemic prompted Young Chang to sell the division to Kim in 1999.
The company was purchased by Fender in October 2004 and is now a division of Fender.
Fender has shut down manufacturing of Tacoma products, and new stock is unavailable to dealers.
Tacoma has incorporated unusual features in many of its guitars, notably its paisley soundholes and bolt-on necks.
Several of Tacoma's models feature an unusually shaped soundhole, called a paisley soundhole, on the left side of the upper bout. The purpose of this was to move the soundhole to a relatively low-stress part of the top, thereby increasing the strength of the top, reducing the amount of bracing needed, thereby making the top more resonant.
The group of Tacoma guitars that currently use the paisley soundhole are referred to as the Wing Series.
Voiced Bracing Support
Tacoma guitars utilize their Voiced Bracing Support system to various extents. The theory behind the system is to minimize bracing to what it needs to remain stable, such that the tone of the guitar is sacrificed as little as possible.
The full extent of this philosophy is applied to the Wing Series guitars, which use A-frame bracing instead of the more traditional X-frame bracing of conventional acoustics. Tacoma uses a modification of the traditional X-frame bracing on their models with conventional sound holes. They place two cross-braces on the outside of the X, which they say improves sound hole stability and rigidity, while leaving the edges more flexible and resonant.
The braces are contoured so they are thinner but wider near the edges of the top, and thicker but narrower near the centre of the top. 
Bridges on Tacoma acoustic guitars are asymmetrically shaped, which Tacoma says improves the response of each string. The bridge is curved, rather than flat, and has no sharp edges. Tacoma says this improves transmission of vibrations from the bridge to the top.
Most Tacoma guitars have bolt-on necks, without visible screw plates.
The P1 Papoose—designed by Terry Atkins and George Gruhn—was Tacoma's first guitar model. It has a relatively short 19.1" scale and is tuned to the same intervals as standard guitar tuning, but a fourth higher, to A rather than the conventional E, making it equivalent to a conventional guitar with a capo on the fifth fret. It introduced the paisley sound hole and the Voiced Bracing Support system. It is available in a 6 string or 12 string (P112) model.
Tacoma had offered solid electric guitars based on the Papoose's proportions. This model, desgnated the SP1 featured a solid mahogany body, a bridge-mounted Duncan Designed humbucker, and an onboard headphone amplifier. The Papoose electric was discontinued by the end of 2006.
The C1C Chief has normal tuning and a scale length of 25.5". It was Tacoma's first full-sized Wing Series guitar. It has a rounded body similar in style to a "jumbo" guitar.
Tacoma offered two archtop models based on the pattern of the Chief. The AJF22CE5 with its natural wood color and satin finish as well as the AJF28CE5 with high gloss finish. The AJF28 was offered in natural and tobacco sunburst as "standard" colors, but could be special ordered in many other colors schemes - both solid colors, and various colored sunbursts. All AJF's featured tops that were carved (as opposed to steam bent) from solid Sitka spruce by modern CNC milling machines. Backs were CNC carved from solid (versus laminated) maple with side panels also of solid maple. Originally, the AJF series (aka: "Jazz King") utilized the "Chief-style" bolt-on neck construction, but were changed to the more traditional method of a mortise and tenon (glued) neck to body joint. The AJF's had a conventional ebony bridge with a composite tailpiece and pickguard/finger rest. A passive humbucking pickup was specially designed by EMG for the AJF's, and with volume and tone control wheels cleverly hidden on the lower edge of the pickguard/finger rest. These high quality American made guitars are not currently being offered by Tacoma/Fender.
The RM6C Roadking is a Dreadnought-style Wing Series guitar with a 25.5" scale length.
The BM6C Thunderhawk and BF28C Thunderhawk are acoustic baritone guitars tuned to "B". They have a 29" scale length.
The CB10C Thunderchief and CB28C Thunderchief are acoustic bass guitars with rosewood and ebony fretboards respectively. They have 34" scale lengths. They are available in 5-string versions as the CB105C and the CB285C respectively. Tacoma CB285C 5 String Jumbo Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar
Description: Tacoma CB285C 5 String Acoustic Bass Made in Tacoma Washington USA 5 String Acoustic Bass Wing Series Wing Series Model # 389-3190-021 Jumbo Single Cutaway Body Style Gloss Finish Solid Spruce Top Solid Figured Maple Back and Sides Bolt-On One-Piece Mahogany Neck Fingerboard: Ebony Fretboard No. of Frets = 20 Ebony Bridge Black Tuning Machines Scale Length 34" Body Depth 4.875" Width at Nut 1.687" Inlaid Pearl Logo Offset Paisley Soundhole Tortoise Shell Binding Pearl Dot Position Inlay Graphtech TUSQ Nut Compensated Saddle "Tone Shaped" bridge Voiced Support Bracing System Includes Deluxe Hardshell Case, P/N 3996260406 String Gauges .045, .065, .080, .100, .130
In addition to their paisley-holed Wing Series, Tacoma also makes conventional guitars in different series. The series differ in features, woods, and decorations used.
55 Series instruments feature maple bindings, rosewood backs and sides, abalone floral inlays, and hand-rubbed UV gloss finishes. They include a Dreadnought model and a Jumbo model.
28 Series instruments feature gold tuners, abalone trim, and hand-rubbed UV gloss finish. They include Dreadnought models in regular style (DM28), with cutaway (DM28C), as 12-string guitars (DM2812), and with rosewood back and sides (DR28), Jumbo models with cutaway (JK28C) and as 12-string gutitars (JF2812), a Little Jumbo cutaway (ER28C) and a parlor model (PM28)
14 Series instruments feature ebony fingerboards and bridges and hand-rubbed UV gloss top finishes. They include Dreadnought models and a Little Jumbo cutaway model.
9 Series instruments feature all-solid construction, mahogany back and sides and satin finish. They include Dreadnought models, a Jumbo model and a Little Jumbo cutaway model.
Tacoma makes Wing Series mandolins with spruce tops and mahogany or maple backs and sides.
- Galvin, Kevin (November 24, 2012). "GOOD VIBRATIONS: Tacoma guitars is giving new voice to America's authentic music". Northwest magazine. The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- Tacoma Guitars - official website