1997 Tacoma Chief Mini-Jumbo Guitar

This is a customer's guitar that was just in for some crack repair and a setup. The funny thing about  US-made Tacomas, though, is that they're designed similar to the way I might build a modern guitar myself -- bolt-on neck, simplified styling, asymmetric bridge with cuts instead of pins, minimalist bracing, light in weight, and with the soundhole moved so the soundboard is no longer compromised by having a giant chunk taken out of it. These guitars are designed for playing and reliability.

This particular guitar was played hard and long (which contributed to the cracks needing fixing) since it was purchased new by the same owner and I think it sounds excellent because of that. My only gripes are minor -- I'm not a fan of cutaways on an acoustic, I don't like clear pickguards, I detest side-mounted preamps, and I'd prefer a steeper radius to the board -- but those are all concessions to the modern market, so I get it.

The top is solid cedar with only two braces -- long tonebars that extend from the lower bout to the neckblock. The big crack on the top runs down the side of the bass tonebar. What's intriguing about this design is how much it sounds and responds like an x-braced guitar -- with the added bonus of a really good bass presence despite the thin body depth.

The two-bolt neck-mount seems to hold just fine but the doubter in me wants to see a third.