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Unread 03-10-2003, 08:45 AM   #1
The Chameleon
 
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The Tacoma RM6 or RM6C??

I went shopping the other day, and I found a Tacoma that I really liked. After playing some 700 dollar Normans that didn't impress me at all, I played the 620 dollar Tacoma RM6 and the RM6C (700 for this cutaway model). I loved that Tacoma. No electronics; it sounded a good bit better than those Normans, and was made entirely in the USA, had a MUCH better construction and craftmanship, and the action and playability were MUCH better. That was probably my biggest winner, there, the action. Plus, there are some features that just blow away the Normans. All solid wood construction is just one of them. I feel like it's a steal of a deal for 700 (cutaway), or 620 for the non-cutaway.

SO I'm wondering if anyone has any woes or horror stories about this guitar. So far, however, I've only heard people on GCR praising Tacomas. I may go read some of the harmony-central reviews in a minute. What do you think?

The biggest decision for me to make right now is cutaway vs. non cutaway. I can tell the non-cutaway has a bit better tone, just a nuance that adds to the sound, and it's 80 bucks cheaper, but.. I can't decide how much I will want the cutaway. I use the upper frets quite often on my electric, but I don't know... hmm.

Oh, and if anyone has any reccomendations as to what kind of electronics system I should put in her (if I get her). I'd like a REALLY nice electronics system built-in (maybe a ribbon transducter system [$225]), or otherwise stick with an external preamp. What are the pros/cons of these two methods?

Thanks a bunch guys.

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Unread 03-10-2003, 11:15 AM   #2
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Pick a guitar for tone first, action second. Remember that the action can be changed, but you can't change the wood in very many ways that are good :kwink:

I don't think they sell Norman guitars very much here in the US, but Tacoma is a very well-recognized and respected manufacturer.

Cutaway vs. non-cutaway is a totally personal decision based on your ear for tone and your love of playing the really really high stuff. My first guitar (an Alvarez) was a cutaway. I bought it because it had great tone and it looked cool. It's intonation was such that even though there was a cutaway, I couldn't stand to use the upper registers after a time... My second and current guitar and likely guitar-for-life candidate (a Taylor) is not a simple dreadnought, non-cutaway.

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Unread 03-10-2003, 11:32 AM   #3
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Well, the action was very electric-guitar like, and I was just comparing that to the equally priced Normans I played. The Tacoma sounds better, as well. It's a great guitar.. now I just need the other 300 dollars for it. Of course, I may find it for less somewhere else.

It was intonated pretty well, but WAYY up near the highest frets it was a little unbearably sharp. That's ok, you will never have PERFECT intonation, but the closer the better. I'm really considering saving 80 bucks and leaving off the cutaway. I'm still going to put electronics in whatever I get down the road..

what kind of electronics are in your Taylor, nate? I remember that you had a very nice set of electronics, and I'm looking for a really nice and high-end set as well. I'd probably regret having mediocre electronics installed later along.
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Unread 03-10-2003, 09:23 PM   #4
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You can have almost perfect if not perfect intonation if you get the Buzz Feitin done to the guitar...but that costs around $200.

For electronics, I recommend putting down the extra money and getting a nice one already built into the guitar. They do have some nice ones (Fishman Prefix Plus)

And as I have already told you, I like the Chief much more, but it costs $100 or so more too...
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Unread 03-10-2003, 10:39 PM   #5
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Hmm.. I will have to play the cheif.

Actually, I've gotten into the mathematics of it, and it turns out that a chromatic instrument can be intonated perfectly for one key, but other keys sound terrible. For a guitar's notes to each be perfectly intonated with each other chromatically is impossible, due to the way the math adds up.. it's a very complicated discussion, but it's impossible. Quite mysterious things, the physics of music are.

I will try to play a Cheif sometime soon.. I saw Ed Roman selling it for 700 bucks, so like you suggested, I may use him as leverage against another shop to sell me one for 700 or a bit lower. Do I get a free case? Why else do you like the Cheif besides it's look and mahogany sides? Is it really a higher end series?
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Unread 03-11-2003, 09:44 AM   #6
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My electronics are very nice, but not very elaborate or anything like that. In my Taylor 410, I had an LR Baggs Ribbon transducer installed (not the "Duo" mic + transducer, which is nicer and probably more popular), which incorporates its own preamp, but has no EQ or level control onboard. As such, I run through a SansAmp Acoustic DI, which gives me control over level, EQ, and tube emulation "blend," which is actually a very nice effect and makes the guitar sound a lot like it has a much higher-end pickup in it.

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Unread 03-11-2003, 11:02 AM   #7
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Ah. Ok. Just wondering, do you find it a hassle to carry around an external pre-amp? Because I'm really not sure whether I want to cut a huge hole in the side of my guitar, but I don't know how much better an external pre would be. Maybe if I found one small enough to fit in a case..
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Unread 03-11-2003, 02:31 PM   #8
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First off, in deciding whether or not you want a cutaway:

Realize that you'd be paying extra for less guitar. Cutaways do have a thinner sound than the same model without it. Some players might like this, I find it slightly annoying. I do however play a lot of higher pitched stuff, so i ended up deciding the extended playability was better than the loss of tone when i bought my acoustic. I have an olympia (which a cheaper guitar made by tacoma).

Also keep in mind that experienced players can access higher frets without a cutaway (think of what it looks like when someone plays an orchestral bass or cello).

The external preamp thing shouldn't be anymore of a hassle than stompboxes are for an electric guitarist, and the sound benifits if you're dealing with medium to high quality guitars, will probably make it worthwhile.

I've also heard a little bit about how you can't have perfect innotation for every key on the same instrument.

Most polytonal instruments are set up to where the innotation error you're talking about is as minimal as possible for as many keys as possible rather than perfect innotation for some keys and terrible for others.

Most monotonal instruments (specifically woodwinds) are set up to where the innotation is near perfect for the key of the instrument. Ex. a flute is in C, so while playing in C, innotation is perfect, but while playing in lets say E, the innotation is off a bit. Alto saxophone is in Eb. I can't remember for clarinet. With a duet, the instruments might seem slightly out of tune, but with a whole orchestra, the sound is fuller because of the slight picth differences.
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Unread 03-11-2003, 02:43 PM   #9
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Good points, JBM, thanks a lot. I think I can learn to play around the bout. I think saving tone and 80 bucks is more important to me than a cutaway.

About the preamps.. are internal pre's notorious for having inferior quality to externals? How much would a GREAT sounding external pre cost compared to an equal sounding internal, if you get my drift? I may want to save 80 bucks and save it for a nicer internal preamp over a just as nice external one that may be cheaper due to less size restrictions (because it's external). That is, if that's the case.. external=cheaper than internal for the same tone.
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Unread 03-11-2003, 03:39 PM   #10
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For me, carrying around an external preamp is no big deal. It's a very small unit, and I carry it in a small bag with my cables, strings, tools, batteries, and (for me) other miscellaneous stuff (tubes, fuses, etc.) associated with my electric guitar's amplifier.

The thing I don't like about internal preamps is basically the hole in the guitar's side. If I decided tomorrow that I wanted a different preamp for my guitar, I could go out and get one without altering my guitar one iota from where it stands today (which, granted, is slightly altered from original condition by the ribbon). I don't know if internal preamps have a "standard" size and so they all take the same hole-size in a guitar, but if they don't that's real trouble. Even if they do, it's going to be a lot of work to redo everything in there...

I won't tell you that internal units are automatically inferior to external units. I will say that manufacuters tend to find themselves in more of a space/weight "pinch" when designing internal preamps, and so maybe some of the "goodies" that are on an external unit won't find their way into a corresponding internal unit...

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Unread 03-11-2003, 03:43 PM   #11
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Ok, thanks tons, Nate.

This thread has made my mind almost certain of what I want. Thanks, guys.
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Unread 03-11-2003, 06:09 PM   #12
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soooooooo?
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Unread 03-11-2003, 06:52 PM   #13
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Might I add that both my Sis-In-Law and Mother-In-Law play Tacomas...and I love them. In fact, depending on the day...I like my Sister in Law's guitar more than my Larrivee (!) ... but that's probably due to the wider nut.

I would recommend a non-cutaway model, unless you *know* you want one.

I'd also recommend K&K's Pure Western pickup system...it is the highest rated and most praised system that I have found in the sub-250 range (It's 92 dollars, and you can install it yourself)...

http://www.kksound.com/purewestern.html

My sis-in-law has a Fishman Natural II in hers, and that's sounds wonderful as well.

Peace.
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Unread 03-11-2003, 09:25 PM   #14
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Hmm.. I'm gonna go non cutaway, but about a do-it-yourself pickup system.. hrmm.. hehe, maybe I won't do that.

Ill probably spare myslef the pain of seeing my guitar undergo surgery and get an external preamp the can fit in my case or easily be carried around. Not too much of a hassle, I wouldn't think.
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Unread 03-12-2003, 01:19 PM   #15
Wow you're sheltered
 
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And the Laaawrd didst say...thou shalt not cut into thy guitar's sides, for it is an abomination before mine eyes.

Hallelujah!
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