View Full Version : Rollcall: all Tacoma owners

Richard Polf
Jan-13-2004, 8:31pm
After 3 years of lurking mainly due to the constant bashing of Tacoma mandolins on this forum and the fact that, I own, play and like my Tacoma M3 mandolin, I've decided that it is time for Tacoma players to stand up be proud. (My inspiration is "mandohack's", Ted Eschiman, "Unofficial Ovation MM68 Club" mentioned elsewhere on this board.)

So, if you play a Tacoma it's time to let others know what fine instruments these are. I'll start things off by saying that one of the comments I keep reading is that Tacomas "sound like a guitar". This is such an absurd statement. I've played guitar for 40 years and no guitar I've ever played sounds like a Tacoma Mandolin! I'll gladly play my Tacoma M3 behind a curtain along with my guitar and I'll bet that 100% of the people listening will be able to tell the difference. I'm also sure that people who know what a mandolin sounds like will identify the Tacoma as being a mandolin 100% of the time.

BTW, I'll be at "Wintergrass" in Tacoma, WA playing my...Tacoma. Let's get together and jam. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif Let the games begin.

Chris Cantergiani
Jan-13-2004, 9:23pm
Tacoma owner here!
I bought an M-1 about a year and a half ago as I started to learn how to play. For the price, I felt like (and still feel) it had the best overall sound. Now that I know I want to play the mandolin for years to come, I've decided to save up and get a custom built mando. But I will still keep my Tacoma as my Travel Mando. Plus - my wife just started learning how to play, and she LOVES the Tacoma too. They'll be 2 mandos in the house soon enough, and she says it's the only one she'll want. (MAS should set in for her sometime later this spring)
Chris http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Jan-14-2004, 12:45pm
I've got an M2. Gorgeous fit and finish. The neck playability is second to none, at practically any price range. The tone is clear and concise, not a lot of volume. Maybe "guitar-like" is an extreme comment, but few would mistake the tone of a Tacoma for an arch-top mandolin. I've had the chance to play two vintage Martin mandolins and I'd go for the Tacoma.

Bob Borzelleri
Jan-14-2004, 11:37pm
Moving right over from the Folsom Prison Blues thread to join in on the Tacoma mando movement.

I bought an M3E and I play it pretty much all the time. #Where my body parts come into contact with the instrument is where the Taco shines. #The neck, fretboard and frets were built with serious attention to detail. #The tailpiece is a balancing act that leans south. #It looks real good and, if you don't break a string that happens to be mounted under its sister string (only 4 hooks), it's fine. #If you happen to make the low end break, both strings have to come off. #

As for the sound, obviously it does not sound like an archtop... now that I think about it, that might be because it is a flattop. #Does it sound like a flattop? #Yes it does, but it sounds like a flattop with volume and sustain (particularly with TI strings). #I think it sounds more musical than most archtops (here come the flames). Whenever I want to play Bach stuff, I go straight to the Taco. My archtop A model sounds good playing Bach, but the sound does not fit the music, in my mind. Ergo my thought that the Taco sounds more musical.

My impression has been that most who have who described the Taco as sounding like a guitar have done so as a dig as in "It ain't a real mandolin". #For those who have made that connection, I have to wonder if they have suffered from lack of oxygen from having their head inserted in one of the southernmost parts of the human body. #Anyone else who really thinks the Taco sounds like a guitar, but who isn't just being butthead, must be expressing an honest difference of opinion.


Jan-15-2004, 12:56pm
I have to admit that my first reaction when playing the Tacoma was that it indeed had a tone reminiscent of a guitar. I don't mean that to be a derogatory statement. I think the comparison is legitimate because the flattop sound between the two does have similarities.

I think it is unfair that the "bluegrass" tone of the Gibson F is all-to-often assumed to be the one true pinnacle of excellence when judging mandolin tone.

Richard Polf
Jan-16-2004, 2:27pm
Well, I guess it's just the 4 of us! Gosh, even the Kentucky rollcall gets more action. There must be more Tacoma players out there but they're just a little shy. Anyway, the truth be told, I always thought these "rollcalls" were a little silly, but I thought it would be interesting to hear from other happy Tacoma owners on the board. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif #

Some final thoughts on this topic: Back when I first bought my M3 (three yrs ago) the great jazz mandolinist and protege of Jethro Burns, Don Steirenberg, was asked what would be the qualities of a good mandolin for jazz. The Tacoma fit the criteria perfectly. I love Bluegrass, but of all the music genres that I have played (folk, jazz, classical) it is the most rigid in its insistence on the F5 and its sound as the only acceptable instrument. Since I consider Bill Monroe one of the great innovators in American Music history, this rigidity seems odd to me in his followers. I've always said that, if they existed back then, if it was a Tacoma that was hanging on the wall of that barbershop instead of an Gibson Loar F5 we'd have $40,000 instruments now. Just kidding.

Anyway, the I enjoyed hearing from you guys, maybe we'll meet up some day.

P.S. --- I guess I should say that I don't work for
Tacoma, I just admire their instruments. I do live in Seattle, however. Maybe it's the rain.

Jan-17-2004, 3:17pm
I own three mandolins - a Weber, an Ode and an Epiphone. However, I do also own a Papoose - Does that count? It's roughly the same scale as a mandolin and it decidedly sounds like a guitar capoed at the 5th fret. Tacoma is a first class company that puts out quality professional instruments - I wish there were more like them here in the Us of A. I only wish they had a ukulele with that paisley sound hole in it. Then they would have a complete line. The mandolins I've played sound similar to my Papoose. They are probably great as celtic, jazz or folk instruments ( good sustain ) but they don't seem to have much "chop", something you need in bluegrass. That's the only drawback that I can come up with. Pick on!!!!

Jan-18-2004, 6:46am
hey I live near Tacoma, does that count? lol

Jan-18-2004, 7:32am
Papoose owner here. Mine was modified into a seven string - octave strung. I don't know how to describe what it is, just what I did to it. It technically is a seven string tenor guitar, tuned to CGDa - with a singe C string. I went through about forty ideas and concepts to make this into an octave but ... that bridge was the deciding factor. I could double all the other strings in the c courses (in the bridge) but not the C ... so it's a seven string. I need to narrow the neck sometime in the near future but - this is a fun instrument to play around with - even if I don't know what it actually became.

I've been looking (not to seriously) for an M2 as a travel instrument and wonder if anyone has any opinions on the difference in sound generation between the M1 / M2 / M3? Tacoma makes very playable instruments - even if the sound isn't considered traditional.

Bob Borzelleri
Jan-18-2004, 1:46pm
I own an M3E. #The side and back are maple. #The M1 has mahogany sides and back. #Prior to getting the M3, I played an M1 and had the impression that the M1 was not #particularly bright, that is to say that I don't recall having the reaction that the instrument had a real "bell-like" tone. #I should point out that I really liked the overall tone, but wasn't moved to the point of purchase. #When I heard that the M3 was brighter, I took a chance and ordered one sound unheard. #While there was about 30 days between playing the M1 and the M3, I was immediately left with the impression that the M3 was, indeed, brighter. #Much sustain and the bell like thing.

In addition, I would be less that honest if I didn't add that the flamed maple on the M3 made the M1 (which is a very presentable instrument) look like the not as pretty sister (Hmmm... a bit sexist, but that's the best imagery I can come up with this morning).


Richard Polf
Jan-18-2004, 6:38pm

I, too, have had the same thought(s). My instrument also is an M3 (sunburst, not that it matters). When most people actually play it (even some BG "pursists") they usually remark, in a very surprised tone of voice, about how loud, bright and "woody" it sounds. (Also, my instrument has had three years of constant playing to open up, and it has, considerably) and that will make a difference. I think that many of the comments/avaluations made about Tacomas are based upon the sound of the M1, which I also like, but which has the tonal characteristics typical of mahogony instruments, which it is. (Imagine that!)

Even though it's just a few of us, I'm enjoying this thread. This is what I wanted to get going --- an exchange of views from people who actually own and play these instruments.

Regards, Richard

Richard Polf
Jan-18-2004, 6:41pm
Sorry for the typo --- the word is "evaluations".

(I'm a graphic designer by trade and can't just let them stand, although I should do a better job of proof reading!) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Feb-06-2004, 3:14pm
Well, I'll chime in here. #I am becoming a Tacoma owner within the next week. #I'm actually trading a Weber Aspen #1 to another forum member for an M3. #I've played many tacoma mandos and own a Tacoma DR38 guitar (THE greatest dreadnought guitar value going IMHO...I LOVE IT!). #The Aspen is a sweet sounding little mando, but I'm not crazy about the neck. #Every time I pick up a Taco it plays like butter. #I'm not a big jam person, I just play for me, so I could give a rat's a## what anbody thinks about what I play. #I'm getting it because I like it...and I plan to keep it for a long, long time.

BTW, suggestions on strings for the M3? #My favorites in the past have been GHS Silk & Bronze. #Your $.02? #Thanks!