Welcome to one of our occasional posts on used baritone gems: baritone guitars which, if you stumble across one, are worth adding to your arsenal or, at the very least, represent a good reason to linger in the pawn shop a little longer! Today’s used baritone guitar is the Tacoma Thurderhawk acoustic baritone.
Tacoma Guitars produced instruments between 1991 and 2008. The company made a name for itself with some norm-defying features such as their offset soundhole, bolt-on necks on acoustics, and offering American-made acoustics at reasonable prices. In my opinion, the Thunderhawk is an example of their finest work. Continue reading to see our full review including a video, specs, and more. And see the price of a Tacoma Thunderhawk Baritone here if there’s a used one available.
Tone and Playability
The Thunderhawk is a joy to play. The satin-finished neck is thin and begs to held. The guitar is light and well-balanced. Tonally, the Thunderhawk is bright and lively when compared with most baritones. Individual strings ring clearly with a sound that feels like a mix of handcrafted wind chimes and earthy grit at the same time.
Here is a video of the Thunderhawk in action:
Let’s have a closer look at the bolt-on neck (see the photo below). Despite the conspicuous presence of the bolts, the guitar does not suffer from any deficiencies in playability or tone. In fact, it excels.
On a personal note, the Thunderhawk was the first baritone I ever played. I can still remember where I sat in that old mom-and-pop music shop in my college town. At that time, the used asking price was only around $500, but it has increased significantly since these instruments have gone out of production.
A Sad End to a Promising Baritone Maker
Sadly, Tacoma Guitars closed its production shop shortly after being purchased by Fender. The folks at Fender initially indicated that production would continue at a different location. But, production stopped in 2008. Since then, the price of a used Thunderhawk has climbed dramatically. You can now expect to pay above $1,000 to bring home one of these USA-made gems.
Thunderhawk Key Features & Specs
- Solid Spruce Top – Light Satin Finish
- Solid Mahogany Back and Sides
- Bolt-On One-Piece Mahogany Neck
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- No. of Frets: 22
- Rosewood Bridge
- Chrome Gotoh Tuning Machines
- 29″ Scale Length
- Width at Nut 1.687″
- Tuned from B to B
- Offset Paisley Soundhole
- Graphtech TUSQ Nut
- Compensated Saddle
- “Tone Shaped” bridge
Despite the increase in price, we would recommend buying a used Tacoma Thunderhawk if you can get your hands on one and can afford it. It is a unique baritone, with its lively sound and fantastic playability. And although we can’t make any guarantees, we would expect this instrument to hold its value in the years to come.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, we hope you found it valuable. Be sure to check our other acoustic baritone reviews to see more great baritone options!