The Tacoma Road King.
I'm not certain any more where it was that I played my first Tacoma Road King acoustic guitar, but the guitar was brand new, and on display in a guitar shop. I'd heard of these guitars from seeing them in magazines - and because I'm forever curious about acoustic guitars I picked it up and played it.
Next to the Tacoma Road King in the guitar shop was a much more expensive Taylor 410, and so naturally, my next action was to pick that one up and play it as well. I love Taylor guitars, and I especially have always loved their 410 model dreadnought. I couldn't help but notice after playing both guitars, however, that for about twice the price the Taylor 410 was only a more traditional looking guitar with a more well known name on it. The Tacoma Road King was it's complete equal in every way - for around $700.00 I'll save that much and purchase a Tacoma Road King, thank you very much!
Some people just love the looks of a traditional guitar. I'm one of those people. I'm also a person that loves the looks of non traditional guitars - and the Road King acoustic guitar by Tacoma is definitely a non traditional guitar in many ways - first and foremost the sound hole isn't round and in the middle of the body like virtually all flat top guitars are. The Tacoma Road King IS a flat top steel string acoustic guitar in the same vein as a Martin D 18, but it's sound hole is in a very different location, and so it's sound is going to be a bit different for that reason, and a few others as well. But the Road King acoustic steel string dreadnought by Tacoma is a full sized and all solid wood construction flat top guitar, and any time you've got an all solid wood acoustic guitar - you've got a quality instrument that can and will last a lifetime if you take care of it.
The Tacoma guitar company has been bought out by the Fender guitar company in recent years - so now if you are in the market for a Tacoma acoustic guitar you'll hear them sometimes refered to as either "pre Fender" or "Fender Tacoma's," some persons are always going to go for the older models regardless, and it's true that older and more well broken in acoustic guitars will always sound better - and these guitars on the used market are such a tremendous value that I can't think of a better bargain, really, for someone in the market for a solid wood dreadnought like this. These Tacoma Road King guitars are available as either straight acoustic guitars, or with pre amp acoustic/electric electronics pre installed - and obviously, that costs extra.
These Tacoma Road King guitars are solid mahogany back and sides, and this gives them a very bright sound with high velocity and clarity in the note projections, they've a one piece solid mahogany neck with rosewood finger board, and nearly always have solid Sitka Spruce sound boards. They are, however, also available with Western Red Cedar sound boards. Either wood for the Tacoma Road King's sound board would be excellent - it's merely a matter of preference. Typically finger style players prefer the Western Red Cedar sound boards, and flat pickers the Sitka Spruce.
These are terrific guitars - solid wood construction, an outstanding price, a cut away that allows greater access up the neck, and the option for pre loaded pre amp electronics. I would recommend this guitar to anyone looking for a great deal on a professional level instrument for an intermediate level price.