Takamine is synonymous with high quality guitars and their H8SS is yet another proof of that. This model is part of Pro Series that is aimed at creating affordable, high quality instruments for intermediate and professional musicians that can spend a buck or two. The fact that this model is hand built in Japan is not just a thing to attract people who miss good old times of hand build quality guitars. It actually shows in every aspect of this guitar. The sound, hardware and construction are done to perfection.
This is a classical dreadnought model with solid spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. It does not come as a surprise that Takamine used solid tonewood for the H8SS. The solid wood is always more durable and produces a better sound while also aging better. And obviously since this is one of their more expensive models it gets the best treatment tonewood wise. As for the neck, it is made of mahogany with rosewood fingerboards. Mahogany perfectly complements solid top and helps create an excellent sound and balanced tonewood while also providing amazing sturdiness.
The H8SS features Gold Classical tuners that are extremely functional and easy to use. The finish is natural gloss that highlights the beautiful tonewood while also allowing it to breathe. The D’Addario EXP45 strings that ship with this model are medium tension offering the best of the two worlds – it is comfortable for beginners and intermediates while, at the same time, creating a great, clear sound. The hardshell case that you also get is very impressive. Well, as much as a case can be impressive. That being said, the hardshell case might be a bit heavy but it protects the guitar like it is the last instrument left in the world and everyone has forgotten how to create guitars.
Whenever I write that the build and hardware on a certain instrument is almost impeccable it always annoys me to write about sound because it seems a bit too obvious. Well, in rare cases, for whatever weird reason, tonewood and great construction do not warrant great sound. BUT that does not happen often and it definitely is not the case with Takamine Pro Series H9SS Hirade. The sound on this model is absolutely mesmerising. The choice of tonewood create such a beautiful balanced tone and sound that you can use this instrument for any style and genre.
Good acoustic-electric guitars are hard to come by. BUT when we are talking of Takamine the standards are automatically taken from one to eleven. The CTP-2, electronics that the H8SS is equipped with does not fall short of other features. The controls are easy to understand and use, the LED display is very user friendly and you can basically tweak every aspect of the sound.
If amazing build, top quality solid tonewood and best hardware on the market do not persuade you to get this model than I do not know what will. A perfect match for a beginner, intermediate and professional musicians this model will meet and exceed your needs. That being said, the electronics might not be the best thing about the H8SS but they are okay if you do not have that requirement.