I have not had a steel string acoustic guitar in over a year. I have lately been gassing for one badly, went to a Guitar Center with a budget under $500. Did not really bond with anything in my price range. I liked an $800 Seagull Maritime best, till I tried a $3500 Martin D-28 (I think there might have been a "V" in the model name, I think it was a variation of the D-28 with a pronounced V neck). The D-28 blew everything away. There was an amazing resonance to the notes.

I left without buying anything, did some research, and found out that Takamine made a D-28 clone in the 70s "lawsuit" era, the F360. Made in Japan, supposedly using Martin blueprints. The F360 had a laminated top, but the F360s had a solid spruce top. I looked online and some one in my town was selling an F360s within my budget. It seemed "meant to be," so I bought it sight unseen.

I knew I could be in for disappointment, but just the opposite. Turns out it is in very nice condition and had been recently re-fretted, which I think is great because it was a high end job and this means intonation is essentially perfect everywhere, no fret buzz anywhere. I was worried about the dreaded "neck reset" issue, but the neck looks just fine, has never had a re-set, action is impressively low.

It had been a couple days since I left the guitar store when I first played the Takamine, but the notes had a resonance that reminded me of the D-28. I wouldn't necessarily want to play them side-by-side, as that might leave me disappointed. But as it stands, I feel like I got something pretty close and great "bang for the buck."
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I recently had a similar experience. I own a D-28, but was Gassing for a D12-28, which is even pricier. I found a reference in this conference to the Sigma guitars that were made for Martin by a top Japanese builder in the early 70s. This led to the discovery of a 1970 Sigma D12-7 on eBay which I glommed for $155!

It's a great-sounding guitar in super condition (a couple of dings in the top). To my ear, it compares favorably to the D12-28 I played at the Martin factory 2 years ago.

I am one happy plucker!
Dave Bowers

Martin D-28
Martin/Sigma DR12-7
Martin Dreadnought Junior
Washburn EA25SNB
Epiphone F-112 Bard
Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Wow, that's a beauty krm27. Congrats! How much did it cost you? Have to go outside the $500 comfort zone?
Price was under $350 with case, but the seller had marked it down 58% from the original asking price, apparently wanting a quick sale. I have seen these and related models on Ebay usually in the $500-$600 range in this condition, but price varies a lot on condition, and often you see them come up without the "s" designation, meaning they have a laminated top. I think you can find a used one (F340s, F350s, F360s, F375s, etc.) for around $300-$400, but the condition will probably be poor. I think I got lucky finding one in this condition for this price.

These F-series Martin clones are pretty close, spec-wise, to the Martin Shenandoah line which (as I understand it) were Martin's own cheaper versions with laminated backs & sides, made in Japan. So both the Martin D28 Shenandoah and the Takamine F360s were made in Japan with solid top & laminated back & sides, modeled on the D28. I have seen Shenandoah's listed from $800 to $1500.
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