The musical career of Glenn Frey was marked from the beginning by his objective to form a band similar to his idols Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but the Eagles, who were the result of that obsession, didn’t end up sounding much like their heros, nonetheless what they did was to create one of the most successful American bands in history, and to write some of the most everlasting songs in the 2nd half of the 20th century.
To do this, after having used a Gibson SG Jr., a Gibson ES-335 and ES-330, and had his own Rickenbacker 230 Signature, used mainly a Gibson Les Paul Jr. from the 50s, fitted with a P-90 pickup on the neck. This is the electric guitar most associated with the career of our hero today, and legend says that this guitar, ‘Old Black’, was a gift from his good friend Jackson Browne.
But it is widely-known that of all the group’s facets good old Frey mastered, carrying the load of the band with his electric guitar was not exactly his main one, for that kind of responsibility he could count on authentic beasts like Bernie Leadon, Joe Walsh and Don Felder. This is why we will highlight in our piece the true sound of Frey in the Eagles: his acoustic sound.
He began his career getting his hands on 6 and 12-string Martin guitars, but it didn’t take many years for him to opt for the acoustic guitars from the Japanese maker Takamine. We could mostly hear playing the EF360 model for years, and even has his own signature model the Takamine EF360GF.
We want to take this moment for us here at Guitars Exchange to strongly recommend, if you get the chance, to pick up a Japanese Takamine from that series (EF340, EF349, EF360), do not hesitate. Our personal experience is that these guitars were extremely well made and in today’s crazy vintage market the ‘hype’ hasn’t yet reached these models.
To show how well they had to be made, here you have the leader of the American band par excellence, leaving his Martin’s in the early 80s at home, and betting on guitars made in Japan. In the patriotic culture of the U.S. this amounted to sacrilege.
So, a guy so absolutely obsessive and perfectionist with the sound of his records, and with the vocal harmonies, we don’t think he would be any less obsessive with the tone of his guitars... It seems that Takamine comfortably met Frey’s demands; great wood quality, and construction, and a great pickup, true to the original sound of the instrument and without couplings, to be able to play the guitar onstage without being startled .
So Takamine, as you can imagine, owes much of their fame in the U.S.A. to Glenn Frey, a fellow who dreamt of becoming the 5th letter in CSNY, and wound up selling more than 150 million records in his own band with his “Taka” hanging from his shoulder.