Reviewed: Tokai Terra Nova TT-S4C2-HBGL

Jade Australia | jadeaustralia.com.au | Expect To Pay: $1295

The Tokai Terra Nova is a dreadnought size acoustic guitar with a Brad Clark Supernatural pickup, preamp and cutaway. Featuring a beautifully coloured fingerboard and a beautiful glossy natural burst, the guitar resembles a more vintage style acoustic guitar with the advantages and technology of its contemporaries.

The pickup and amplified sound is easily tweaked by the onboard controls nestled in the sound hole, easily within reach and much more practical than knobs along the guitar’s sides, as is more common for electro-acoustic guitars. The Terra Nova is balanced, both physically and in its features and sound, with a practically positioned strap button that eases some weight and a well-designed and thoughtfully placed pickup that truly captures the essence of the guitar without colouring it, nor changing the sound when amplified. Both in features and looks, this guitar is beautiful.

                                                                

The honey burst is a classy touch that is reminiscent of more vintage stains on acoustic guitars. The body of the guitar is masterfully crafted and the ebony fretboard provides a delicate but rich and articulate sound. A sleek, pale finish veils the guitar’s modern edge and contemporary technology and design. The Terra Nova’s neck strap pin is located on the underside of the neck’s heel, providing a more balanced position when standing, and does away with the familiar neck heavy feel of a lot of acoustics of any size. Nestled inside the sound hole are the EQ and volume controls for the Brad Clark Supernatural SDP-M Pre-Amp. Featuring bass, middle and treble controls, the already beautifully full sound of the guitar can be shaped and controlled to fulfil any role in a mix, whether supporting a busy band or driving a melody behind a solo voice. The volume control is easily within finger’s reach, which allows the player to slip in and out of the spotlight, as well as a push button to toggle between four contoured sounds. Amplified, the guitar’s pickup is rich and honest. The Brad Clark pickup does a great job of capturing the guitar’s tone and colour.

 

Both acoustically and amplified, the guitar sounds like a treated and tuned instrument. It sounds like the sparkly, rich and dynamic acoustic guitar heard on countless records. Notes are strong and clear, and each interval that makes up their chords resonates beautifully. Every ingredient of your music comes through when this guitar is strummed. The bone nut that comes as standard assists with the clear and sparkly tone, as well as keeping the guitar’s tuning solid. The neck plays beautifully and feels comfortable even at the higher reaches of the fretboard (made available by the cutaway). Admittedly, the relocated strap button gets in the way just beyond the 15th fret - but this is only an issue if you plan on fretting chords up that high.

 

Overall, this guitar is a phenomenal instrument. It plays well, tunes easily and holds that tuning. The addition of the Brad Clark preamp and pickup capture the honest sound of the guitar’s resonance transparently, but the amplified tone can be further coloured via the onboard preamp and EQ controls that are easily accessible as they sit nestled in the sound hole. The guitar’s acoustic sound is that of hi-fidelity recordings, and inspires mouse-quiet chord passages or full blown sing-song strumming. The guitar responds dynamically, but notes and chords remain strong. Each note within the chords sings with intention and clarity, making for more stark and precise harmony. The vintage stain and glossy finish are a sight to behold. It’s almost a shame that these guitars will be played and loved and used, as they deserve to be hung up on a wall and admired.

Hits and Misses

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Great sound and tone

Very playable

Balanced weight

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N/A

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