Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Taku Sakashta: Luthier's Legacy Lives On

Taku Sakashta: Luthier's Legacy Lives On

Sakashta''s friends and contemporaries remember one of the most exciting and original guitar builders of his time.

Rohnert Park, CA (February 26, 2010) – The February 13th edition of the Santa Rosa, California Press Democrat made a shocking announcement that a body was discovered in neighboring Rohnert Park. Word quickly spread through the guitar community as it was announced that the body belonged to famed guitar maker Taku Sakashta. Friends, musicians and fellow guitar makers were stunned by the news of the loss of one of the most exciting and original guitar builders of his time.

As of press time, an arrest had been made in this seemingly random act of violence, and a suspect was in police custody.

Taku’s Craft
Taku became interested in guitars at the age of ten in his hometown of Kobe, Japan. He attended engineering and design school in Japan and then spent five years developing a curriculum for teaching guitar making at the school. Over the next eight years, he worked for major guitar companies, designing, developing, and producing custom professional guitars. He came to the US in 1991 and started his own business. In 1996, he moved to Sonoma, California, designing and building all types of guitars.

According to fellow luthier Denis Merrill, Taku’s goal was “to achieve perfection in sound, construction, decoration and finish. His primary focus was the archtop guitar, although he could build anything and did so for many of the world's best guitarists. The world has lost a gentle man. I will miss his sense of humor.”

Taku’s creative designs and reputation for astonishing-sounding instruments soon attracted interest from the likes of Tony Darren, Robben Ford, Tony Marcus, Boz Scaggs, and Martin Simpson. At the time of his death, Taku’s website mentioned that he was in the process of designing a guitar for both Tuck Andress and Pat Martino.

Former Taku Sakashta student and renowned bicycle-frame maker Ross Shafer, talked about the death of his friend and former teacher. “Now that Taku has left us, I realize that the real gift I got from him was the high level of confidence it takes to dive into a completely new craft. Thanks so much for the beauty you created, for helping me to learn skills I never thought myself capable of. Most of all, thank you for raising the bar of my confidence so much higher than it ever was before we worked together. R.I.P. Taku ... artist, craftsman, teacher, friend, and dream maker!”

Noted archtop builder Tom Ribbecke commented on his friend’s achievements, saying, “Taku managed to come to the U.S. and achieve not only acceptance but admiration from his peers. He was truly one of our unique, tight-knit luthiery community ... he continuously innovated and created new designs, and was an incredible guitar-making talent and force, but he was a better person. This is how I will always remember him.”

Benefits in Taku’s Memory
Friends in the lutherie community have moved to set up a memorial trust fund for Taku’s next of kin. For information on making a donation to the trust, contact California luthier (and mentor to Taku) Ervin Somogyi at

In addition to cash donations, members of the gear community are planning an auction of materials, tools, and instruments. Anyone wishing to contribute nonmonetary items can send them to Tom Ribbecke, who will store them until they can be sold at auction together with Taku’s tools and woods, which will happen as soon as the family and close friends can organize such an effort.

These donations can be sent to either Ribbecke Guitars or Two Rock Amplification:
Sakashta Memorial Fund
c/o Ribbecke Guitars
498-D Moore Lane
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 431-0125

Taku Donation
c/o Two Rock Amplifiers
619 Martin Ave. Ste.6
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 584-8663