The "Cool Tube" preamp was introduced at the January 2004 NAMM show in Anaheim, California and is the most significant development in "on-board" acoustic signal processing since Takamine presented the Acoustic DSP, the industry's first on-board "digital" acoustic guitar preamplifier in 1998.

The Takamine "Cool Tube" preamp is an on-board acoustic-electric preamp that utilizes a 12AU7 dual triode vacuum tube. The CTP series packs a huge amount of features and amazing tone into a compact package that slides into Takamine's "SoundChoice" docking port. The "Cool Tube" preamp joins a range of three distinctly different preamps that are all interchangeable, giving the Takamine player great options to fit their personal style and taste.

The CTP-2 "Cool Tube" preamp gets its name from Takamine's unique and new technology that runs the Tube at very low voltages, therefore the tube does not glow or produce high levels of heat. The tube actually runs at only two or three degrees above ambient, so there is no concern over the delicate tone woods being affected by radiant heat. With the Takamine CTP-2 "Cool Tube" preamp, the playing will be hot, the tone will be warm, but the tube always remains cool.

CoolTube Tone: Hirade TH-90

Frary's "Eleventh Hour" played on a Hirade TH-90 Classical Guitar. CoolTube pickup jacked into a Trace Acoustic Cube and recorded with a Shure condenser mic and Tascam audio recorder.

Cool Tube Features

Takamine and Hirade players will find a useful array of features to enhance their recording or live performance applications:

A chromatic tuner available at your fingertips keeps the guitar in tune. The tuner is capable of being calibrated from A438, to A445. An LED display reveals the note being played and directs the player with illuminated arrows that show sharp and flat.

The EQ section utilizes a shelving, graphic EQ, which can cut or boost bass and treble frequencies. The mid range is shaped using a semi-parametric EQ section comprised of a rotary knob used to choose the mid point of the midrange frequency. The midrange frequency can be cut or boosted with the mid slider. The range of frequency covered by the rotary knob is 200hz to 8.5Khz.

The tonality of the preamp is further enhanced by the use of the rotary knob labeled "Cool Tube" With this control, the player chooses the depth of effect the tube places on the signal generated by the proven Takamine "Palathetic" pickup. With this knob the player can choose from a high degree of "CUT" for aggressive strumming; expanded "sweetness" and harmonic density with fatter lows and rounder highs; or levels of rewarding richness for finger style players.

An auxiliary input jack and volume knob, which can control an additional add-on pickup of your choice. This facility can accept a magnetic sound hole pickup, or a soundboard transducer. The AUX control knob is used to blend the add-on signal with the Takamine pickup. A small switch in the back of the preamp can be used to match the varying outputs of different pickups with the preamp. The output volume slider can then control the blended signal. The CTP-2 is powered by 4 AA batteries, which will deliver approximately 24 hours of playing time.

The CTP-2 is available as original equipment in select Takamine models. However, it may be purchased separately for upgrading older guitars.

Finally, inspect preamp batteries for signs of leakage at least monthly. Remove batteries when storing your instrument for an extended length of time. Why? The most common cause of preamp failure is leaking batteries. Sadly, we saw dozens of our customers ruin preamps due to leaving batteries in for a year or more (they only used the tuner). My recommendation is to spring for rechargeable Panasonic Eneloop AA batteries: a single charge lets you gig for two or three months, they're less prone to leaking than alkaline batteries and you can recharge them a couple thousand times.

Note: The12AU7 dual triode vacuum tube is widely available user replaceable: remove preamp and simply pull the tube straight out of the socket.

Note: the original CTP-1 preamp is discontinued, replaced by the CTP-2, and no longer available. The preamps are very similar but the CTP-2 has a textured face (rather than polished), a modified battery case (contacts on bottom rather than side) and a warm-up indicator light.

Takamine CTP-3 Cool Tube Preamp

Note: In 2015, pro Takamine and Hirade began shipping with the CTP-3, a tweaked CTP-2 with notch filter and additional controls for an optional second pickup. It is distinguished from the CTP-2 by additional controls, lack of a visible battery cage and two topside pinch tabs.


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