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Last Updated on February 1, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


Takamine is a Japanese guitar manufacturer that has been around since 1959, and they are known far and wide for their amazing acoustic and electric-acoustic guitars. They’ve built such a stellar reputation that they’ve become synonymous with excellence in the guitar world.

But here’s something you might not know: Takamine is not owned by the ESP Guitar Company, some people, I too thought so at first. But, they did form a partnership in 2015 that enables Takamine guitars to be distributed to the US through ESP and selected dealers in the USA.

Interesting, right? Now, let’s get to the big question on everyone’s mind:

Are Takamine guitars any good?

In a word, YES! Takamine guitars are great instruments. They are renowned for their top-notch craftsmanship, use of high-quality materials, and commitment to innovation. They have had problems with other brands (Using almost identical logo with Martin in the 70’s), and sometimes the quality control let’s lemons slip through. But overall Takamine produces top-notch acoustic guitars.

All in all, Takamine guitars are a true testament to the brand’s unwavering dedication to creating instruments of unparalleled quality. In the following sections, we’ll delve into Takamine guitars’ different series and models, highlighting their unique features and the factors contributing to their exceptional reputation.

Check our picks for the best Takamine guitars.

History of Takamine Guitars

It all started in 1959

when a small family-run instrument workshop was founded in Sakashita, Japan, at the base of Mount Takamine. As guitar playing gained popularity in Japan, the company was renamed Takamine Gakki Ltd. in 1962, paying homage to the mountain itself.

In the late 1960s,

Takamine established itself as a prominent builder of classical guitars and mandolins, thanks in part to the contributions of luthier Mass Hirade. Hirade introduced several design and manufacturing improvements, earning him the honor of having his name added to many of Takamine’s classical guitar models.

By 1975,

Hirade had become Takamine’s president and embarked on a mission to bring their instruments to a wider audience. As a result, Takamine guitars soon became available worldwide, solidifying their reputation as instruments of exceptional quality.

Throughout the years, Takamine continued to innovate. In 1978,

they revolutionized amplified acoustic guitar design with the development of the under-saddle Palathetic™ pickup. Then, in 1979, Takamine introduced their first acoustic-electric model, the PT-007S, which further expanded their reach.

The 1980s

brought new advancements for Takamine. In 1986, they introduced the first “Natural” series guitar, catering to players seeking a more organic and warm sound. A year later, in celebration of their 25th anniversary, Takamine launched their first Limited Edition guitar model, the EF25, showcasing their commitment to craftsmanship and exclusivity.

Martin Guitar’s also issued a letter in the 80s, regarding Takamine’s use of an almost identical logo to Martin guitars. Apparently, there was no lawsuit filed and Takamine changed the logo of some of their guitars. See one of this era’s Takamine in action in video below:

Technological innovation also played a significant role in Takamine’s success. In 1988,

they introduced the Takamine parametric EQ, which was later redesigned as the AAP preamp. They continued to push the boundaries with the development of innovative external battery box and replaceable preamp package systems in 1989.

Takamine’s dedication to working with renowned artists and meeting the demands of diverse musicians became evident in their signature models. They collaborated with musicians like

  • Steve Wariner,
  • Garth Brooks,
  • John Jorgensen,
  • Kenny Chesney,
  • Glen Frey,
  • and Toby Keith.

Notably, Takamine’s commitment to precision and intricate craftsmanship led to the pioneering use of laser inlay work in 1994, resulting in stunningly detailed inlay designs.

In 1999,

Takamine made significant breakthroughs in manufacturing processes, such as fully automated precision neck machining.

In the early 2000s,

Takamine introduced innovative onboard preamps, including the CTP-1 Cool Tube®, the first onboard acoustic guitar tube preamp, and the Tri-ax “add-on” acoustic guitar pickup in 2004.

In 2005,

Takamine opened a new headquarters and main factory in Sakashita, Japan, to accommodate their growth and enhance production capabilities. Their reputation continued to flourish, and they were commissioned by Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry to design the 80th anniversary guitar.

Takamine has remained steadfast in its commitment to quality and innovation while adapting to changing market demands and customer preferences. They have earned the trust of musicians worldwide through their dedication to craftsmanship, sound excellence, and collaborations with legendary artists like Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Bon Jovi.


Features of Takamine Guitars

Takamine guitars are renowned for their exceptional quality, and that’s no accident. Let’s dive into the features that make Takamine guitars stand out.

1. Materials

Displays a spruce tonewood
Spruce is often the top material of Takamine guitars.

Takamine utilizes carefully selected tonewoods in their guitar construction. They often use solid spruce or cedar for the top, which offers excellent resonance and projection. For the back and sides, they employ various tonewoods such as mahogany, rosewood, and koa, each with its unique tonal characteristics.

2. Craftsmanship

Takamine guitars are crafted with meticulous attention to detail. Highly skilled luthiers work diligently to ensure every aspect of the instrument is finely tuned. From the precision inlay work to the flawless binding and finishing, the craftsmanship of Takamine guitars is a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence.

3. Technology

One notable feature is the split saddle bridge design, which optimizes intonation and improves tonal balance across the strings. Additionally, Takamine is known for their Palathetic pickup, a very durable nut, and an under-saddle pickup system that captures the guitar’s natural acoustic sound with remarkable accuracy. Their preamp systems, such as the CT4B II and CT4-DX, offer versatile tone shaping and reliable amplification.

Unique Features

Stunning Takamine TSP178ACKN. Notice the split saddle bridge.

Takamine guitars have several unique features that set them apart. 

  • The split saddle bridge, mentioned earlier, allows spot-on intonation and improves string-to-string intonation balance. 
  • The Palathetic pickup ensures faithful reproduction of the guitar’s acoustic sound when amplified. 
  • Takamine’s preamp systems provide comprehensive control over tone and volume, allowing players to shape their sound to suit any performance or recording situation.

Takamine offers a wide range of models, each catering to different playing styles and preferences. 

The Takamine GN93CE NEX (on the photo above) is an acoustic/electric guitar with a solid top and playability next to none when set up properly which gives it an upscale feel and distinctive sound. 

The P1NC is part of the Pro Series and features a compact NEX body shape, perfect for fingerstyle players seeking balanced tonal response. 

The EF341SC is a classic dreadnought model with a solid spruce top and a cutaway design, favored by professionals for its versatility and robust sound.


Quality of Takamine Guitars

displays Takamine headstock

When it comes to the quality of Takamine guitars, they truly shine. Takamine has built a solid reputation for crafting instruments of exceptional quality. 

From their materials, like solid wood for the tops and high-quality tonewoods for the back and sides, to the meticulous craftsmanship put into each instrument, Takamine guitars are built to last. 

The attention to detail, precision inlay work, and flawless finishes are a testament to their commitment to excellence.


Sound of Takamine Guitars

See Takamine GN93CE shining.

Takamine guitars are renowned for their exceptional tone and projection across various playing styles. But don’t just take my word for it; check out these YouTube demos to hear the sound for yourself!

In the demo below, the Takamine GD30-CE Dreadnought Cutaway, played by a talented musician from Sweetwater Sound, showcases the guitar’s rich and resonant sound:

You can hear the powerful lows, clear mids, and sparkling highs that fill the room with warmth and clarity. The built-in electronics allow for seamless amplification, making it a versatile choice for live performances or recording.

In the Takamine GD51CE-BSB demo below, you’ll experience the beautiful tones and tonal balance this instrument offers. The guitar produces a vibrant and well-rounded sound, with a full-bodied presence that captivates the listener. From strumming chords to fingerpicking intricate melodies, this Takamine model demonstrates its versatility and ability to shine across different playing techniques.


Reputation of Takamine Guitars

The reputation of Takamine guitars is largely positive, with customers and experts praising their strengths while highlighting some weaknesses. Let’s look at the feedback from customers, as well as consider Takamine compared to other brands.

Here are a couple of things we picked up when doing research on customer feedback for Takamine guitars:

  • Takamines are often praised for their exceptional playability and impressive sound quality.
  • Takamines often produce excellent projection and great sound contributing to an enjoyable playing experience.
  • Takamine is recognized for producing high-value guitars.
  • Customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the accessories provided with Takamines, specifically the sometimes included guitar tuner is mentioned a couple of times.
  • The quality of cheaper models is sometimes inconsistent

When comparing Takamine guitars to other brands, they are often praised for their affordability, considering the quality they offer. Here’s a comparison with other brands:

  • Price: Takamine guitars generally fall in the mid to high price range. They can be more expensive than entry-level options like Yamaha or Fender, but they often offer better build quality and sound performance in their price range.
  • Performance: Takamine guitars are known for their excellent performance, particularly in the acoustic and acoustic-electric categories. They are often considered on par with or even superior to other well-respected brands such as Martin, Taylor, and Gibson.
  • Style: Each guitar brand has its unique body style and sound. While Takamine guitars excel in the acoustic realm, brands like Gibson and Fender are known for their electric guitars. It’s essential to consider your preferred playing style and genre when comparing brands.

Choosing a Takamine Guitar

photo displays takamine acoustic guitar

Tips for Choosing a Takamine Guitar

  1. Determine your budget: Consider how much you’re willing to spend on a guitar. This will help you narrow down the range of Takamine models available to you.
  2. Playing style and genre: Identify the type of music you play or intend to play. Takamine offers guitars suitable for various genres, from fingerstyle to strumming, so choose a model that aligns with your playing style.
  3. Test multiple models: Visit guitar stores or try out different acoustic body types at events to get a hands-on feel for different Takamine models. Pay attention to comfort, sound quality, and playability to find the guitar that resonates with you.
  4. Seek expert advice: Consult experienced guitarists or music store professionals for recommendations based on your preferences and budget. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

Pros and Cons of Takamine Guitars

PROSCONS
Excellent sound qualityHigher price range compared to some budget brands
High-quality craftsmanshipLimited design options for some players
Advanced onboard electronicsSometimes quality control let’s lemons slip through
Wide variety of models to choose from
Combination of tradition and innovation

When to Choose Takamine Guitars?

  1. Seeking exceptional sound: If you prioritize outstanding sound quality and projection, Takamine guitars consistently deliver. Whether you’re strumming chords, fingerpicking intricate melodies, or performing live, Takamine guitars offer rich and balanced tones that captivate listeners.
  2. Versatility: Takamine guitars are designed to accommodate various playing styles and genres. From folk and country to rock and jazz, Takamine models can handle it all. Their versatility makes them an excellent choice for musicians who explore different genres or require a guitar that can adapt to different musical contexts.
  3. Amplified performances: If you frequently play in live settings or enjoy recording, Takamine’s acoustic-electric models are worth considering. With built-in electronics and high-quality pickups, these guitars offer seamless amplification and precise control over your sound.
  4. Craftsmanship and reliability: Takamine’s commitment to craftsmanship ensures that their guitars are built to last. With attention to detail and high-quality materials, Takamine instruments are known for their durability and reliability, making them suitable for regular playing and touring.
  5. Budget considerations: Takamine offers guitars across a wide range of price points, making them accessible to musicians with different budgets. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking for an upgrade, there’s likely a Takamine model that fits your price range without compromising on quality.

When to Choose Another Brand Over Takamine Guitars?

  1. Brighter sound preference: If you prefer a brighter and more articulate sound, brands like Taylor or Martin are known for their clarity and crispness, making them a good choice for those seeking that specific tonal profile.
  2. Specialized playing styles: If you have a specialized playing style, such as classical or flamenco, brands like Cordoba or Ramirez are renowned for their expertise in crafting guitars specifically tailored for those styles, offering features like wider necks and specific bracing patterns.
  3. Different innovative features: If you are in search for more or just different unique features and technology, brands like Ibanez or Taylor are worth checking out.
  4. Budget considerations: While Takamine offers guitars across a wide range of price points, if you have a limited budget, brands like Yamaha or Epiphone offer more affordable options without compromising on quality, making them suitable for beginners or those on a tight budget.
  5. Personal connection and recommendation: If you have a personal connection to a specific brand or have received recommendations from trusted musicians or experts based on your specific needs and preferences, it’s worth exploring those brands further to see if they align with your expectations.

Conclusion

It’s clear that Takamine guitars are an excellent choice for anyone in search of high-quality and high-value acoustic or electric-acoustic guitars. With their exceptional craftsmanship, remarkable sound, and commitment to innovation, Takamine has established itself as a trusted and respected brand in the guitar world.

Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting your musical journey, Takamine guitars offer a range of options to suit different playing styles and budgets. From their rich history and reputation for quality to their innovative features and versatile sound, Takamine consistently delivers instruments that inspire and elevate your music.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and try out a Takamine guitar for yourself. Feel the smooth fretboard under your fingertips and let the sweet melodies pour out. And don’t forget to share your epic tales of jamming with Takamine in the comments below. We want to hear about your rockstar moments and the songs that make your Takamine guitar sing!


FAQ

Are Takamine Guitars Durable?

Yes, Takamine guitars are generally known for their durability.

Are Takamine Guitars Good for Beginners?

Yes, Takamine guitars are often recommended for beginners due to their comfortable playability, low prices, and quality craftsmanship.

Which Musicians Use Takamine Guitars?

Many musicians use Takamine guitars, including notable artists like:
-Bruce Springsteen
-Jon Bon Jovi
-Garth Brooks
-Bruno Mars

What are Takamine Guitars Known for?

Takamine guitars are known for their excellent build quality, rich tone, and innovative features such as split-saddle design, onboard electronics, and preamps.

What are Takamine Guitars Good for?

Takamine guitars are versatile instruments suitable for various genres and playing styles, including fingerstyle, strumming, and live performances.

Where Are Takamine Guitars Made?

Takamine guitars are primarily manufactured in Japan. But the cheaper models are manufactured in China or South-Korea.

Who Owns Takamine Guitars?

Takamine Gakki Ltd is an independent company.

Does ESP Own Takamine Guitars?

No. ESP and Takamine formed a partnership in 2015 that enables Takamine guitars to be distributed to the US through ESP and selected dealers in the USA.

Are Takamine Guitars Good for Fingerstyle?

Yes, Takamine guitars are often favored by fingerstyle players due to their responsive and well-balanced tonal characteristics. Takamine guitars also offer easy and smooth playability.

Is Takamine G Series Good?

Yes, the Takamine G Series is highly regarded for its affordability and quality, making it a popular choice for many guitarists.

What is The Most Expensive Takamine Guitar?

The most expensive Takamine guitar varies depending on the model and features. However, Takamine’s high-end Pro Series and Limited Edition models generally command higher prices.

Are Takamine Guitars Handmade?

While Takamine guitars incorporate some handmade processes, they also utilize advanced manufacturing techniques performed by machines. The extent of hand craftsmanship may vary depending on the model and series.

Do Takamine Guitars Have Truss Rods?

Yes, Takamine guitars typically feature an adjustable truss rod, allowing players to adjust the neck relief for optimal playability.

What Strings Does Takamine Use?

Takamine guitars usually come equipped with D’Addario strings from the factory. However, some models may feature different string brands or options.

Does Takamine Manufacture Electric Guitars?

No. Takamine doesn’t manufacture electric guitars.


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Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…). Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or just email me.
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Rick Staight

I have been playing over 50 years. About 5 years ago I determined it was time for a 12 string.

The GJ72CE was the first I played. I played others such as Martin, Yamaha, Breedlove plus a few others. But I kept coming back to the Takamine. It eventually followed me home.

The next year I was wanting another dread. I played the GD93. No messing around, it came home.

Then a year ago I was wanting a jumbo. I liked my 12 string so well I got the GJ72CE 6 string. Both are natural finish.

Takamine is by far the biggest bang for the buck in guitars. Just waiting for the next one.

Ron from everywhere

I bought my Takamine in 1990 and it has been a joy from day one. Whether just playing acoustic or plugging it in and shaping my tone with the parametric equalizer it’s consistent and reliable. I currently own 7 guitars and almost always grab the Takamine first. I have the new PRS Angelus acoustic electric and it sounds great and feels great, but can’t compete with the much older (30 years?! WTF!) Takamine once plugged in.

Yes! Takamine makes a great guitar.

K

Good article! ! I read it with great interest. Just one correction. Takamine is an independent brand owned by themselves.
ESP USA is just a distributor in the USA 🙂

Jay Hayes

You didn’t

The Fatguy

Gotta say, fairly impressed. Some small errors but all in all, not bad. One question is too broad.

Where Are Takamine Guitars Made? Now or ever ? Takamine guitars are made in Japan. Takamine T and D series are made in China. Takamine G series are presently made in China, but were also made in Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea.

You should come join us on Facebook. I think you’d enjoy yourself. Maybe we would even tell you about the solid body electrics they actually made in the mid 80’s

www. facebook DOT com/groups/TakamineGuitars just in case direct links arent allowed here

DeVe

very nice read sir! I recently picked up a used GJ72CE-12-BSB model TC21021353 in brown sunburst from a well seasoned musician that let this beauty go for a fair price as I’m only a guitar player that wanted to move up from the black Rogue RADHP12 with high action but how I got side tracked by this Takamine is beyond me? but I’m glad it found its way into my big hands as I’m playing it I don’t feel like just a guitar player but I feel like I’m on the edge of being a real musician even though that’s kind of hard to give myself that sort of label yet I do however would like to know where the guitar was manufactured? It’s odd the manufacturer doesn’t seem to be wanting to disclose the place of origin? I will say this, it won’t be my last guitar from this manufacturer…