You are currently viewing 5 Best Takamine Acoustic Guitars for 2024 – Extreme Value For Your Money

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Dunno if you are like me…but I want an acoustic guitar that is extremely comfortable to play. And by this, I mean EXTREMELY comfortable. I also want my acoustic to sound top-notch and to offer great bang for the buck.

And this is why I’m talking about Takamines today. They are all that and some models even more. Now, let’s check the best of them.

photo displays Pranshu, who works as a writer at guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Pranshu Nigam

Pranshu has been playing guitar since 2014, after having played the piano for 10 years.

He’s all about acoustic & classical guitars and jamming around with unusual tunings. He mixes modern percussive fingerstyle technique and Flamenco music into his own playing. Pranshu also runs his own guitar website, Harmonyvine. Check Pranshu playing here!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: 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…).


Best Overall – Takamine GN93CE NEX

Reviewer: Pranshu Nigam

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value for Money

Summary

Takamine has really aimed for a premium look and feel with GN93CE NEX.

Split-saddle design and Gold-plated die-cast tuners with contrasting black buttons to mention a few…

The sound is loud, bright, and clear. The walnut/maple body brings out the deep lows and crisp highs produced by the spruce top. Also…

The Takamine GN93CE uses the TK-40D preamp, which is up there with the best preamps on any acoustic-electric guitar.

The tone is surprisingly transparent and natural, producing a full and clear when plugged in.

When it comes to cons, the biggest one is the fact that sometimes lemons slip through the quality check.

GN93CE is versatile and comfortable to play instrument and a good option when in search of a great-sounding acoustic guitar.

4.8

How GN93CE NEX sounds:

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The Next Best:

Runner-up/Hottest – Takamine GN77KCE

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

If you’re bored with the same mahogany and rosewood guitars in the market this laminate Koa body is worth looking at.

Its size and shape are near-perfect for someone who’s picking up the guitar for the first time.

At the same time, it’s lightweight and functional enough for any professional musician.

Koa offers you round tones with a mix of warmth and brightness…

A great option if you are looking for a bit different-sounding acoustic!

Premium Pick – Takamine EF341SC Pro Series

image displays Takamine EF341SC

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Do you know what’s common between Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Brad Davis?

They’re all devoted fans of the Takamine EF341SC.

And me?

I find this guitar better than a similarly priced Taylor or Martin when it comes to offering value for money…

This guitar especially shines with vocals!

Most Value for Money  – Takamine GD30CE

image displays Takamine GD30CE-N

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

High value for money and best for jamming with others.

If playability were a high school subject, then this Tak’ would be the kid with the highest grades.

A bit mid-range-heavy tones are not for everyone, but you might like these tones after all.

It’s built well, looks fabulous, and feels great to play.

Beginner/Budget Pick – Takamine GD11MCE

image displays Takamine GD11MCENS

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

The GD11MCE is a full-featured guitar that isn’t lacking in any aspect.

No matter what music you play: Bluegrass, folk, blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll, or even classical, THIS is a great budget option.

When I keep the price of this axe in mind I really couldn’t find any real flaws from this guitar.

A nice budget option that delivers great value for the money.

Compare The Specs:

graph compares 5 Best takamine guitars

Compare The Tonewoods:

Graphic compares acoustic guitar tonewoods

Top: Sitka Spruce

Back & Sides: Black Walnut with Quilted Maple Center

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Laurel

The fretboard and neck don’t affect the tone much.

Top: Laminate Hawaiian Koa

Back & Sides: Hawaiian Koa

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Laurel

Top: Solid cedar

Back & Sides: Maple

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Rosewood

Top: Solid Spruce

Back & Sides: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Rosewood

Top: Laminate Mahogany

Back & Sides: Mahogany

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Laurel

For more cool info about tonewoods, check this acoustic guitar tonewoods article.


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Our reviews of the top 5

Best Overall – Takamine GN93CE NEX 

There is also dreadnought cutaway version of this Tak available. But I prefet this NEX sytle becuase of it’s easier playability.

Specs

Body StyleNEX Cutaway
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeG series
Fretboard20 frets, Laurel
NutSynthetic bone
Nut Width1.6875″
ElectronicsTakamine TK-40D Preamp with Built-In Tuner
SaddleSynthetic bone
Scale-Length25.5″

The Takamine GN93CE is one of the most well-balanced guitars in its price range. But what makes it stand out in the crowd?

The GN93CE features a NEX-style body, which is Takamine’s mini-jumbo-inspired shape. They describe it as “sleek and curvaceous,” which is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this guitar.

If the 3-piece walnut/quilt maple back wasn’t enough to catch some eyes, the bound laurel fingerboard surely is.

But Takamine’s attention to detail doesn’t end here.

  • Split-saddle design
  • Dark wood rosette
  • Body purfling
  • Gold-plated die-cast tuners with contrasting black buttons

But I’d be lying if I say this guitar always comes set up perfectly out of the box.

As much as I’m attracted to the Japanese craftsmanship going on at the base of Mt. Takamine, these made-in-China G-series models and their poor quality control is nothing to celebrate about.

Don’t get scared, though!

Things like frets being a little sharper and high action are easy to fix. Factory nut/saddle and plastic tuner buttons can be replaced too. It’s when the guitar is set up properly that you realize how easy it is to play.

It has a 42.8mm nut width, which means shorter fingers will have an easy time navigating the fretboard.

The NEX body is a tad smaller than a typical dread, so it’s less fatiguing during prolonged practice or recording sessions.

Check how this guitar sounds:

Sound is where this Tak’ excels – both acoustically and plugged-in.

Loud, bright, and clear like what you’d expect from these tonewoods. The walnut/maple body brings out the deep lows and crisp highs produced by the spruce top.

That’s not even the best part!

For a company that specializes in acoustic-electrics, you’d expect the electronics to be pretty good, well they are not…

Electronics are exceptional.

The Takamine GN93CE uses the TK-40D preamp, which is up there with the best preamps on any acoustic-electric guitar. It’s surprisingly transparent and natural, producing a full and clear amplified tone.

It’s not just the sound that’s fantastic. The preamp comes with tons of controls baked right into it.

  • Want to tweak the sound? Use the 3-band EQ or gain knob.
  • Want to cut or boost the mid-frequencies? Engage the notch filter or mid contour with a single button.
  • Need to do a quick A/B with the original sound? An EQ bypass button is come-at-able.

I mean, why don’t all acoustic-electrics have this?

What others are saying:

This guitar has been everything I had hoped. It is more beautiful in hand than in the pictures and the sound is on par with the look. I hadn’t found much information on this guitar prior to purchase in the way of videos or reviews, so I was a little apprehensive. I’m glad I went for it! Great quality for the price. – Shawn from TN

Pros:

  • Its acoustic sound is rich and bright and suitable for any style of music.
  • Some of the most transparent electronics at this price.
  • Quality tonewoods that add to the beauty and durability.
  • Playability is next to none when set up properly.

Cons:

  • Sometimes subject to poor quality control due to China-based manufacturing.
  • Synthetic bone nut/saddle are a bummer but definitely don’t ruin the guitar.

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Runner-up/Best looking – Takamine GN77KCE

Specs

Body StyleMini Jumbo Cutaway
TopLaminated Hawaiian Koa
Back & SidesHawaiian Koa
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeShallow “C” profile
Fretboard20 frets, Laurel
NutComposite
Nut Width1.673″
ElectronicsTakamine TP-4TD 3-band EQ, built-in tuner
SaddleComposite
Scale-Length25.4″

If you’re bored with the same mahogany and rosewood guitars that are omnipresent in the market (that isn’t to say they’re bad), this laminate Koa body is something fresh and gorgeous worth looking at.

The GN77KCE features the same NEX-cutaway design as the GN93CE, and the specs are really similar between the two. These include:

  • Mahogany neck with a bound laurel fingerboard
  • Gold die-cast tuners (only with gold buttons this time)
  • Quartersawn X-bracing
  • Natural gloss finish.

However, some appointments are different on this one, such as a smaller nut width (1.673” here), synthetic nut/saddle, and a shallow C-profile neck. It also comes with a different pickup system, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Usually, the Chinese origin G-series Taks are a cut below their Japan-made instruments, but the GN77KCE might be an exception to that rule.

Just like the GN93CE, it’s incredibly comfortable to play after being set up.

Its size and shape is perfect for someone who’s picking up the guitar for the first time. At the same time, it’s lightweight and functional enough for any professional musician.

The nut width (42.5mm) is slightly narrower than the typical 43mm width, which helps while playing complex chords or playing with your thumb over the top of the neck a lot (like me).

Check how this guitar sounds:

For those unfamiliar, Koa sounds like a blend of mahogany and rosewood – balancing the warmth and brightness of both. It’s a softer wood, so expect it to be more rounder sounding.

One more thing. Koa might take a while to open up, and a fresh koa guitar might sound a bit “muffled” (not very warm). Just play it a lot or prop it up against a stereo speaker to speed up the process (yes, it works!).

Once you get your GN77KCE all opened up, it sounds very expressive, with enhanced upper-mids and controlled treble. This sound profile makes it versatile, so whether you need it for articulate fingerpicking or heavy strumming, you know it’s going to sound well.

Takamine uses their original TP-4TD preamp on this one. It’s nowhere close to a high-end Taylor, but it works for the price. You get a clear amplified sound with a basic low/mid/treble EQ adjustment.

In fact, it’s the same preamp that’s on the GD30CE sitting at the #4 position below.

What others are saying:

In a nutshell, I’m not sure you can beat this guitar for the money. Great action and beautiful appearance. Nice tone, sounds fine plugged in. I think the Takamine line is the best bang for the buck. – John from IN

Pros:

  • Prettiest guitar on this list.
  • Built well (solid tuners, bound neck, excellent finish).
  • Has a round and balanced tone that suits both articulate and aggressive playstyles.

Cons:

  • Not as warm or resonant as mahogany or rosewood guitars.
  • You’re paying more for the looks than sound or electronics.

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Premium Pick – Takamine EF341SC Pro Series

image displays Takamine EF341SC

Specs

Body StyleDreadnought with Cutaway
TopSolid Cedar
Back & SidesMaple
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeC
Fretboard20 frets, Rosewood
NutBone
Nut Width1.673″
ElectronicsCT-4B II Preamp with Palathetic Pickup
SaddleBone
Scale-Length25.375″

Do you know what’s common between Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Brad Davis?

They’re all devoted fans of the Takamine EF341SC. If that isn’t a testament to the legacy and quality of this guitar, then I don’t know what is.

After a couple of mass-manufactured-in-China models, we finally get to experience the true essence of Takamine’s Japanese craftsmanship. The EF341SC is a cutaway dreadnought, handcrafted in their pro series facility in Japan.

The tonewoods on this guitar are:

  • Solid cedar top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Laminated maple back & sides

I must say, it’s a simple approach but they managed to make it look beautiful! I also like that you get bone nut and saddle as is. It gives the sound a lot more character and sustain.

Remember that it’s not a split saddle design like some of the models we discussed above. But it doesn’t need one either. The intonation is already spot on.

If someone comes and tells me that they find this guitar uncomfortable, I won’t believe them.

  • The smooth rosewood fretboard is like a calm sea where your hands can cruise effortlessly. Only that you don’t need fast winds to sail through crazy fast riffs.
  • There’s cutaway, so easy upper-register soloing.
  • Low action that’s set up perfectly from the factory.

Its neck is ever-so-slightly slimmer than a typical C-shaped neck, and you’ll definitely feel the difference when you first pick it up. Also, the nut width is on the shorter side – 42.5mm. Ideal for players with small hands/fingers (find more stellar acoustic guitars for small hands here).

Check how this guitar sounds:

Kudos to Takamine for using a solid cedar top to go along with the laminated maple body. Cedar mellows the brightness of maple that could otherwise be too shimmery and aggressive. This creates an overall balanced sound.

This tonewood combination produces a notch-like filter in the mid-range. This leaves room for vocals to cut through (Now I get it. This is why Bruce Springsteen and JBJ have been gigging with it for decades!).

Additionally, the CT4B II preamp is glorious. It sounds nothing like your average piezo when plugged in. It’s unbelievably transparent, plus you get the onboard tuner that’s as precise as an atomic clock.

The EF341SC is one of those guitars that sound incredible in any setting:

  • Small venues or cafés
  • Solo instrumentals
  • Studio recording
  • Accompanying other instruments with distortion, etc.

If you’re a professional and tour a lot, seriously, check this guitar out!

I’ll be honest. I find this guitar better than a similarly priced Taylor or Martin when it comes to the value proposition.

What others are saying:

If you need a great sounding guitar with a balanced tone and a silky easy to play feel go for this Takamine EF341SC. I tried many guitars and was disappointed with many for various reasons. I put this box through the same rigorous test as the others and it comes through like a champ. I’m very happy with this purchase. – Ray from Connecticut

Pros:

  • A minimalist appearance that looks fantastic on stage.
  • Sounds and feels way more expensive than it is.
  • The pickup and preamp produce a full, bright and clear output.
  • Premium build quality and craftsmanship.

Cons:

  • None really.

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Most Value for Money  – Takamine GD30CE

image displays Takamine GD30CE-N

Specs

Body StyleDreadnought with Cutaway
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck ShapeSlim
Fretboard20 frets, Rosewood
NutSynthetic bone
Nut Width1.6875″
ElectronicsTakamine TP-4TD Preamp with Built-In Tuner
SaddleSynthetic bone
Scale-Length25.3″

You’d kind of expect a combination of solid spruce top and mahogany for the body at this price. It’s great! Sounds rich and resonant, and the gloss finish looks beautiful.

But the things I want to highlight are its:

  • Pinless bridge: More convenient when replacing strings.
  • Split saddle: The split saddle design creates perfect intonation across all strings. It’s unique to Takamine.
  • Slim Mahogany neck with a 12”-radius Ovangkol fingerboard: Easier to play if you’ve got smaller hands. It has a smooth satin finish so your hands won’t stick on the surface.

The ‘D’ in GD30CE stands for ‘dreadnought.’ Although you can get the guitar in the NEX style body (GN30CE), which is Takamine’s attempt at a scaled-down jumbo body. 

Both variants look and feel fantastic.

I can tell you one thing.

It has got everything you need in an affordable guitar:

Perfect action… CHECK!

Perfect Intonation… CHECK!

Slim neck profile… CHECK!

Satin finish on the neck… CHECK!

But wait a little…

While doing the online research for this guitar, I noticed a few complaints from owners regarding how the action was quite high out of the box on their units, as well as some other quality control issues.

Unfortunately, most cheaper Takamines are now manufactured in China, and this is one of them.

You may take it to a shop for a professional setup if you find the action/nut/saddle not as good. Or if you receive one of those not-so-well-finished units, you have the option to replace it, but it’s still a bummer.

Check how this guitar sounds:

Right off the bat, you will hear that the GD30CE sounds a bit ‘boxy.’ It has got a lot more mid-range than dreadnoughts from other brands, which gives it a peculiar ‘nasal’ sound.

What does this mean?

Consider the following two scenarios:

  1. While playing solo: The prevailing mids stand out giving it that nasal sound. Some people might like it, but the highs and lows are a bit lacking for me.

When plugged in, you can reduce the mid-range band or increase the bass & treble bands (I suggest doing the former). This balances the sound a little bit. However, the boxiness won’t go away completely.

  1. When jamming with a band: This is where the enhanced mid-range plays its role. It gives the guitar a percussive tone and makes it cut through the mix.

Its round and mellow tone is kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you might not like the sound of it. But when you perform in a band setting, your guitar will sit in the front of the mix.

The GD30CE comes with Takamine’s proprietary TP-4TD preamp. It produces a rich and full amplified sound. If you want to tweak the sound, you can easily do that with the 3-band EQ and a large gain knob.

What others are saying:

I have had this guitar for a few day’s now and everytime I play it it impresses me more and more. Now I have played very high end electric acoustics in the past and I can honestly say I would put this Takamine up against any of them.The craftsmanship is excellent and the electronics is unsurpassable. For a …dollar acoustic it is absolutely amazing and the playability is very easy.If I can say this save your money people and get one of these guitar’s you’ll be glad you did. Wow! – Walter from AR

Pros:

  • Loud, warm, and round tone that cuts through the noisy ambiance.
  • Effortless to play; The satin finish on the neck only helps.
  • One of the best pickups in an affordable acoustic-electric guitar.
  • Pinless bridge makes string replacement quicker. And no worrying about dropping or losing a pin.

Cons:

  • Factory setup can be hit-or-miss.
  • Some people might not want the mid-range heavy sound.

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Beginner/Budget Pick – Takamine GD11MCE

image displays Takamine GD11MCENS

Specs

Body StyleDreadnought with Cutaway
TopLaminated Mahogany
Back & SidesMahogany
NeckMahogany
Neck Shape?
Fretboard20 frets, Laurel
NutSynthetic bone
Nut Width1.67″
ElectronicsTakamine TP-4T
SaddleSynthetic bone
Scale-Length25.5″

It’s built like a tank with an all-laminate-mahogany construction that blows other budget factory guitars out of the water.

If someone would do a blind test and guess its price, it’d certainly be way over $300.

You get an old-school satin finish all over, which is a change from all the glossy finishes we talked about above. Takamine has nailed the little details that matter:

  • No shoddy glue marks on the inside or around the binding
  • Good action straight from the factory
  • Nut settled in nicely

I mean, what else do you want in a beginner guitar?

Most players think of high action, sharp frets, poorly placed nut, etc., upon hearing the term “budget acoustic guitar.” Well, Takamine has got an answer for all those folks!

The satin finish is favorable for hands that sweat a lot. It won’t feel sticky.

The fretboard is typical full-scale rosewood, and you won’t have any trouble placing chords or playing fast riffs.

You don’t have to push too hard on the frets, plus there’s no buzzing even when you really dig in on the fretboard. This is surprising for a cheap acoustic guitar.

It’s an overall pleasant experience – exactly how you want a beginner acoustic to be. Nothing too spectacular or disappointing about it.

Check how this guitar sounds:

THIS is the best part! Right as you think it’s just another laminate mahogany guitar…

Enter Takamine…

Rich, loud, clear, sensitive – nothing like what you’d expect from a budget instrument. And if you install a bone saddle, it only gets louder and better for less than around $30.

But what about the electronics?

Takamine’s entry-level TP-4T pickup is decent for the price. Of course, you don’t expect a budget acoustic-electric pickup to knock your socks off.

It does an excellent job transmitting the acoustics, although you will definitely notice piezo artifacts in the amplified sound.

A typical 3-band EQ, gain knob and digital tuner are all welcome inclusions as well.

The Takamine GD11MCE is a full-featured guitar that isn’t lacking in any aspect.

What others are saying:

This guitar simply blows me away. The craftsmanship and quality of this guitar is absolutely stunning for the price. I pat myself on the shoulder for getting this guitar, haha! – Shafayet

Pros:

  • Good fit and finish.
  • Impressive sound (both acoustic and amplified).
  • Smooth tuners that hold the tune very well.
  • Comfortable to play for beginners.
  • And most importantly, an incredibly inexpensive price tag.

Cons:

  • When I keep the price of this axe on mind I really couldn’t find one!

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Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


How We Chose These Takamine Acoustic Guitars

  1. We decided which Takamine guitars to recommend by using our own experience, doing extensive research, visiting music stores, and asking help from our musician friends
  2. After we had chosen the guitars to recommend we looked for a good way to test the gear. This means either renting it, buying it, testing it in a music store, or visiting a friend who owns it. This time, our main testing methods were playing these acoustic guitars at music stores and relying on our past experience playing these guitars.
  3. Even after this, we’ll still do another round of extensive research to make sure that this specific product is in fact, a real cream-of-the-crop candidate.
  4. Then we wrote this in-depth but easily digestible review about these acoustic guitars. We kept in mind who will be playing them (most likely) such as beginner & intermediate players, blues players, players who want to plug in, guitar players searching for budget guitars, advanced players, etc. 

Most acoustic guitars we recommend are run through tests like these:

  • We go carefully through the finish and build quality of the guitar.
  • We inspect the fretwork and edges of the fretboard to make sure there are no sharp edges.
  • We play the acoustic guitar unplugged and plugged in.
  • We use different playing techniques, such as fingerpicking, flatpicking, strumming, tapping, and even percussive playing.
  • We measure and weight the guitar.
  • We try licks and riffs from different genres.

Learn more about GND’s testing and reviewing processes here.


Pranshu Nigam

Pranshu has been playing guitar since 2014, after having played the piano for 10 years. He’s all about acoustic & classical guitars and jamming around with unusual tunings. He mixes modern percussive fingerstyle technique and Flamenco music into his own playing. Pranshu also runs his own guitar website, Harmonyvine.com. Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, guitar amplifiers, fingerpicking, and percussive fingerstyle You can connect with Pranshu on LinkedIn or just email him.