Takamine G Series Review | Great Beginner Guitar?

Review of the Takamine Guitar

Founded in 1962 in Japan, Takamine has become one of the most well-known acoustic guitars all across the world. Over the years their guitars have been played by the likes of Garth Brooks, Tommy Emmanuel and Bruno Mars among many others.

Ever time I walk into a guitar store I know without a doubt that there will be Takamine guitars hanging on the wall for me to play. And I love to play them (well, I love to play pretty much any guitar).

Takamine produces many lines of acoustic guitars, but by far one of the most popular lines is the Takamine G Series. Ranging from $200-$900 with a variety of different styles and sounds, there’s bound to be one that fits your needs – whether you’re a beginner guitarist or a seasoned player.

Understanding the Takamine G Series

Each guitar manufacturer has their own “code” for naming their guitars, so as I dive into the Takamine G Series I want to first take a look at how they classify their guitar.

Takamine GF30CE-BSB a great beginner acoustic guitarI’m going to use the Takamine GF30CE-BSB as an example (see the picture to the right). All of those numbers seems confusing at first but they all have significant meaning.

  • GF30CE-BSB: The “G” here refers to the G series. The Takamine G Series of guitars is its most basic series (which does not mean it’s cheapest).
  • GF30CE-BSB: The “F” in this case refers to the body style. Takamine has a Dreadnaught (D), FXC (F) which is similar to concert style and NEX (N) which closely resembles a jumbo body.
  • GF30CE-BSB: The “30” number here refers to the specific G series – in this case “G30” series. Takamine has a G10 through G90 series, with the price and quality going higher as the number goes higher.
  • GF30CE-BSB: The “C” here refers to whether or not the guitar has a cutaway. If there is no cutaway the C will not be present.
  • GF30CE-BSB: The “E” here refers to whether or not the guitar has on-board electronics. If not, no E will be present.
  • GF30CE-BSB: The “BSB” is the color/finish, which in this case is Sunburst (BSB). They also have Natural (NAT), Black (BLK) and Natural Satin (NS).

There’s also a Takamine 12-string guitar, and you’ll find that number before the color/finish (for example, the Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT)

A Takamine G Series Review

It’s difficult to do an entire Takamine G Series review because it includes such a wide range of guitars, but for the sake of a person looking to buy a beginner guitar, I want to look at the options that the G Series provides.

So let’s say, for example, that you’re wanting to buy a new beginner acoustic guitar for under $300 but you don’t want to sacrifice too much quality. What are your options?

Takamine G30 Series

At the top of your price range is the Takamine G30 Series.

These guitars have a solid spruce top, which is both common and exactly what you want, along with laminate mahogany back and sides.

All of the Takamine guitars under $300 will have laminate back and sides, but the fact that the 30 series has a solid top is an incredible advantage.

You may not be able to hear it at first, but the difference between solid and laminate guitar top is huge.

There are a few great guitars worth considering in the G30 series, including the black Takamine GD30-BLK, the natural Takamine GD30CE-NAT (pricier because of the electronics and cutaway) as well as the Takamine GF30CE-BSB which again, is pricey because of the color and electronics.

If you’ve been playing guitar for a few years and want to upgrade from the ultra-cheap beginner guitar you had earlier, these G30 guitars (or higher!) are a great option.

Takamine G20 Series

The next step down from the G30 Series is the G20 Series (who would have guessed!?).

What’s great about this series is that it’s priced less than the G30 and yet you still get a solid top (which will improve the sound of the guitar).

Instead of a spruce top, however, these guitars come with a solid cedar top.

It’s also a simple series since it only has two guitars – the Takamine GD20-NS and the Takamine GN20-NS. The only difference is the shape of the body – everything else is the same, including the price of the guitar.

Takamine G10 Series

Last, but not least, is the Takamine G10 series. It’s the most affordable guitar that Takamine makes and is a good option if you’re not ready to drop a few hundred dollars on a first guitar.

Again, there are only two guitars in this series, the Takamine GD10-NS and the Takamine GD10CE-NS. If you must have electronics on your guitar to plug it in, you’ll have to spring for the latter, more expensive version.

The reason the G10 series is much more affordable is because instead of having a solid top, it has a laminate spruce top. That’s not a terrible thing – in fact, most beginner guitarist won’t hear the difference.

You’re still going to get a great sound out of the guitar, but it’s definitely a beginner acoustic guitar – it’s thinner, it has a pin-less bridge, and it’s all laminate wood.

A Summary of Thoughts on Takamine G Series

People who own Takamine’s love them. Just ask one! The best Takamine G Series reviews come from those who have owned them for years. They stand up well under heavy use and last forever.

And to top it off, they have an option for pretty much any and every style that you might want. You need electronics? They have one. Prefer a cutaway? No problem. Fancy a sunburst color? They do that too.

All in all, Takamine is a great guitar and you won’t be disappointed whether you’re a beginner guitarist or you’ve been playing for years. You won’t regret adding one to your collection!

Want to hear for yourself? Check out the review video below:

 

51 Responses to Takamine G Series Review | Great Beginner Guitar?

  1. Asif says:

    Hey Kindly suggest me a guitar out of these Takamine GD30-BLK G, Takamine EG440C QMT Acoustic-Electric Guitar with TP-4T Pick Up – Trans Red, Takamine EG361SC Acoustic-Electric Guitar w/Cutaway Ash TP-4T Pick Up, or any other which would be better for me, i have been playing for 1 yr, but only chords, wanna play notes, so looking for a guitar which is easy on my fingers, and low action,

    • KevinWI says:

      I bought a GN51CE then upgraded the tuners with Grovers, changed the nut and bridge pins with TUSQ,and replaced the proprietary piezo pickup/saddle combo. Cost about $120
      This brought it up to an intermediate level guitar. Takamine does wonders with their bodies and necks. Their hardware leaves much to be desired.
      For a beginners guitar, look at Yamaha, Fender, Epiphones and Ovations. Epi, Yamaha and Fender have better support than Takamine also.

  2. Jeff vonn says:

    which takamine is the best for sound and low action easy on the fingers ,where you don’t have to grip the neck so hard,,either non eletric ,or eletric ,thanks

    • Darren says:

      Jeff, almost any Takamine 30 series and up, will be what you are looking for. The 10/15/20 are really low budget , beginner guitars, and you get what you pay for.

  3. Lee Yi-Pern says:

    Hi, I’m planning to get my second guitar and I’m thinking whether I should take the G70 or G50 series? Any suggestions?

    • Josh Summers says:

      Hi Lee, they’re both great guitar models and you can’t go wrong either way. I think you might be asking the wrong question, though. Instead of asking for other people’s suggestions, you’re better off figuring out what you want/need and determining which of those guitars best fits that need. That way you get what YOU want!

    • Darren says:

      I will use the GD51CE-NAT and the GD71CE-NAT for comparison. The biggest difference between the 2 is the amp. The 70 is slightly higher price, but realistically both are around the $550 CDN mark.

  4. David J. Jones says:

    I really appreciate your reviews and insights. I have a Takamine Jasmine PS 31C, which, despite its low price has a remarkably nice action and neck and I wondered if the neck width on the Takamine GD30ce is similar to that on my Jasmine.I play mainly chord/melody standards and fully utilize the entire neck, by the way, so that’s important for me.
    Thanks for any information you can provide !

    • Darren says:

      The nut width on the 30 is 1.6875″ (42.8 mm) so you can measure yours and compare. Though I must say that I have never heard of a Jasmine PS 31 c.

      As far as the neck being similar wood wise, no. Most of the Jasmine guitars use Nato necks.

  5. johan says:

    Hi, nice post!
    I’m planing to get my first acustic guitar, since I’m a beginner, only 1 year of experience,I like to play most rocknroll, blues and some funk music. I believe that the G20 (natural) could be a good option, also I don’t want to spend more than 300 dolars. What do you think ?

    tks.

  6. Darren says:

    The GD20 is a good beginner guitar. Solid cedar top with mahogany back and sides. No electronics and no cutaway, so think about that for the future.

    I know for fact that I can buy a GD30 for $379 and a GD30CE for $529. Thats $280 US and $380 US

    Thats from Bestbuy, so I am not sure if you have a bestbuy near you.

    • johan says:

      Tks for your reply!
      I already bought the G20 🙂 In a few days I’ll have it.
      Tks

      • Darren says:

        Thats great Johan. You should be very happy. Hope this is the beginning of a long guitar playing life, and your first of many Takamines.

  7. Frank Smith says:

    Read your thread with great interest and in total agreement. I bought a pre-owned Takamine G Series and it is brilliant. It’s the EG54C NEX model with electrics and the serial number is 3415886. The finish is flame maple charcoal. Trouble is I have absolutely no idea of it’s age. Emails to Takamine remain unanswered. Can anybody out there help?

    • Darren says:

      The problem is the G series , made in china, have a different serial number set up. Made in Japan and Japan only Takamine can be easily decoded. Which email did you send your question to ?

      There are the old emails, the new ones that go to ESP and the direct emails to Japan.

      I will pass along your serial number to ESP and see if they cant find an answer for you.

    • Darren says:

      When I was sending the email I realized you may have gotten the model number wrong. I have never heard of an EG54C. I am guessing you meant EG540C. If there is anything else at the end or this is it, please let me know.

      • javier says:

        Hey Darren, what do you think about GD30CE? I am not really a beginner and I am looking for a nice sound guitar, I checked this out a I think it is a good option.

  8. javier says:

    do you think it is a big difference on sound between 30 to 50 Gseries?

  9. javier says:

    do you think it is a big difference on sound between 30 to 50 Gseries??

    • Darren says:

      Not a really big difference, but its still there. Subtle. As I said before, the 30 G series is a good guitar. For just a few dollars more you can step up to a 50 series. By a few I mean around $30. For that you get Rosewood back and sides instead of mahogany. Nothing wrong with mahogany, but rosewood is just a little sweeter.

      GD30CE-NAT runs right around $400USD while the GD51CE-NAT is around $430.

      For $500USD you can get the GD71CE-NAT which is a bigger step up especially for the electronics.

      All in all, the 30 is a great guitar. You just decide if you want to spend the extra $$$ to step up.

  10. Wil says:

    There is a Takamine g332 for sale in.the paper. Like new condition. What do you think is a fair price?

  11. Hao says:

    I’m deciding between gd51ce (d body) and gn51ce (nex body). Can someone give me some advice? Also, how is the action?

    • Darren says:

      This will depend on your personal preference. Most Takamine come with a nice setup from the factory with very comfortable action.

  12. Blair says:

    Just curious if there if either the G20 and G30 series guitars are easier to play than the other (i.e. action)? Are these mainly low action guitars suitable for beginners?

    Also is there a difference sound wise or play-ability wise unplugged between the G30 and G30CE guitars? thx

    • Darren says:

      The G20 is not a bad guitar, but it is not up to par with the G30. They are definitely beginner guitars, but you must understand that they are lower end guitars. This means you can get one that isnt set up 100% properly. Thankfully the cost is cheap to have a local shop do a set up, if its needed.

      If you have super hearing, yes the 2 guitars will have a subtle difference. The guitar without electronics also doesnt have a cutaway so it can produce a fuller sound. CAN produce a fuller sound. Rarely on newer guitars have I seen,/heard, a big difference in sound. That is much later after the wood has become seasoned.

      On the other hand, you are also giving up the chance to go electric, and what made Takamine famous was their electronics.

  13. […] Takamine G260C-BSB – it’s an unnecessarily long name, but a good guitar […]

  14. Urban Monk says:

    Hi Darren, Please advise which one is better to start with as beginner. between Takamine EG341SC, Takamine EG531SC, Washburn D10SB and Washburn D10SEC. How durable they can be? I didn’t try any of those though 🙂

    • Darren says:

      Hi Monk. Let me first say that I am not an expert in Washburn guitars. I like them, I own a few, but to me they are no comparison to Takamine.

      Ok, I own both of these Takamine you mentioned. Now the EG341SC is an excellent guitar. Dont confuse it with the EF341SC. The EG531SC, if you can find it, is superb. This will take you well past beginner stage, right to professional. It has a solid spruce top and a solid sapele back and sapele sides. Finding 1 is a bit tricky but the prices are usually quite fair.

      Durability ? Well, I havent work one out yet, so I’d say it was pretty good.

  15. Scott says:

    Hi Darren, I’m considering buying an EG523SCB12. Do you have any thoughts on this guitar? I have a 12 string Jasmine ES512. Had it for about 18 years. For a laminated top it’s a got a great sound, but a major belly in the top near the bridge has made the action near unplayable. Not sure it’s worth paying to fix it. The fella wants $600 Australian for the Takamine. Great reviews, thanks mate!

    • Darren says:

      Hi Scott. First let me say, I am not familiar with the EG523SCB-12. I didnt know they made one. Very cool. They are all pretty much the same. You get a solid spruce top with flamed maple back and sides. I have en EG523SC and I also have the EG523CDX-HB which is the same guitar but with a 3 piece quilted maple back. Hands down, these are fantastic guitars. You wont be disappointed.

      Are you in Australia ? Thats around $450USD, which is an excellent price for this guitar, but a long way to ship if you are in the states.

      Sorry to hear about the Jasmine. This is what will happen over time with a laminate top, even the ones made by Takamine. A good luthier should be able to rebrace the top then just tune it a full step down and use a capo to get the sound you want.
      While its being repaired, you can be playing your new EG523SCB-12 , and wondering how you ever managed without it.

  16. Jamie says:

    Can you get takamine gd71ce in left hand

  17. Schieftain says:

    I’ve been reading about the Tak GD51, but trying to get more info on the woods. Do you know what kind of spruce they use for the top? And is it safe to say that the sides are laminate since they don’t list them as solid Rosewood?

  18. Steve says:

    Hi Guys.
    I’m looking at a Pre owned Takamine John Jorgenson series. Made in Japan. The price is $825/+
    I used a Yamaha FGX720SC and sold it to upgrade. I’m confused between Taylor and Takamine. What would be your advise and opinion. I use the guitar on amplified so requires a good pick-up.
    Really appreciate if someone can guide me

    • Darren says:

      So who has better electronics than Takamine ? Takamine first became infamous for cloning Martin guitars, and producing a better quality guitar at 1/3 to 1/2 the price. Then in the 70’s they became famous for having the best electronics in an acoustic guitar. Period.

      Find a Taylor you really like. Now find a Takamine for the same price. The Taylor shouldnt stand a chance. Not as overpriced as Martin but still expensive, I havent found a Takamine that couldnt surpass the competition when the dollar values are close.

      $825 is a good price for a JJ, as long as its still in excellent workimg prder.

  19. Omar says:

    At the official site of Takamine (nov 2016), the model GF15CE-NAT is offered with solid spruce top (“This compact FXC body style lends extra balance and comfort to this value-packed model. The solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood finger board and versatile TP-4T preamp make the GF15CE-NAT the perfect choice for beginners or anyone in search of a great acoustic-electric at a modest price.”). Is it a mistake in the description or were they laminated back years?

    • Darren says:

      There was no GF15CE years back, unless you mean 1 or 2 years.

      I will say that it is definitely a mistake in the description. In the specs it simply says spruce top, which implies laminate.

      I know the 30 series have solid tops. I have heard the 20 series do too, but I havent played one to confirm.

  20. Omar says:

    What about the GF15CE-NAT (http://www.takamine.com/GF15CE-NAT)?. They claim that it has a solid spruce top.

  21. Element3 says:

    Hi Darren, I have read the entire thread looking for a response regarding the action on the GD30CE-NAT. There is one that is close but did not quite satisfied the answer that I am looking for. I am a drummer but is teaching myself to play the guitar, I initially purchased a $300 Yamaha, was not happy with the action and the electronics so I returned it and ordered the GD30CE online, meaning I didn’t get to try the action and the sound quality. How is the action on this model and is this guitar suitable for a beginner? thanks in advance.

    • Darren says:

      The action is generally very nice. Usually down around 3/32nd but remember that they are a massed produced guitar. They are held to a high standard, but can be higher. Anyway, every one that I have seen has been ideal.

      Pretty sure the $300 Yamaha doesnt have a solid top, let alone half the quality of a Takamine. From there I can tell you that a GD30CE is not only a great beginner guitar, its quite simply a great guitar. The electronics themselves are what made Takamine famous. You will not be disappointed.

  22. R Mackert says:

    Takamine GD11M review.

    This past weekend I was having my car repaired and had a few hours to kill so I walked across the street to a mom and pop music store and looked around. I personally own a Takamine jumbo that I have lent to my youngest son and other makes, so I have some experience with them. When I walked in I saw, as expected, a wall full of lower tier electrics and acoustics hanging on the wall. I asked the shop keep if I could play a few. I made my way around on several until I picked the GD11M (D for dreadnaught, M is for mahogany). I was astounded. It was the best playing, smoothest guitar I have played in a long time regardless of price. It’s the low end of the G series. The point is “I FOUND THE ONE”. You know, the “ONE” that when you first put your fingers on the fret board, all is good in life. It felt good, sounded unique (mahogany is not as pronounced or loud. I like that quality or deficiency as some may call it) and was priced very good. It’s not to say they are all like this one. I also picked up it’s counterpart (another G series (C stands for cutaway) and electronics and was not impressed. I have had this feeling about 3 times in the past 30 years. Once with a Rickenbacker 4001 bass (yes, I am a bassist), once with the original early 80’s Japanese Squire Strat (I am also an ok guitarist) and also with a 1983 Precision bass. Long story short…I did not need this guitar. I have a Breedlove that I am satisfied with so I purchased the GD11M as a Christmas gift for my eldest son. This inexpensive, good playing deserves to be in the family.

    • Darren says:

      Well done Sir. I havent played the lower end G series much, but this guitar would be very similar to an F349 I own. At the time it was made it would have been a mid range, high end Takamine F series made in Japan. The all mahogany body creates some very wonderful, softer tones.

      A Takamine, and the gift of music, always makes a great Christmas present.

      • Roy Mackert says:

        Oh yes! The F349 Martin lawsuit model wasn’t it? That’s when I first look at Takamine. They were pretty new to the US and I remember looking at one of their brochures of a little ole Japanese craftswoman laboriously working on a guitar. It was a great piece of literature. If I ever have the desire to purchase another I may go for an old used one.

  23. Darren says:

    Yes, it was most definitely a lawsuit model.

    Recently I purchased a GD93CE, I believe in Sept or Oct, and I completely fell in love with it. For many people, the older models are overlooked, as are the lower end models. As you said, there is always a “the one”. Sadly for me, Takamine made MANY “the ones”, and I am attempting to own them all.

    • R Mackert says:

      I am temporally living on the west coast for work so next week when I fly home for Christmas my son’s present, the GD11M, should be there waiting for him….me! I can’t wait to play it again. I can’t say this more urgently that folks looking for goo, inexpensive acoustics should really look at those Takamine G Series. The manufacturing techniques have made the mass production quality practically an even playing field but YOU HAVE TO PLAY THEM to get the feel that talks to you. Something that is impossible buying by purchasing on the internet stores. Play a bunch of them at music stores and you may find “the one”.
      Yes, guitar playing and purchasing is an addiction. I too, love the Takamines and would love to pick up an older “law suit” model. I believe one of my worst purchases was a 1983 collectors edition Ovation shallow bowl. In the store my buddy bought the 84 and I the 83 cut away style. I was in love with it but over a period of time I fell out of love. It was a very nicely constructed piece of work but even with the sandpaper like thingy for the lap area for sitting it would always roll out a bit from me. The sound, because of the injected molded plastic body always sounded just a bit strange. It was a rather rigid feeling guitar much like the coined term for a woman lol! At first, being in the electromechanical career field, I thought this was very, very cool and loved the idea of applying new material and techniques to design and manufacturing. NUP! Wood, wood, wood, is the only material to build a guitar. In a super players hands it was impressive though. I sold it a few years ago, actually losing money! It was supposed to have increased in price because of the “collectors’ edition” status haha! The most fun guitar I have purchased was a 1965 student model Gibson. I think it was the B-45. The only down side to that was non perfect intonation and naturally cheap tuners. It was easy to play of course and had that mahogany sound. I sold it too a few years ago and profited.

  24. […] That guitar – along with many others now in Takamine’s “archive” – has since been replaced by the newer, better line of Takamine G series guitars. […]

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