Best Takamine G Series Guitars: Review & Buyer’s Guide
So, you’re looking for an acoustic guitar. Have you considered the Takamine G Series?
They’re high-performance and budget-friendly. The only problem is—which one?
There are many to pick from, it’s hard to know the good from the bad. Well, you’re in the right place.
In this article, you’ll find the best Takamine G Series guitars to suit your every need. Regardless of budget, playing ability, and style. There’ll be a Takamine G Series for you.
Let’s have a look.
Takamine is a premier Japanese acoustic guitar brand that produces stunning instruments at affordable prices.
What is Takamine G Series?
The Takamine G Series is a collection of affordable acoustic guitars. The G Series has a wide variety of models catering to every genre and budget. Whether it be dreadnought, classical, or a 12-string, the G Series covers it all. The commonality is they all have Takamine playability and durability.
The 10 Best Takamine G Series Guitars:
- Takamine G Series GN93CE NEX – Editor’s Choice
- Takamine G Series GD20 – Best for Beginners
- Takamine G Series GD30CE – Best Under $500
- Takamine G Series GN51CE NEX – Best for the Money
- Takamine G Series GD93CE – Best Dreadnought
- Takamine G Series GJ72CE – Best Jumbo
- Takamine G Series GC5CE – Best Classical Guitar
- Takamine G Series GY93 New Yorker Parlor – Best Thin Body
- Takamine G Series GF30CE FXC – Best Playability
- Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 – Best 12-String
Takamine G Series GN93CE NEX – Editor’s Choice
The Takamine GN93CE NEX acoustic-electric is a small-bodied acoustic electric guitar that will provide you with full-sized sound onstage and unplugged.
The Takamine GN93CE NEX is the deserving winner of Editors Pick. So why is it the cream of the G Series?
First, let’s talk about playability. Although this is a full-size acoustic, the body of the guitar is narrower than most. The narrow body allows for increased comfort and maneuverability.
You’ll play with freedom and the single-cutaway banishes further restrictions. Wherever you are on the fretboard, sweet out-of-the-box action is there to greet.
This is a guitar with the stage in mind. The compensated split saddle ensures it keeps its tune. Its tuning reliability is one less worry when eyes are on you.
Electric capabilities come courtesy of the TK40D preamp. This isn’t your bog-standard preamp. It’s rich in features that will help you along the way. There’s even a tuner on board!
With a three-band EQ, gain control, notch filter, and contour switch, you have options. You’ll need a basic knowledge of frequencies to get the most out of this feature. But if you know your 250Hz from your 5kHz, you’ll reap the rewards.
Ducking and diving the frequencies, you can find a tonality to suit. At its most primitive, without the preamp in play—the sound is clear and rich. The smaller body is at the detriment of a bit of weight, but make no doubt about it, it sounds stunning.
There are some unique visual features, the delicate red binding is eye-pleasing detail. The three-piece walnut and maple back is distinctive and unique to Takamine. The contrast in wood also helps serve up a true acoustic sound.
All this at an affordable price. When you consider the tonewoods, build quality, preamp, and sound—it’s a steal. For the gigging musician, this is the pinnacle of the G Series guitars.
- Single cutaway
- Tuning reliability
- TK40D Preamp with frequency controls and built-in tuner
- Materials list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, laurel fingerboard, three-piece walnut and maple back
- Lack of low-end
Takamine G Series GD20 – Best for Beginners
If you’re a beginner the GD20 is a perfect place to start.
The slim profile mahogany neck has a satin finish. It’s a comfortable experience which you’ll find easy on the hands.
Changing strings can be awkward and time-consuming for even the most seasoned pro. The GD20 has tried to make things a little painless with the pinless bridge.
It works a treat! No more popping pins and stuffing strings down holes. String maintenance has never been easier on an acoustic.
When starting, playing chords will be your first stop. This is where the GD20 guitar excels. Not only can you shape chords for hours on end without hand fatigue, but it also sounds amazing. As soon as you strum a chord, the warmth and sparkle will entice. There’ll be no looking back.
It’s an instrument that makes players fall in love with the guitar. With its timeless, dreadnought body shape, it looks classic.
The solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides hollers a warmth and rich tone. Mellow and solemn, it’s a vintage cedar topped dreadnought sound.
Saying it’s a beginner guitar could do it a disservice. It won’t sound out of place on a record of a singer-songwriter.
The short neck makes it a struggle to get higher than the 12th fret. So, for high barre chording and riffs, there will be better options.
This isn’t a guitar with bells and whistles. But don’t let that put you off. This guitar does simple things like a pro. So much so, its pleasures shouldn’t be restricted to beginners alone.
- Dreadnaught body
- Warm and rich sound
- Material list: Cedar top, ovangkol fingerboard, satin mahogany neck, and mahogany sides and back
- No access to high frets
Takamine G Series GD30CE – Best Under $500
Littered with affordable guitars, buying a G Series won’t break the bank. For under $500, the GD30CE should be on your radar.
The GD30CE has a classic dreadnaught shape with a single-cutaway to boot. The material list reads like an example of the archetypical prime guitar.
Solid spruce top, mahogany back, sides, and neck with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
These tonewoods go a long way to creating the depth, resonance, and sheen of tone. This acoustic guitar sounds how an acoustic should.
Playability is sweet. The satin neck allows for smooth movement. Whether it be shifting through chords or riffing on higher frets. Hand fatigue will be minimal.
This is an electro-acoustic model. Fitted with the TP4T, you can amplify the output. This is another Takamine preamp that pushes the boat out. Featuring gain knob, chromatic tuner, shelving EQ with bass, middle and treble sliders.
The preamp will deliver the rich tone of this acoustic. It’s good enough but is on the cheaper side of the Takamine preamp collection. If you’re seeking a more professional pre-amplification, look to the Editors Pick. The TP-4TD has two pickup elements as opposed to the TP-4Ts one.
Make no qualms about it. This guitar transcends playability and sound. But if you’re playing doesn’t need a cutaway—the beginner’s choice can save a few hundred bucks. The slight tonal differences won’t be audible to most.
This is a powerful-sounding, sweet-actioned acoustic that won’t disappoint. But it’ll be your budget that decides whether you opt to pay the extra for Editors Choice or less for the Beginners Pick.
- Satin neck playability
- Depth and weight of sound
- Single cutaway dreadnought
- Material list: Solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, mahogany back, sides, and neck
- Cheaper Takamine preamp
Takamine G Series GN51CE NEX – Best for the Money
Are you in search of a bargain? Then the Takamine GN51CE NEX offers value for money.
So why is it such a bargain?
For under $600, you’re getting top construction. This guitar stands as a trophy of Takamine excellence in craftsmanship. It’ll be a mainstay in your collection for years to come.
The solid spruce top with black walnut back and sides makes up the body. It’s jumbo, but small in depth. The ‘small jumbo’ body is comfortable for all but should interest any players with a smaller build.
The spruce top offers a lot of sounds that transcend usage applications. With light fingerpicking, it’ll sing and sparkle. Yet with heavier strumming, it’ll roar with authority.
The rich tone translates through the Takamine TP-4TD preamp. This preamp maintains the natural sound and offers the controls for tone shaping.
If you wanted the TP-4TD alone, you’re talking approx $150. So, all things considered, you’re getting value with this buy.
For under $600, there are going to be pitfalls. To get the most out of this guitar, upgrade the cheap hardware. The bridge pins are plastic and there are better tuners available.
Balancing intricate sound, playability, craftsmanship, and affordability is an arduous task. This Takamine offers all this, meaning you’re getting bang for your buck.
- Small jumbo body
- Takamine’s TP-4TD
- Takamine build quality
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, laurel fingerboard. black walnut back and sides.
- Some cheap hardware (plastic bridge pins)
Takamine G Series GD93CE – Best Dreadnought
Since Martin pioneered the dreadnought in the early 20th Century, it’s not looked back.
So what’s a dreadnought?
This is a style of acoustic guitar and is one of the most recognizable. Conjure up an image of an acoustic. The chances are you’re imagining a dreadnaught.
The design created by Christian Frederick Martin in 1916, Pennsylvania—remains the go-to. To this day, the dreadnought is one of the most popular guitars around the globe.
Why fix something that isn’t broken? After all, they’re easy on the eye with symmetrical curves. The shape also serves a purpose in sound. You can expect a rich tone and booming projection.
The Takamine GN51CE NEX is everything you’d hope for from a dreadnought. With its beautiful shape and single cutaway, it looks alluring.
An interesting fact, the name dreadnought comes from the battleship HMS Dreadnought. So what could a battleship and guitar have in common? That’ll be its larger size and bold sound.
The GN51CE NEX lives up to the dreadnought name with a powerful sound. Its distinctive clarity and resonant tone make it a joy to behold. It projects with the unmistakable loudness of a dreadnought.
While some hardware might not be up to your standards. The plastic bridge saddle for one. This guitar is a professional pick for sound and playability.
The Takamine GN51CE NEX is a versatile interpretation of the dreadnought. Adaptable enough to stand strong in any genre.
- Volume and projection
- Clarity and definition in tone
- Single cutaway dreadnought
- Takamine TK-40D preamp including a built-in tuner
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, laurel fingerboard, black walnut, maple back and sides
- Cheap plastic bridge saddle
Takamine G Series GJ72CE – Best Jumbo
You’ve seen the dreadnought—now let’s have a look at the G Series take on a jumbo.
Jumbos came onto the scene a little later than dreadnoughts. It was the Gibson Super Jumbo, released in 1937 that introduced the world to the qualities of a jumbo body.
Jumbo-bodied guitars offer something a little different to dreadnoughts. Beyond the obvious bigger body, they’re well rounded in the low end. Their characteristic makes them a strong backbone to a track and perfect for rhythm.
The science is quite simple. A bigger body means extra wood and increased room for the sound to reverberate. This big sound can’t come from a smaller bodied guitar.
Noel Gallagher and Bob Dylan are two artists that use a jumbo body acoustic. Taking Noel Gallagher as an example. The chords he plays on the jumbo compliment a twangy lead. It’s a tried and tested combo that never tires.
The GJ72CE-NAT is a fantastic way to deliver your chords. Capable of holding its own on stage or in a studio capacity, the jumbo body gives a load of volume.
The spruce top with the maple back and sides balances the tone. You can expect shimmering highs and balanced mid frequencies.
Some are wary of jumbo guitars. This is a common concern because of their sheer size. If you’re new, it can take you by surprise, but if you can handle it, you’ll reap the rewards.
Leading jumbo guitars like the Gibson can cost approx $3,000. So considering the price of the GJ72CE-NAT, it’ll entice. While it won’t compete with a Gibson, it’s in a similar price bracket to an Epiphone Jumbo. And here lies the competition.
It’s all down to brand preference. But what you’ll get with this guitar is an iconic jumbo tone that won’t sound out of place on a professional recording. Combined with playability that won’t cause hand fatigue, the GJ72CE-NAT is a hit.
- Tonal depth and balance
- Single cutaway jumbo body
- Slim mahogany neck playability
- Takamine TK-40D preamp including a built-in tuner
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard flame maple back and sides
- Body too big for players with a slighter build
Takamine G Series GC5CE – Best Classical Guitar
Classical guitars are a misunderstood breed, conjuring up images of thrift store finds. We often consider them as first guitars because of their smaller dimensions.
Truth is, in the right hands, they can amaze with unique coloration. The purity of sound is sheer beauty.
With origins in Spain, we often associate them with flamenco music. Their qualities are broad and we shouldn’t restrict their usage. Hence why we’re hearing their quality in some modern music.
You’re unlikely to find a Takamine GC5CE in a thrift store. If you ever do, act calm, make the transaction quick and get out of the store because you’ve struck gold.
The GC5CE is a guitar that embodies the beauty of a nylon string classical guitar.
Its shape is enchanting. The smooth Venetian cutaway is pretty but also provides access to upper registers.
The rosette detail surrounding the soundhole, the gold die-cast tuners with pearl buttons—everywhere you look it’ll entice.
So how does it play? Classical guitars have wider fretboards compared to steel-string guitars. The GC5CE is no different. This is a feature of all classics, so it isn’t a stain on this guitar. More so a heads up of what to expect.
Another word of warning, changing the nylon strings on a classical guitar is difficult. If you’re new to this, it’s anything but straightforward.
The GC5CE is a smooth player with a comfortable mahogany neck and laurel fingerboard. If you’re used to steel strings. You might have a pleasant surprise. A benefit of nylon strings is that they’re softer and don’t butcher the fingers.
If you’re in search of a classical guitar, the GC5CE is an instrument that’s underpriced. A beautiful warm-bodied sound, whether acoustic or plugged in.
For the trained classical player or the inquisitive genre-pushing guitarist. The GC5CE will offer all-around joy.
- Warm bodied tone
- Nylon string classical guitar
- Rosette detailing around the soundhole
- Venetian cutaway body look and practicality
- Material list: Spruce top, mahogany neck, laurel fingerboard black walnut back and sides
- Out of the box action can vary
Takamine G Series GY93 New Yorker Parlor – Best Thin Body
For anyone with a slighter build, the Takamine GY93 should be a consideration.
This is a parlor acoustic. A parlor is one of the smaller body sizes you can buy. The shrunken body shape is once again the fruits of the work of CF Martin. Like the dreadnought, the parlor has stood the test of time.
The narrower and smaller body joins the neck at around the 12th fret. While some may find parlor guitars cramped, others find it less intrusive. Playing the GY93 isn’t a physically demanding experience.
The smaller size also has portability benefits. Sling it in a hard case and you’re ready for the road. Traveling is much easier with a parlor than a jumbo.
Being though this guitar will appeal to the traveler, it’s a shame that it doesn’t include a case. So factor this into your budget if you’re hoping for the GY93 to be your travel companion.
What not to expect is bass projection. The lack of low end is apparent, but considering its size, this is no surprise.
The Takamine GY93 New Yorker does the parlor justice. What you can expect is a travel-sized acoustic with superb definition. It excels in high-end crispness.
For softer genres like folk and indie, this guitar will sound at home. With its brilliance in the upper frequencies chords will shine like a true parlor.
The Takamine GY93 is a parlor that would appease beginners and intermediates alike. But its qualities also lend it to studio use. A nice option to have for brighter coloration of strumming and fingerpicking.
Considering the price range, the build quality is top stock. And the sound of the GY93 New Yorker? Its sparkling brightness is worthy of a place on the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.
- Build quality
- Parlor body guitar
- Sparkling, defined, and bright tone
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, rosewood, and maple back and sides
- Lack of bass projection
Read Also: The Best Thin Body Acoustic Guitars
Takamine G Series GF30CE FXC – Best Playability
One of the prominent features of guitars in the G Series is their playability across the board. But none play quite like the Takamine GF30CE. It takes playability to the extreme!
So let’s have a look at what makes it such a comfortable guitar.
This is a grand concert body-shaped guitar. It’s a small body that’s become renowned for convenience.
The GF30CE also has a shorter scale length, so is on the easier side to play. For smaller hands or younger musicians who play fingerpicking and strumming—this is ideal.
This guitar also delivers a well-balanced mid-range tone. It’s a tone that’s versatile throughout musical genres.
Concert guitars are tight and focused. The GF30CE is a prime example of the precision of a concert guitar. The control and focus will make it a record producer’s dream in recording scenarios.
This guitar’s sound and playability are enough to warrant your consideration. The durability of this guitar has come under scrutiny. Some users report out-of-the-box defects.
But playability alone gives you bang for your buck. While the GF30CE is one for the players who consider comfort above anything else. It doesn’t lack sound quality.
- Rich and tight focused tone
- TP-4TD preamp with built-in tuner
- Single cutaway concert body guitar
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, mahogany back and sides
- Hit and miss craftsmanship
Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 – Best 12-String
If you’re a pro musician or someone who’s proactive recording. A 12-string acoustic is another feather in your cap.
You might not use it for every song, but it will thrive in certain scenarios. Adding thickness and jangle that you can’t get from a standard, it’s the ultimate studio tool.
The Takamine GD30CE-12 could have you stepping with caution. At such an affordable price, how does it hold up?
See, cheap 12-strings guitar can come at the detriment of playability. With more strings, action can suffer, and shaping up a barre chord can seem like an arduous task.
The GD30CE-12 has the performance of a studio instrument. Its capabilities and playability go beyond its price bracket. Out of the box, the action is noble and there will be no such issues playing barre chords.
The neck profile is slim and manageable considering it accommodates 12 strings. It’s a welcome feature that won’t be a huge transition from playing a 6 string.
This guitar is an example of Chinese-built guitars executed well. It has the price benefits of a Chinese-made guitar, but there aren’t many noticeable faults.
Complete with the TP-4TD preamp you have plug-in access. A slight complaint is with the built-in tuner. While tuning is good, it has a power-off feature. This is ideal for not draining the battery, but tuning a 12-string takes twice as long. So it often powers down during the process.
This might pose an issue if you’re taking this on the stage. A good way to combat this would be to run it through a stompbox chromatic tuner.
You’re getting value for money with the GD30CE-12. It’s a great opportunity to add a quality 12-string to your armory at an affordable price.
You’ll save well-earned dollars and own a great-sounding guitar. A 12-string that won’t destroy your hands and will be in your collection for years to come.
- Jangling 12-string tone
- Out of the box low action
- Single cutaway dreadnought body
- 12-string guitar at an affordable price
- Material list: Solid spruce top, mahogany neck, ovangkol fingerboard, mahogany back and sides
- Tuner not calibrated for tuning 12-strings.
Takamine G Series Vs Pro Series: What’s the Difference?
All G Series guitars in this article are sub $700. A guitar from the Takamine Pro Series will cost you at least double. So why the jump in price?
This is the million-dollar question. For further reading check out: Cheap Vs Expensive Guitars: What’s the Difference?
This will give a deeper understanding of the difference between the G Series and the Pro Series.
A snapshot of some fundamental differences between the G Series and Pro Series are below:
- Country of manufacture
- Pickup quality
- Hardware quality
How to Choose The Best Takamine G Series (Buyer’s Guide)
Type of Wood
The glorious sound of an acoustic comes from top tonewood. All G Series model guitars use a great selection of woods. So wood shouldn’t be an issue on your search.
With exception of the GD20, which has a cedar top, they all have a solid spruce top.
Spruce is a common wood used in acoustics. This is because it offers a clear, balanced sound. Whereas cedar tops are darker and fuller.
Mahogany is a go-to for necks because of its durability. On top of the neck is the fingerboard, this is often overlooked. Here are some qualities of each wood placed on the G Series fingerboard.
- Rosewood: With added treble, the use of rosewood on the fingerboard goes back centuries. It’s soft on the fingertips but can withstand frequent playing.
- Ovangkol: This is a tropical cousin of rosewood sharing similar qualities. It’s a middle ground between the warmth of rosewood and the brightness of maple.
- Laurel: Fender is a manufacturer phasing out rosewood in favor of laurel. With a smooth frequency response, it’s also gentle to touch.
While these are top fingerboard material. You may notice premium guitars use maple and ebony fingerboards. These are the next level. Maple has a biting quality that can cut through a mix.
Ebony is the pinnacle of fingerboard tonewoods. Its qualities are in its sustain, responsiveness, and fast touch.
Premium Japanese manufactured Takamine Guitars will be of the highest quality. Manufactured in China and Korea, the G Series is an affordable alternative.
While you may not be getting premium quality, the G Series offers value for money. Considering the cost, the construction is on point.
The safest way to protect yourself against poor out-of-the-box build quality is to buy from a reputable site. Sweetwater has an excellent return policy so you can send it back if you’re unhappy.
A top way to whittle down your options is to think of features. Acoustics are less feature-rich than electric guitars, but there’s still plenty to consider.
Do you want nylon string or steel? They both differ in sound and the genre of music will help decide which is more suited. For the ultimate jangle, a guitar featuring 12-strings will be perfect.
For live scenarios, a pickup is beneficial. These can vary in quality. Concerning this article, the TK40D is the top performer and will give you the best live acoustic sound.
If you want tonal authority, look for pickups with EQ controls. This will help you sculpt your acoustic tone.
Other features to consider include a cutaway body. If you’re a lead guitarist, for increased playability on higher frets, you’ll need a cutaway.
Hardware is an area that manufacturers can keep costs down. If the quality of tuning pegs or bridge isn’t as you’d hoped. You can look to replace them using a pro guitar tech.
You’ll read a lot about playability when reading guitar reviews. Let’s be straight to the point—it’s all about comfort. If you’re comfortable playing the guitar, you’ll experience less hand fatigue. This is better playability.
Playability will depend on the player. What some might find comfortable others may not.
Some factors that will contribute to playability include:
- Action – This refers to the distance between the frets and strings. A sweet action is a smaller distance, making it easier to hold a note or play a chord.
- Neck shape – The neck profile can be C, U, or V-shaped. This is the shape of the back of the neck. Other things to consider are neck width and depth. Smaller necks are better for players with smaller hands and can be faster. But don’t discount larger necks. they’re robust and will be less delicate.
- Body shapes – Different players will have favorite body shapes and sizes. Read more about body shapes in the section below.
- Weight – Guitars can be heavy. If you’re unaccustomed to a weighty guitar on your shoulder, it can take its toll. Smaller bodies are more lightweight. These can be more comfortable if playing for long periods.
The beauty of the G Series is that there’s a guitar to suit anyone. From classical to dreadnought to jumbo and everything between. There’s a body style to suit all tastes and genres.
Each shape will offer different tonal qualities. If you want a deep sound, look for bigger bodies like a jumbo. Shallower bodies have more sparkle.
Also, consider your build. If you’re slight, a smaller body guitar will have increased maneuverability improving playability.
Let’s not forget the look. If you’re planning to go on stage or record YouTube videos. You’ll want it to look cool. If you find a guitar easy on the eye, that’s pleasant to play with a sound that kills it—that’s the one.
Price is the biggest determining factor when on the quest for a guitar. We’d all love a premium Taylor, Martin, or Gibson acoustic in our collection. But you need disposable income—and lots of it!
It can dishearten thinking your creativity is unaffordable. This is where the G Series comes into play. Whatever your budget, there’s a guitar for you.
All prices of the listed guitars are below $700. How little or much you spend on a G Series will depend on your budget and also application. The Beginners Pick is under $400 but sounds amazing! So don’t let price restrict your playing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Takamine G Series any good?
Created with affordability in mind, there’s a Takamine G Series guitar for you. There’s a mixture of shapes and sizes regardless of budget. Considering the price, they’re great guitars. Often the price does them an injustice. They’re performance-ready with durability and playability to boot.
How much is a Takamine G Series worth?
All Takamine G Series guitars in this article are affordable. They’re the jewels in the crown of the G Series. These G Series are worth more than the price tag suggests. Considering tonewoods, sound, playability, and craftsmanship, they could retail at more.
Where are Takamine G Series guitars made?
The manufacturing country of the Takamine G Series varies from model to model. G Series guitars are products born in either their Korean or Chinese factory. Higher spec Takamine Guitars like the Pro Series are stock from the Japanese factory.