Every now and then, a guitar manufacturer seems to go under the radar of many people’s consciousness. Takamine is one of those companies.
Not as widely known as some of their competitors, they produce guitars of exquisite quality. And when a world-renowned guitar player could have played Gibson, Taylor, or Martin acoustics but instead chose Takamine, there is a clue. They are not bad at all, to put it mildly.
So who was it, you may ask?
More on that guitarist in a minute. But, he wasn’t alone, though as Ry Cooder, John Jorgensen, and Jackson Browne all played Takamine as well.
Founded in 1962 in Japan, at the foot of the Takamine mountains, they grew quickly. But not so fast that they could not retain their distinct qualities. Producing both 6 and 12 string guitars, the Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitars are a force to be reckoned with.
They have had flirtations with some solid body electric guitars in the 80s as well. But it is for their huge Dreadnought 6 and 12 string instruments they are renowned.
They also followed in the path of Ibanez by having a US manufacturer throw their toys out of the pram and sue them. With Ibanez, it was Gibson with Takamine, it was Martin. They didn’t like the Takamine logo. Oh, dear- tragedy. It never went to court.
Today they still produce great guitars; we know from practical experience. So let’s have a look at three of their fabled 12-strings. Oh, and other than Ry Cooder, John Jorgensen, and Jackson Browne?
When your multi-million-dollar sound relies in part on its acoustic guitar, it had better be right. Glenn Frey of the Eagles chose Takamine. If he chose it and Henley and Azoff agreed, it means it must be ok.
Top 3 Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitars On The Market Reviews
1 Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric – Best Value for the Money Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitar
We are tempted to say just look at it, but then you probably need to know a little more than that. The stunning classic look of the Dreadnought with its cutaway will always impress. When it has Takamine on the headstock, it impresses more. The huge, rich, precise sound is going to elevate your performance.
It has a solid Spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Tonewoods, we all know for combining and producing a quality sound. But more than a quality sound, a big sound. If what you are looking for is great looks, great materials, and a big Dreadnought sound, this could be it.
It plays beautifully, of course, with a mahogany neck and Rosewood fingerboard with standard dot inlays. The Mahogany body is finished in a black gloss with an attractive rosette around the soundhole. It also has an attractive white edging around the body. It not only sounds the part, but it also looks it.
Takamine doesn’t cut too many corners when it comes to providing quality. The headstock with the logo is Rosewood, and there are, of course, 12 chrome die-cast tuners. The nut is made from a synthetic bone, which is one area they could have improved if we want to find fault. It hardly matters. It has a Rosewood bridge with a split bridge saddle.
But of course, it also has some electrics. Takamine has installed their TP-4TD preamp in this G-series guitar. Although it can’t possibly reproduce the acoustic resonance, it does provide a great amplified sound.
Rich and precise…
The sound plugged in is rich and precise and is not too sharp as some often are. The controls are situated conveniently on the top forward edge close to the back. They consist of a gain control and an EQ with treble, bass, and middle slider controls. We hoped for the tuner, and it is there. There is also an indicator to tell you when the battery is low. It runs on a nine-volt battery.
To turn the system on, just plug your lead into the jack socket/strap button. When you unplug it, the preamp is disconnected, and it turns off.
Fantastic value for the money…
A great sound acoustically and a decent sound amplified it is a quality guitar. Given the performance level, it is nicely-priced.
- Great looking with big warm Dreadnought sound.
- The best tonewoods to create a 12-string sound that fills the room.
- Let’s be picky, just the inclusion of a bone nut. But if that is all, it shows you how good it is.
2 Takamine Pro Series 3 P3DC-12 – Best Mid Range Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitar
Next, in our best Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitars review, we move up the scale into their ‘Pro’ series. Very few people pick these guitars up and then put them down without getting one or wishing they could. These are special.
It has the traditional Dreadnought design and shape, with a single Venetian cutaway. This guitar has a solid Cedar top and solid Sapele back and laminated Sapele sides.
Cedar is also a common well-liked tonewood that has been used for guitar building for over fifty years. Inside the Dreadnought, the design body is a scalloped X-bracing design. Whilst the tonewoods are important for sound, so is the way the body, especially the top, is braced. X-bracing is recognized as a design that encourages a full and rich resonant sound.
The neck is Mahogany with a Rosewood fingerboard. There are twenty standard nickel-silver frets, and there are traditional dot inlays. The body is a natural color with a satin finish, which is nicely understated. And the color of the Cedarwood blends nicely with the darker Sapele of the back and sides.
The edges have an ivory binding, and there is a nice wooden marquetry rosette design around the soundhole.
Up at the mahogany headstock are the twelve machine heads. They are finished in gold with amber buttons. There is a real bone nut, not synthetic. The pinless bridge is made from rosewood, and the split saddle is also bone.
Powerful and balanced…
The electrics are the Takamine CT4B II preamp, which gives you a powerful but balanced sound. There is a volume control, three-band EQ, and the tuner. The controls are located on the top edge. It is powered by a single 9-volt battery.
As is common with the Takamine design, the jack plug fits into the strap pin. It activates the preamp when the lead is plugged in and disconnects it when the plug is removed.
All very nicely done, of course, you would expect that at the very least.
But how does it play and sound?
We are tempted to ask, what do you think? A superb feel to the neck means it is smooth and feels quite fast. The cutaway gives full access to the whole fingerboard. To play this is to experience real quality.
The sound is stunning acoustically and just rings with a great resonance. The amplified sound is also very good and well-balanced. An excellent guitar of the highest quality. It isn’t cheap, but then this level of quality never is.
- Beautifully made with great tonewoods and fittings.
- Excellent full, ringing resonant sound acoustically and a powerful, rich sound amplified.
- Nothing with the guitar, but the price point might make some think twice.
3 Takamine Pro Series JJ325SRC-12 John Jorgenson 12 String – Best Premium Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitar
To complete our brief look at three Takamine 12-strings, we go to a signature model. This was designed with John Jorgensen in an effort to encompass all of his different range of playing styles.
Normally an acoustic guitar has one or two genres where it fits perfectly. This guitar crosses boundaries to suit a wide variety of styles and genres, just like the man himself. Some may ask, who is he? Ask Elton John and Bob Dylan, who he has worked with, and they’ll tell you.
Designed with one or two surprises…
It is the basic Dreadnought shape with cutaway and has a traditional solid Spruce top tonewood. The Spruce giving a ton of power and a defined sound. No surprises so far.
But then we get to the back and sides, which are made from specially chosen Bubinga. Bubinga is similar to rosewood, but it is harder and has amazing grain displays. It makes a significant contribution to the sound of this guitar. It also makes it look rather unusual and very special. The body is given a nice edging and has a white pickguard and well-designed rosette.
Quality through and through…
The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. There are traditional dot markers but also a ‘JJ’ motif at the 12th fret. The cutaway gives full access to the fingerboard. Up at the headstock are twelve closed die-cast and chrome plated machine heads. There is a bone nut and saddle.
The respected CT4B II electronics, preamp, and pickup are installed with 3-band EQ, Volume, and Tuner. This preamp is a step up from the usual preamps in that it actually has an actual tube (valve for the brits) installed in it. That provides a nice warm thick sound when it is amplified. It plugs in via the strap point on the bottom of the guitar.
Exceptional in every way…
It doesn’t get a lot better than this. A perfect neck and action, acoustically great with a powerful and warm amplified tone. The workmanship is exceptional and the finest materials. A guitar of great quality, but as a signature model by Takamine, you would expect that. It isn’t cheap, but for what it is, it is a great buy.
- Great design, materials, and fittings.
- Big rich sound with a valve powered preamp.
- From the guitar’s point of view, nothing.
More Stunning Acoustics
Looking for other fantastic acoustic guitar options? Then head over to our reviews of the Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners, the Best Acoustic Guitars under 500 Dollars, the Best Acoustic Guitar for Kids, the Best Acoustic Guitars under 300 Dollars, or the Best Cheap Acoustic under 200 Dollars you can buy in 2021.
Or, if you have something more specific in mind, check out our in-depth reviews of the Martin LX1 Little Martin, the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro, the Epiphone EJ 200SCE, the Taylor GS Mini, as well as the Taylor BBT Big Baby.
So, what are the Best Takamine 12 String Acoustic Guitars?
Most of us knew all about Takamine guitars before we have even played them. Though we must admit, more at the budget ranges not at this level. These, though, are just stunning.
The Signature series and the Pro series guitars are of the highest quality. But even the first we looked at, the ‘G’ series, is an exceptional instrument, which makes it the winner of our review because it is an incredible quality guitar for the money.
If you are looking for a special instrument and want a change from the usual, then this is where to go. In fact, you aren’t going to find many that are better.
They play great, they sound better, and they look stunning. What more can you ask for? Takamine better be careful. Much more quality like this, and there could well be more toys flying out of prams.