Takamine G Series Acoustic Guitars Reviewed (BEST Under $1000)

Takamine is a premier Japanese acoustic brand known for their stunning high-performance instruments available at affordable prices. In 2013, they introduced their G Series, performance-ready guitars as affordable alternatives by manufacturing them in China and Korea to lower costs.

Known for high quality and exceptional value, Takamine’s G Series offers a variety of models and styles that utilize unique features like pinless and split-saddle bridges that provide distinguished intonation. A good majority of G series guitars offer solid tops and superb tonewoods for their backs, sides, and necks. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the G series offers excellent affordability, durability, and playability regardless of your budget or style.

From ¾ size to dreadnought to their unparalleled NEX and New Yorker bodies find out which acoustic, acoustic-electric, or 12-string is right for you.

Takamine GD93 acoustic guitar front and back

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Takamine G-Series Full Body Acoustic Guitars

Two of Takamine’s most popular full-bodied guitars are the classic dreadnought and the unmatched NEX body. Introduced in 1992, the NEX is a jumbo guitar scaled down to the size of a dreadnought with a slimmer waist.

This is advantageous for those with smaller frames that are looking for big sounds without big guitars. These mini jumbos offer comfort without sacrificing playability. 

Takamine G Series GN NEX Acoustic Guitars Compared

Two of the more affordable NEX models in the G Series include the GN20 and the GN30.

Both feature the NEX bodies having the fullness of a dreadnought with a smaller shoulder design giving them a little better balance than traditional dreadnoughts. 

Combining the jumbo sound with the dreadnought body, and adding a neck that’s a little wider across the nut, yet thinner and faster makes the NEX bodies extremely versatile for just about any style of music.

Takamine GN20 NEX Acoustic Guitar

A step above Takamine’s entry-level guitar from the G20 series, the GN20 features the classic NEX body with a solid cedar top and mahogany back, sides, and neck giving it a wide, warm range that’s good for any style. 

Its ovangkol fretboard and bridge provide great intonation for both chords and single notes. It has a slim, 12” radius neck with a satin finish with a 1.6875” nut width.

Takamine G Series Gn20 Nex Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series Gn20 Nex Acoustic Guitar

The cedar top gives it a full, dark sound somewhere in between the warmth of rosewood and the brightness of maple. 

With a nice balance between the highs and lows, the lows give a good presence without the highs being too prominent. Overall, this guitar has a very pleasing and pleasant sound. 

Using a quality synthetic bone nut and split saddle, the GD93 has good resonance, and is fitted with chrome die-cast tuners for good tuning stability. It is a 25.3” scale length with 20 frets and quartersawn X-bracing, which greatly increases the structural integrity. 

The GN20 is a straight-up acoustic with no electronics, but you could upgrade to the GN20CE for a cutaway body and added electronics. 

Takamine GN30 NEX Acoustic Guitar

The GN30 from the G30 series, is a great all-around acoustic at an affordable price. The GN30 can be purchased in black or natural and also has the NEX body.

Built with a solid spruce top with mahogany back, sides, and neck – this acoustic produces a rich and resonant sound.

Takamine G Series Gn30 Nex Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series Gn30 Nex Acoustic Guitar

The GN30 also has the ovangkol fingerboard and bridge for solid intonation, as well as the slim 12” radius neck and 1.6875” nut width. It comes with a gloss finish instead of satin.

Like other acoustics in the G series, its scale size is 25.3” with 20 frets, and features Takamine’s quartersawn X-bracing.

Using spruce gives the GN30 a common clear and balanced sound, while the ovangkol facilitates a slightly fuller midrange with brighter highs. The lows have good resonance with soft highs that aren’t too overbearing for a nice blend.

Along with other models in this range, the GN30 also has a synthetic nut and split saddle with chrome die-cast tuners. Both the black and natural versions can be upgraded to the GN30CE for a cutaway design and added electronics.

Takamine G Series Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars Compared

Dreadnoughts are hands down the most popular body, favored for their big and bold sound. Takamine features two common models that have substantial popularity: the GD51 and the GD93

Takamine GD51 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

The G50 series comes in either black or sunburst, and can be upgraded to the GD50CE for a cutaway style body with added electronics. 

Featuring a solid spruce top with black walnut back and sides the GD51 has a warm, resonant sound. 

Takamine G Series Gd51 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series Gd51 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

It has a slim, mahogany, 12” radius neck and has a 1.6875” nut width with a laurel fretboard and bridge. It has the synthetic bone nut and split saddle, gloss finish, and gold die-cast tuners giving this model a classy look.

Slightly larger than the NEX series at a 25.4” scale length, with 20 frets that encompasses the quartersawn X-bracing. The laurel fingerboard gives it a smooth and gentle sound.

However, the GD51 in my opinion doesn’t produce the tonal depth that you’d expect from a dreadnought, being somewhat on the bright and thin side.

Nonetheless, it is still a quality guitar with a reasonably balanced sound.

Takamine GD93 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Not only does the G90 series feature solid tops, but they also have three-piece quilted back construction for a unique look and sound

The GD93 is only available in a natural color, but can be upgraded to the GD93CE for the cutaway design and added electronics.

Takamine G Series Gd93 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series Gd93 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Featuring a solid spruce top with black walnut sides, and original tri-sectional back (black walnut outer sections adjoining a maple inner section), this dreadnought has an an upscale plush look. 

The tonewood combination indeed gives this guitar an original sound with soft, warm lows but strong and snappy mids and highs with overall good resonation and intonation. The sound is big and bold, but not deep. 

With the same slim 12” radius mahogany neck and 1.6875” nut as the GD51, this model also has a laurel fingerboard and bridge. The GD93 is also built to a 25.4” scale length and has 20 frets. 

It also has the same synthetic bone nut and split saddle, gold die-cast tuners with black buttons, and body purfling.

Takamine G-Series NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitars

For those looking for performance-ready acoustic-electric guitars, two of Takamine’s popular models in the G series include the GN51CE and the GN93E.

These are similar to the two dreadnoughts mentioned above, except with NEX bodies and added electronics

Takamine GN51CE NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Aside from the body style, the GN51CE features the same construction as the GD51, except it has a Venetian-style cutaway and an added TP-4TD electronic system great for novices and professionals alike.  

The Takamine TP-4TD is a preamp system that has a built-in tuner with a three-band equalizer. 

Takamine G Series Gn51ce Nex Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Takamine G Series Gn51ce Nex Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This is a 25.4” scale length guitar with 20 frets available in both natural and sunburst. 

With gain controls for solid amplification and sound manipulation, the preamp allows this guitar to sing with authority and the controls allow you to maintain the natural sound, or shape the tone to your liking.

The GN51CE has solid note intonation with the big and bold sound that you’d expect for a scaled-down jumbo, but the lows are a little soft without great depth.

You will find it has crisp, clear mids and highs that are on the punchy side with a nice vibrato. 

Takamine GN93CE NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Similar to the GD93, the GN93CE features a NEX body instead of the dreadnought. Otherwise, its construction is identical including the three-piece black walnut and maple back combination.

Players love this guitar, with the GN93CE being one of the more popular models within the G Series. 

Takamine Gn93ce G Series Nex Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Takamine Gn93ce G Series Nex Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This unique looking guitar utilizes a Takamine TK-40D preamp system with a built-in tuner with a three-band equalizer. It offers gain controls, a mid contour switch, a notch filter, and an EQ bypass switch for superior sound quality and manipulation.

The TK40D has a reputation for being a top performer for live acoustics.

Producing a clear, rich sound that is full and vibrant with great resonation, the GN93CE tone blends nicely from top to bottom, with a solid bass that’s not drowned out by mids and highs. 

Takamine G-Series 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitars

If you enjoy big 12-string sound, the G series has options for you also. Two popular choices include the GD30CE-12, available in natural, sunburst, or black; and the GJ72CE-12, available in natural and sunburst.

Takamine GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The GD30CE-12 is a dreadnought-style guitar that has an excellent reputation. It can be purchased in natural or sunburst.

Constructed with a solid spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck; It’s built to a 25.3” scale length with 20 frets, with quartersawn internal X-bracing.

It has a slim 12” radius neck with an ovangkol fingerboard and bridge with synthetic bone nut and split saddle. Its nut width is wider at 1.875” to accommodate all 12 strings, and it has chrome die-cast tuners and a gloss finish. 

The GD30CE-12 embodies an onboard Takamine TP-4TD preamp system with a built-in tuner, three-band equalizer, and gain controls for optimal performance and sound control.

Unlike the next model up in the series, the sound reveals crisp mids and highs, with dull and somewhat muddy dampened lows for an overall thinner and brighter modern tone.

Takamine GJ72CE-12 Jumbo Cutaway 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The GJ72CE-12 is a jumbo-style body that touts big meaty chords with plenty of balance. It’s constructed to a scale length of 25.4” with 20 frets, and features quartersawn X-bracing.

It has a solid spruce top and flamed maple back and sides, with a cutaway for accessing the upper end of the fretboard. 

Like other Takamine acoustics, it has a slim mahogany neck with a 12” radius and laurel fretboard. The nut is the standard for 12-string guitars at 1.875”, and it has a synthetic bone nut and split saddle, along with gold die-cast tuners with pearl buttons, and a gloss finish.

It features the TK40D preamp system with a built-in tuner, a three-band equalizer with gain controls, a mid contour switch, a notch filter, and an EQ bypass. 

Talk about saving the best for last, the Takamine GJ72CE-12 has a beautiful blend that’s very balanced from top to bottom, with no one range overpowering another.

It has the authoritative and robust sound that you’d expect from a jumbo guitar. The bass is deep, rich, and solid like what you’d expect.

Given the slight increase in price from the next model down, I would recommend the Takamine GJ72CE-12 as a guitar with a deeply satisfying tone that will encourage you to play more often.

Takamine’s Split Saddle Bridges

If you’re not familiar with split-saddle bridge designs featured on all of Takamine’s G Series guitars, do your homework before you buy. Some people love them and some people hate them.

Split-saddle design separates the saddle into two separate pieces between the B-string and G-string, or the 2nd and 3rd strings, in an effort to rectify intonation issues between the high end and the low end. 

Takamine guitar split bridge

However, some guitarists claim that this results in a substantial loss of volume on the G-string. This isn’t overly noticeable with strumming, but can be particularly bothersome with picking.

It’s also more prominent on acoustic-electric models when compared to regular acoustic versions. Depending on your playstyle, you may need to give this some consideration.

Final Thoughts

With so many to choose from, there’s bound to be an instrument here to suit your sound, playstyle, and pocket. Take advantage of Takamine’s reputation for quality instruments in an affordable price range.

If your budget is higher and you want a serious pro-level instrument, then you’ll find Takamine have some amazing guitars for anywhere up to $4000, and even their stand-out custom shop model for up to $10k.

Whether you are a novice looking for an entry-level guitar, or a budding artist looking for affordable quality, these fine instruments are extremely versatile and suitable for a variety of musical genres.