Takamine fights its corner in one of the most hotly contested market sectors with the upper entry-level GY11 ME-NS. Ben Morgan-Brown finds out whether it’s a knock out, a draw or a narrow win on points.
Takamine GY11 ME NS electro-acoustic
Takamine made its name with a long line of hard-gigging acoustic guitars which have been used by some of the biggest names in the business. They may not have been competition in the studio to the legendary top-end makers but for a guitar that you could take on a world tour and be confident of getting a great sound night after night, a Takamine took (and takes) a lot of beating.
The model Ben is reviewing here, however, is a different kettle of fish. The GY ME-NS is aimed at the upper end of the beginner market or, perhaps, for the player who has learnt to play on a cheaper guitar and is now confident to move onto a better quality instrument but not ready yet to leap up to an all solid wood instrument. That means the Takamine has laminated mahogany for its back, sides and top. To a lot of people, the word ‘laminate; seems to mean ‘inferior’ but that isn’t really fair. Well made laminates can sound great (ask Jazz guitarists) and even when they are found on cheaper guitars such as this Takamine, they offer strength, reliability and consistency, which are certainly qualities this small bodied, satin finished, guitar seems to have aplenty. Incidentally, laurel is used for the fingerboard and bridge, which is an unusual choice, brought about, no doubt, by the ban on rosewood, but there were no complaints about it – it seemed to work very well.
Ben found that perhaps the single most likeable thing about this guitar was its build quality – it felt like a sturdy, reliable guitar. Our sample wasn’t brilliantly set-up however, so we would advise anyone considering it to buy in person from a store and negotiate a set-up in the purchase price. To be fair, that is something we would advise with any acoustic guitar purchase, but it would have benefited this guitar in particular Ben felt.
Soundwise, the Takamine performs well at the playing position. Listened to from a few feet away it is perhaps a little less so, partly due to the woods used, most probably, partly due to the small body size (which, in fairness, also makes it easy to transport and comfortable to hold). Tonally there’ providing of course you bear in mind the Takamine’s other qualities as well.
Plugged in, the GY was perhaps a bit harsh and a bit quacky but no more so than most undersaddle piezo pickupped guitars in this price range. It also comes with Takamine’s own three band EQ and a tuner, and the former allows some of that tonal deficit to be tamed, Ben also found the tuner worked well.
There[‘s no doubt that the £3-400 price range is one of the most competitive these days and the Takamine is up against some stiff competition but it does have quite a lot going for it. Properly set-up it would be nice to play, it comes with a pickup and a useful pre-amp, it is well made and likely to stand up to gigging in true Takamine style. As a major brand it would also have a resale price as you moved on in your playing career, so it’s certainly one to consder in this price range and likely to appeal to many players.s nothing wrong with the Takamine, but side by side with a solid topped guitar (and they are available at this sort of money) it might struggle a bit, so a side by side audition would be advisable.
Reviews are recorded in a top quality studio with the finest equipment. To get the best from our reviews and really hear the instruments perform make sure you listen on good quality speakers or headphones!
Takamine GY ME-NS £319
NUT WIDTH: 42.5mm
FINISH: Natural Satin
CASE: Not included