NAMM 2024 continues to serve up both high-end builds and budget-friendly instruments, but Takamine’s latest one-two G Series release looks to blur the boundaries between the two camps, focusing on capturing the essence of luxury builds at a reduced cost.
As such, its new GD34CE acoustic guitar and its 12-string equivalent, the GD38CE, are part of the affordable G Series range, and are based on Takamine's hand-crafted EF341SC and EF381SC models.
Importantly, key decisions have been made to scale back the pricier elements to make these options more accessible to a wider range of players. That includes opting for alternative tonewoods and a simple-but-effective electronics system, providing the guitars with all they need to perform without hiking their price point.
They derive their sound from solid spruce tops and sapele back and sides. That results in a sonic palette the Japanese luthier is calling “pure Takamine in its voice; shimmery, bold, and booming.” This is in contrast to the cedar and maple combination of their hand-crafted stablemates.
Both guitars look to arrive gig-ready thanks to the own-brand TP-3G electronics, which Takamine followers will recognise from previous G Series releases. The pickup system is supported by a three-band EQ, volume control and an in-built chromatic tuner. Whilst it’s not as slick as the CT4B II analog pre-amp, it still offers the same tweakability to allow players to quickly dial in the settings they need.
Elsewhere, these guitars offer a classic dreadnought cutaway, mahogany neck and laurel fretboard with a 644mm (25.35") scale length. They both come in a no-nonsense black gloss finish.
The 12-string offers a slightly wider nut width of 47.5mm compared to the six-string's 42.5mm. Both fretboards span out to 125mm in width at the other end.
Their specs are rounded out with white multi-binding and matching rosettes. Takamine diamond inlays, meanwhile, add an element of nuance that helps belie their price.
Speaking of, they come in at a considerable discount when compared to the EF341SC and EF381SC. For the six strings, the GD34CE comes in at £619 (approx $786), and £659 (approx $837) for the 12-string. Roughly speaking, that’s a 50% price cut.
“For decades, the dream of many Takamine players was to own the classic all-black models from our handcrafted Japan-built Legacy Series, the EF341SC or the 12-string EF381SC,” says Tom Watters, Director of Product Development for Takamine Guitars.
“The new G Series GD34CE and GD38CE were inspired by those guitars, and offer a new lower-cost option for players who want to capture the essence of these iconic instruments,” he adds. They also come with a sturdy gig bag.
The guitars aren’t the only cost-conscious acoustics currently on display at NAMM 2024. Earlier this month, Martin unleashed its redefined X Series line-up, including a model with a drool-worthy Cocobolo finish.
On the other end of the scale, Takamine has already flexed its luxurious guitar-building muscles at NAMM 2024. It dropped its “painstakingly” crafted solar system-themed LTD model acoustic last week, complete with planetary inlays. Tom Watters called it “one of the most unique and spectacular LTD models that Takamine has ever created,” and it's easy to see why.
For more information on the new G Series models. head to Takamine.
Keep up to speed with all gear releases during NAMM 2024 via our guide to the latest NAMM 2024 news.