Guitar Reviews

takamine ltd 2011 nex acoustic electric guitar

Takamine LTD2011 NEX body Acoustic Electric Guitar

Takamine LTD2011 Limited Edition Guitar (271 Made)
I never thought I would be attracted to a blue (or indigo) guitar, but the distinctive Japanese details on this Takamine LTD2011 NEX body guitar are appealing to me. It is an instrument with an obvious connection to Japan, even beyond the Japanese maker’s name on the headstock. I also really like its size and shape.

The Goldfish Guitar
This guitar would make my search for a Japanese themed guitar strap quite redundant. The Takamine limited edition LTD2011 has inlaid shell goldfish embedded in its deep blue indigo burst solid spruce top and in the ebony fretboard. The goldfish designs at the guitar’s waist include kimono fabric and a Japanese ceremonial gold braided string as part of the inlay. It is certainly ornate, but I think it is tasteful and from the photos and videos I’ve seen, the deep blue body appears black or nearly black in some lighting conditions. I think the guitar’s overall visual mood is serious and elegant enough, though too fanciful for some I’m sure.

Guitar Prop
In addition to liking the size, shape and distinctive appearance of this guitar, one other reason I am drawn to the LTD2011 is because I am working on a creative project that will one day require an unusual and very distinctive guitar as a prop. It is fun to have discovered a guitar that might be appropriate.

Size and Shape
This guitar is smaller than the Takamine jumbo guitar I first picked up in one of the Kyoto music stores I have been visiting. This NEX body style is referred to as a small jumbo. The LTD2011 has the same basic dimensions as a standard dreadnought, but with a more rounded shape similar to that of a jumbo body. The NEX body shape is said to be unique to Takamine, though I have seen similarly shaped guitars from other makers.

Tube Preamp
The LTD2011 is an acoustic electric guitar with a tube preamp and tuner built in. Apparently Takamine has patented the tube preamp and is the only guitar maker offering them. I am not sure if there is a discernible difference between a tube preamp and a ‘non-tube’ preamp, but it adds an interesting marketing detail for the perceived desirability of Takamine’s guitars.

I Know What I Want (sort of)
I have been trying out less expensive Takamine NEX body guitars (called 500 series bodies in Japan) to see how they feel and sound to me and I think I may have settled on the brand and guitar body type for my first guitar purchase, even if I have not selected the actual model I will buy yet. The LTD2011 may be pretty far out of my first guitar budget range, but Takamine makes many more affordable guitars with NEX/500 series bodies.

If you are enjoying this site so far and would like to buy me a Takamine LTD2011 Limited Edition guitar in appreciation for the half dozen blog posts I have already written, I will happily accept your donation. Contact me if you would like to know where to have it shipped. :-)

Update: If you have read the ‘About the Guitar‘ page from the link at the top of this site or noticed the guitar I photographed for the current header design, you may already know that I have indeed acquired this particular guitar through a series of unexpected events. More on that later.

-Kin’en

Along with some thoughts on guitar pricing, below you’ll find out why I think there is such an incredible abundance of positive reviews about almost every guitar I’ve researched online.

Amateur Guitar Reviews
In my short history of guitar purchase research, I have come to believe that most amateur guitar reviews are so positive because often the person writing about the guitar, without realizing it, is actually writing about themselves. This is their guitar, the one they play, the one they chose, the one that makes the sounds that their fingers are inducing. It is a part of their identity and they want/need to feel good about their guitar purchase, so…
they do feel good about it. There is nothing really sinister about this behavior, but it is something I try to keep in mind when looking for information or thoughts about any guitar I might be interested in.

Or it could just be that all guitars made now can be safely categorized somewhere between ‘great’ and ‘magnificent’. :-)

Guitar Prices
The price of a guitar can certainly be one indicator of potential quality, but it seems to me in my early searching that price alone absolutely does not determine the quality of an instrument’s sound or it’s playability. I imagine that in modern guitar factories, newer and more consistent production techniques are making it easier to manufacture low cost guitars that sound and play as good or even better than more expensive guitars in some cases.

I get the impression that supply and demand, and careful image management with some guitar brands, are substantial components in the determination of price. Brands known for outputting high quality guitars may indeed be outputting high quality guitars, but it seems obvious that the prices are not merely based on the expense of materials, labor, manufacturing and development costs. I know some woods cost more than others, but we are not talking about bars of gold here.

The Guitar Search Continues
But what do I know?
I don’t even own a guitar as I write this, and I am admittedly leaning towards buying my first guitar online based on price and the greater selection options.

In an ideal world, as most serious guitarists suggest, I am sure we should all be playing extensively with the guitars we are considering buying before we buy them. Though our brains would still be subject to the influence of perceived value according to price and the reputation of the name on the headstock, we would still have a better chance of picking a guitar that has a tone that suits us.

I intend to continue reading and absorbing what I can from other people’s perceptions as I continue my search, but as I’ve mentioned before, I soon hope to become accomplished enough that I would not even consider buying a guitar that I have not yet played.

-Kin’en