Takamine Guitars

I don’t have enough experience with guitars (as in practically none) to know how much difference a solid wood top could make compared to a top assembled from laminated wood (plywood).

There is a fair amount of discussion online about solid wood tops being better, but I get the impression that the ‘solid wood is better’ mantra is accepted as fact by many people who may have never really compared the sounds of multiple instruments critically.

It does certainly seem to be a plausible assertion that sound may resonate more robustly through a single piece of wood on a guitar’s top than it would through several slivers of wood bonded together with gobs of glue.

The guitars I have been sampling so far do all seem to have solid wood tops according to the specs. I wish I could compare 2 nearly identical guitars where one had a solid top and the other had a plywood top.

Conned by a Big Guitar Store
I later found out through a personal purchase experience with a large guitar store in the US that the specs you are given for a guitar are not always truthful when it comes to whether or not a guitar has a solid wood top. Interestingly, my lack of experience with guitars caused it to take a little while after buying the guitar to figure out I had been defrauded. More on that story will be added soon.

Tone quality is important to me and on the chance that the generally pervasive observations online about solid wood tops being much better are accurate, I’m presently leaning towards purchasing a guitar with a solid wood top.

Takamine Guitars (It’s ‘tah kah mee nay’, not ‘tah kah mee nee’.)
By the way, my preoccupation with Takamine guitars that you may have noticed from previous posts is mostly due to my need to simplify my search and due to the small personal intrigue I feel regarding the prospect of buying a Japanese designed, if not Japanese manufactured, guitar. Due to this website’s obvious connection to my life in Japan, it seems not inappropriate that my first guitar purchase might be a Japanese model.

Finding an appealing Takamine by chance early in my search, and because it is impractical to analyze all of the hundreds of guitar models in the world that might be options, has caused me to decide to focus on the guitars from this one manufacturer for now.

My reading online suggests that Takamine has a reputation for making quality guitars at competitive prices and that helps me to feel comfortable with my current focus on their products.

I’m not closed off to other guitar brands; but my focus is definitely on Takamine at the moment.


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.