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This article was originally published in issue #58
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For flatpicking, the guitar responds gracefully across the entire fretboard with a remarkable consistency and sweetness, even on aggressive rest strokes.
Sweet, warm tone with great mids
Balance and poise across the whole fretboard and dynamic range
Intimate playing experience
If you want dreadnought-like bass and projection, look elsewhere.
The Takamine CP3NYK New Yorker is an electro-acoustic guitar ideal for professional use such as recording or live performances with a smaller body that is designed to be hugged closer to the player to facilitate more comfortable fingerstyle playing. Nick Jennison gets up close and personal with the CP3NYK New Yorker.
It’s no secret that I love small-bodied acoustic guitars. There’s a sweetness in the midrange that you don’t get from bigger body shapes, but there’s more to it than that. The ergonomics of parlour-sized guitars make the playing experience very intimate - you cradle them in your arms in a way that’s just not possible with dreads or jumbos, even for a big dude like myself. I love the look of them too, conjuring images of travelling bluesmen from the turn of the previous century.
As the smallest full-scale body shape that Takamine offer, the New Yorker is right up my street. It’s an elegant looking instrument with a slender body and a sharp, narrow waist. The body woods add to the classy vibe. The back and sides are koa; similar in tone to mahogany, but with better punch and projection. The top is cedar rather than spruce, which is more commonly found on classical guitars. While spruce is bright and clear, cedar is warmer and fuller and seems to “radiate” sound in all directions rather than projecting towards the audience. This only serves to increase the intimacy of the playing experience, with so much of the energy directed back at the player.
Tonally, the guitar is very sweet and warm. It’s not as snappy or sparkly as some guitars, but the high end is silky with a subtle breathy texture. Similarly, while you won’t find dreadnought-esque lows here, the lower mids are very rounded and full, underpinning the sweetness and silkiness of the upper registers. This poise is apparent throughout the guitar’s dynamic range; it doesn’t become thin or muddy in quieter passages, nor does it become harsh or brash when you dig in.
For flatpicking, the guitar responds gracefully across the entire fretboard with a remarkable consistency and sweetness, even on aggressive rest strokes. There’s enough transient and sparkle to “cut”, but not so much that it becomes brash or overly bright. Strumming showcases the surprising dynamic range this guitar offers, but once again there’s great tonal consistency from the most delicate of brushes to aggressive string-rattling bashes. While it’s probably not the right guitar for loud unplugged strumming, it’s depth tonal will bring encourage greater sensitivity in your approach. Fingerstyle is similarly warm and sweet, with an almost classical-sounding delivery. No doubt this is in part due to the cedar top, but the tone of a guitar is so much more than wood choice alone.
The on-board CT4B II preamp is very natural sounding but offers up some great tone shaping options. The three band EQ cuts and boosts up to 5db - not a massive amount, but that results in greater resolution over the fader’s travel, so you can tailor your tone more precisely. It also eliminates the possibility of dialling in the unnatural peaks and troughs that come from inexpert use of EQ. The mid-band is sweepable from 250hz to 5k, and there’s a handy notch filter to eliminate on-stage feedback.
The Takamine TK-CP3NYK (despite its less-than-catchy name) is a guitar to fall in love with. It feels and sounds sweet and evocative, and it radiates a gentle warmth both tonally and under the fingers that makes it very hard to put down.
Solid Cedar Top
Solid Koawood Back and Sides
Satin Natural Finish