Sam Bell reviews the Takamine GD11M-NS acoustic—featuring an all-mahogany construction, providing an authentic, familiar sound. Guitarists and music enthusiasts alike will have all heard it all over old-school recordings, including Bob Dylan and many other artists. It's time to explore a rich, resonant tone with a beautiful warmth and a punchy, earthy character without breaking the bank.
Takamine is well known for its high quality and great-sounding acoustic instruments. Often high-quality build and sound comes with a price tag, but in this review we'll be taking a look at a highly affordable, all-round dreadnaught acoustic guitar from Takamine.
The GD11M-NS features a Mahogany Top, Back, Sides and Neck. There's no finish on the wood, so there is a lovely matt texture to the guitar, it feels very natural. The fingerboard is made from Laurel. There are no electronics with this guitar, so no tuner or preamp. This is a very basic guitar, but with reason. The guitar looks and feels great to play, no sticking out frets or rough patches of wood, the hardware feels solid, quality tuners and bridge pins. The dreadnaught body of the guitar resonates really well; it doesn't feel dead in any areas.
When it comes to playing, the guitar reasons well to dynamics; there's a fair amount of sustain in the lower regions of the neck. However, on single notes higher up the neck, the tone does slightly thin out. This for me isn't too much of a concern, playing differently can help add depth to a note, so there is nothing that technique can't help in solving. In fact, the guitar allows the technique to come through very transparently, so how you play will directly affect the tone. This is an obvious point, but some instruments which are built badly can really put limitations on the potential of the player. The GD11M doesn't burn any bridges in this respect, it'll play your game. The frets feel good, medium and tall, slightly abrasive at first, especially in the upper register, yet again, nothing a bit of playing in wouldn't solve.
For a retail price of around £200, you're paying for a solid basic acoustic guitar, no thrills, but something sturdy, which will age well with your own playing. If you're starting out on your guitar journey and you're feeling fairly committed, this would be a great guitar to get started on. Or if you're an electric player and looking for a basic, high-quality acoustic guitar for the studio or some local gigs (stick a pickup on it maybe?) then you'll have a brilliant foundational acoustic instrument for your guitar armoury. Takamine makes brilliant instruments, and they do make an effort to make their instruments accessible for all tastes, budgets and purposes. Big respect!
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