Hands-on review: Takamine EG463SC
(John Gorbe | Posted 2011-05-09)
I noticed a guitar hanging on the wall of a local guitar shop last week and I certainly recognized the NEX body shape as a Takamine immediately, but there was something else about this guitar that stood out among the other “Taks.” This model had an abalone rosette, was echoed further up the guitar by an abalone inlay at the 12th fret, which poured over into the 11th and 13th frets. The next feature I noticed, as my eyes worked their way up the guitar were the black tuning buttons. Aesthetically, these were a really nice upgrade over chrome or even gold buttons.
The guitar was an EG463SC – a new model in the G Series NEX line up. The G Series is a more affordable line from Takamine that offers more sizes, finishes and variations than any other series from the company and makes a very nice option for the student guitarist.
First, let me take you through the nuts and bolts of this model. The EG463SC features a solid spruce top, three-piece back of quilted maple and rosewood, rosewood sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, gold tuners with black buttons, abalone rosette, dot markers with a unique abalone 12th fret inlay, and a TP4T preamp.
The TP4T is a simple preamp system featuring controls for bass, mid and treble plus volume, a built-in tuner and a low-battery indicator light. A 9-volt battery access door is also located in the same control housing.
The tuner was easy to use. An arrow display in the window indicates if the note is sharp or flat. The faster the arrow flashes, the more out of tune the string is. When arrows light up on either side of the note, you know you’re in tune. The volume control offered plenty of gain through my amplifier and the 3-band EQ was musical enough to get a nice sound. I found that leaving the EQ flat yielded the best results for a full, natural sound.
The guitar played very nicely. The neck had a tacky feel due to the gloss finish, but the overall neck profile and well-dressed frets made for a smooth feel. Playing a barre chord in the 1st fret as well as single note lines across the range of the guitar was pretty effortless; however, I really don’t know why manufacturers insist on using a high gloss neck, especially when they take more time to produce and most players don’t like them. Another feature that made the guitar comfortable was the size and shape of the body. The NEX shape is compact with a nice looking and functional cutaway that closely resembles the feel of a C.F. Martin style 000 shape.
As I played the guitar unplugged I noticed a nice sound but not a sound I would call “warm.” Due to the size of the body and choice of tone woods it sounded like it would be well suited to be heard in a band setting. The overall sound favored the middle to upper middle frequencies, which is nice to have to cut through in a recording or in a live situation. This is not a guitar I would rely on for solo performances or in a smaller setting, though, if given the choice of this or a warmer sounding instrument. But I couldn’t really complain because the guitar did sound nice and offered a chime-like quality, which was nicely balanced in all areas of the fingerboard.
The overall feel of the EG 463SC was nice and solid. Tuning the guitar was actually a nice experience, as strange as that sound,s because the black buttons on the tuning machines were rubberized and had a great tactile feel. I felt this added a touch of class to the guitar.
If there is one feature I would like to see omitted from this model, it’s the abalone inlay on the bridge pins. The workmanship here was a little sloppy and I thought it looked a bit cheesy and detracted from the quality.
the bottom liner
When I was done with my session I left with a nice experience that made me think differently about the quality of the G Series line from Takamine. For $549 USD, I could certainly recommend this guitar to a student or even to a gigging musician on a tight budget. The guitar will certainly get the job done on the stage or in the studio and your wallet will thank you for it.