Hands-on Review: Takamine EGMINI-NS: A real travel guitar
(John Gorbe | Posted 2011-05-25)
I had the opportunity to try out a new Takamine from their MINI line and thought enough about this little beauty to write a review about it! The interesting thing about this review is that it wasnít planned but I felt propelled to spend time with the MINI and get to know it. Hereís a little information about the EGMINI-NS before we get started:
The EGMINI-NS features a solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides, bound top and back, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, chrome tuners, satin finish, dot inlays, and a preamp with volume and tone controls.
This Takamine is a nice looking instrument. I particularly liked the shape of the NEX inspired body shape. It may be due to the size of this guitar, but the upper bout looked significantly more narrow than the lower bout of this guitar. Making it look different Ė in a good way. I also appreciated the smaller dot inlays that dress the fingerboard. Iíve seen travel size guitars in the past with standard size dot inlays and visually it looks very unbalanced. Takamine thought about this detail and it makes a big difference.
The guitar feels nice in every register of the fingerboard. I noticed a few sharp fret edges on the side of the fingerboard at the 11th and 12th fret but it was nothing too concerning. Other than these 2 frets the fret work was well done on my tester.
Sitting down with the EGMINI was a comfortable experience. I enjoyed the small body and narrow waist. Cheers to Takamine for making a travel size guitar with a real body. The guitar also stayed in tune very well after quite a few hours of playing.
The action was slightly high for my personal taste, however this guitar is meant for travel and if Iím taking this guitar through temperature and humidity changes Iím not going to be too picky about the action. If you think youíll be picky about the action just get it set up at your local music store. Overall, the guitar played just fine!
I was expecting the MINI to sound appropriate for its size and if youíre thinking about just sheer volume then youíre right Ė it didnít have much output. What this guitar had was a pleasant, warm tone that caught me by surprise. The guitar still favored the middle and high middle spectrum of frequencies but it sounded nicer than I could have possibly thought.
I attribute this to the tone woods that Takamine selected for this guitar. A Cedar top matched with mahogany back and sides will give you warm and fuzzy results. Match that to a rosewood fingerboard and bridge and you have yourself some nice tone. Of course, the size of the body will cast a shadow on all this warmth but the sound was rich for a travel guitar.
The electronics are very simple: 1 volume and 1 tone. Plugging this guitar into an amp or Pa will make you louder but Iím not sure if this is the way to go with this guitar and I think the size may have something to do with that. If Iím playing a guitar of this size I know Iím probably on vacation in a hotel, on the beach or bumming around wit hit in my backyard. Iím not worrying about plugging this in. It did make the sound louder, however it sounded like a travel sized guitar plugged in. This wasnít too attractive to me, as I liked the pure, rich sound of the guitar unplugged.
The Bottom Line
The EGMINI-NS is the best travel guitar Iíve played. It lists for $649 USD and have seen it sell as low as $384.99 USD. For around $400 I canít complain at all about this guitar. Iíve never seen cedar used for the top of a travel guitar and when I think about it Ė it makes sense. The guitar has a good feel, decent tone, good looks, portability and a nice price tag. If youíre looking for a guitar to lug around with you check out the EGMINI-NS.
Takamine Guitars have over 50 years of history dedicated to innovation and improvement to the art and craft of guitarmaking. Takamine entered full-scale development of acoustic-electric guitars in late 1970s. For this project, engineers were allowed to pursue their own ideal sound without being bound by the traditional rules of guitar-making.
To learn more about Takamine visit: http://www.takamine.com/