An Affordable and Elegant Acoustic-Electric
By Bradley Weinholtz
The Takamine GN93CE’s solid spruce top outlined with dark wood purfling exudes elegance and sophistication.
Forty years ago I bought my first real guitar—a 1976 Takamine F-350M that borrowed liberally from the looks of a Martin D-18 with its solid spruce top and flame maple body. Since then that blond Takamine has held up beautifully and I’ve come to be a fan of the brand. A casual gig opportunity recently offered a chance to take the Takamine GN93CE G Series NEX Cutaway Acoustic-Electric out for a review on the road.
The gig was at a local coffee shop aptly named Cool Beans where Alex, the manager, always seems happy to see me. Plugging into the venue’s Harbinger HA 60 PA System I quickly set up and started the show.
Holding this Takamine I Immediately felt at one with the instrument. The NEX-style body is very comfortable and responsive. The shape is smaller than a traditional dreadnought or jumbo making it ergonomically agreeable while delivering a full spectrum of tones.
The GN93CE features a solid spruce top with scalloped, quartersawn X-bracing giving the instrument excellent projection, volume, and extended dynamics. I could have easily skipped the PA in the relatively small confines of Cool Beans.
The three-piece back has a gorgeous quilted maple center strip laid between rich rosewood producing a distinctive contrast worthy of a guitar twice as expensive. The slender and smooth mahogany neck and 12”-radius rosewood fingerboard paired with a synthetic bone nut and split bridge saddle provided a fabulous feel and exceptional playability. The maple headstock binding, gold die-cast tuners with black buttons, dark wood rosette, and body purfling give this Takamine a stunning appearance that belies its modest price.
The onboard Takamine TK-40D preamp system has a built-in tuner that was easy to read and intuitive to use, so tuning the instrument was a breeze. A wide assortment of tones are effortlessly accessible using the three-band EQ’s gain control, mid contour switch, notch filter, and an EQ bypass switch. The flexibility of the preamp is ideal for dialing in great sound when faced with the smorgasbord of PAs and amps found at local coffee houses like the one I was playing.
By the middle of the first song I was settled into the instrument. It was like slipping on a comfortable pair of broken-in shoes and taking a leisurely stroll in the park. I was so dialed in and content that two hours of playing slipped by before a call from my wife reminding me of another commitment brought the set to a halt.
Needless to say, I enjoyed playing the Takamine GN93CE; its smaller profile was comfortable yet provided a robust, full sound. The attention to detail and the onboard electronics are remarkable for a guitar in its price range, making it a great buy for any beginner or seasoned player.
A list of features is presented below:
- Body shape: NEX Cutaway
- Bracing: Quartersawn "X"
- Body back: 3-piece rosewood with quilt maple center
- Body sides: Rosewood
- Body top: Solid spruce
- Neck material: Mahogany
- Neck finish: Gloss
- Scale length: 25.4" (644mm)
- Fingerboard: Bound rosewood
- Fingerboard radius: 12" (305mm)
- Number of frets: 20
- String nut: Synthetic bone
- Nut width: 1.6875" (42.8mm)
- Position inlays: Abalone dot
- Electronics: Takamine TK-40D Preamp with Built-In Tuner
- Bridge: Rosewood
- Hardware Finish: Gold
- Tuning Machines: Gold Die-Cast with Black Buttons
- Strings: D'Addario EXP 16 Coated Phosphor Bronze (.012-.053 gauges)
- Color: Natural
- Body finish: Gloss
- Case sold separately
Explore the entire selection of Takamine guitars at Musician’s Friend.
To learn more about choosing the right acoustic, read The HUB’s expert Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide.
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Tags: Acoustic Guitars