Hey guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply again, I hope you guys had a fun forth of July, and for our international readers, I hope you all had a great Wednesday. Getting down to business, today I’m here to talk about some fantastic acoustics made by our friends over at Takamine. Takamine was founded in 1962 in Sakashita Japan, first as a small family business crafting well made acoustic guitars, which were a rarity in Japan at that point in time. By the mid 70’s they were one of the first manufactures of Acoustic-Electric guitars, and were subsequent pioneers in the art of pre-amp and equalizer technologies. Takamine is still revered in the acoustic guitar world, for their fine crafted and reasonably priced guitars.
Today I want to talk to you about two of these instruments, specifically the EG450SMCSB, and the EG540DLX. Both of these are fine acoustic guitars, each with their own specific voices and characters, so without further ado, lets dive right in. First up is the EG450SMCSB, here after simply referred to as the EG450. The EG450 features one of Takamines signature body shapes, the NEX which is sort of like a scaled down jumbo, with similar body woods and construction, but not as petite as say a typical mini-jumbo. The EG450 features flamed maple back and sides and a solid spruce top, as well as Takamines TP-4T pre-amp.
I tested the EG450 by itself and then with a band, just to see how it dealt with a more “live” situation. By itself, with no amplification, the EG450 features a very big speaking voice, with plenty of body thanks to its shape and size, and more then enough snap and twang thanks to the maple back and sides. Playing the EG450 finger style was no problem as the strings are spaced out enough that it’s never uncomfortable to play, but they aren’t spaced so far apart that it feels like you’re playing a classical guitar. The design is supposed to lend itself well to singers, as it leaves plenty of room for vocals, which it really does well. This guitar really does feel like it was tailor made to sing with, because of its deep bass and snappy treble, it leaves a lot of room in the middle for vocals to fill up, without the guitar ever seeming thin, and without the guitar ever overpowering the singer.
Plugging the EG450 into a P.A and playing with my band proved a fun experiment, as the guitar dealt with volume surprisingly well. Anyone who has ever stepped onstage with a standard acoustic guitar knows that it is like walking into a sonic minefield, at any moment the guitar could just erupt into a harmonic frenzy. The EG450 seemed to cope with it far better then most, this I think had a lot to do with its body woods, as maple is a stiffer tone wood, meaning its harder to cause that annoying harmonic feedback. The guitar did get a little squirrelly at higher volumes, but for practice or a smaller gig, it wouldn’t really need a sound-hole cover. The tone through a Acoustic amp, or a P.A. is pretty amazing, it’s got all of the snap and sizzle that you’ve come to expect from piezo equipped acoustics, but thanks to the TP-4T pre-amp the sound still has plenty of body and power even through a moderately expensive amplifier.
Over all the EG450 is a very amazing guitar, and there aren’t many rivals in its particular price bracket. Because it really does sound nice through a P.A, and it would deal with both live and studio situations like a champ, the EG450SMCSB receives a solid 9 out of 10.
Next in the line up is the EG540DLX which features Sepele back and sides. Sepele has often been branded as “African Mahogany” or some other fun marketing name aimed at people who are attracted to the more traditional tone woods, like big leaf mahogany or the many different species of maple that have found their way into the guitar world. The truth of it is Sepele is a close relative of mahogany, and as the price of traditional big leaf mahogany is sky rocketing, and the public is beginning to be more aware, and more accepting of exotic tone woods in their guitars, Sepele has taken its rightful place next to Koa, Cocobolo and Ovangkol. Thanks to its mahogany like tonal characteristics, the EG540 sounds amazingly like guitars that cost at least twice as much. I tested the EG540 the same way I did the EG450, alone, and then electrified with a band.
By itself the EG540 definitely sounds like a guitar costing at least a grand or so, with a big bold bottom end, sweet singing midrange, and a nice treble zing that never felt thin or tinny. The EG540 lent itself well to finger style playing as it filled the tonal spectrum amazingly well, with plenty of body and structure to its sound, strummed it sounded harmonically complex and dense, which is a great feeling when you need a guitar that really fills out the areas around a singers voice. With a band the EG540 was suited about as well as the EG450, it did need a sound hole cover slightly sooner then the EG450, as its body is a little more harmonically responsive then its maple bodied cousin. The EG540 features Takamines TK40 pre-amp which features a handy notch filter as well as all the typical features of a pre-amp (tuner, bass, middle and treble, gain control). The inclusion of a notch filter means that the EG540 is a handy feature, but once I had put the sound-hole cover in the guitar didn’t seem to have any more problems.
Amplified the guitar had a nice warm sound, with a fat bottom end, a bite-y mid range, and a nice fizzy high end that never sounded plasticy or metallic. It filled its respective role in the band very well, letting me fill out a lot of frequencies without ever stepping on anyone’s sonic toes, so to speak. I loved that the EG540 can be as cheap as a mid range guitar, sound like a fortune and let me know that I’m playing a guitar that isn’t ruining the planet, so to speak, and its because of this that the EG540DLX receives a deserved 10 out of 10.
So there you have it, two great guitars, both at an amazing price. Both of them are equally at home on stage or in the studio, and each looks and feels like a guitar that costs easily twice as much. So why don’t you hurry and get one while supplies last, right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!