World Music Supply | Takamine Guitars

Hey guys it’s Brian with World Music Supply again, here to bring you another dose of guitar and gear reviews. In today’s blog, I got to take a look at two great guitars from our friends over at Takamine. I always love Takamines, they make such consistently good guitars, that sometimes its easy to get caught up in the sound of one, and totally ignore how amazing they look, and how good their build quality is. Today however I got to play a few that just couldn’t be ignored, and the list begins with one of our best sellers right now, the EF340SCGN.

Takamine EF340SCGN Acoustic Electric Guitar

Takamine EF340SCGN Acoustic Electric Guitar

The very first thing you notice about this guitar, is that stunning vintage finished Cedar top, which is an almost caramel or cognac color and is down right beautiful. The workmanship is as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen, and the Nato back and sides are just as handsomely (although a little more subtlety) finished. The guitar also features a real bone nut, and real bone saddle to provide very clear, and resonant tones. Acoustically this guitar has a very vintage character to it, with lots of warm mid tones, sparkly high end, and a nice soft, almost jazzy low end. The neck is a very comfortable shape, and the Indian rosewood fingerboard is amazingly quick. Chords rung out with a distinctive boom, and single note lines had a very clear, defined character to them.

Amplified, this guitar was amazing. Acoustic guitar amplification has come leaps and bounds over the years, and the preamp technology always surprises me, how even with the same pickup, the guitars can sound miles apart based solely on their preamps. Sure, even low end instruments can have a pleasing character to them, but as you move up in quality, the quality of the sound changes dramatically. Sitting high atop the list of Takamines dozens of preamp designs is the Cool Tube series, which uses a small 12AU7 dual triode vacuum tube to help flesh out, and “warm up” the sound of the guitar.

The CT4BII pickup in the EF340SCGN is no different, and the second you hear this guitar, you understand just how important the cool tube is to the sound. The sound through a good acoustic guitar amp, or a good PA cabinet is just spectacular, with a sound that actually rivals the unamplified sound in beauty and clarity. The guitar was surprisingly resistant to feedback, and actually took quite a bit of volume to slide into that typical violent acoustic guitar feedback, and with a soundhole cover applied it took a ton of volume to switch into feedback mode. Tone wise the guitar has a lot like the actual acoustic tone, but with a bit fuller low end, and a slightly warmer sounding high end. Chords had a nice smooth character to them, with almost none of that usual piezo sizzle.

The sound of the EF340SCGN was amazing both amplified and unamplified, with tones that could cover anything you threw at it. For all of that, and its amazing looks, the EF340SCGN earns itself an easy 10 out of 10.

Takamine EF508K Noveau Series Acoustic Electric Guitar Koa

Takamine EF508K Noveau Series Acoustic Electric Guitar Koa

Next up is the Takamine EF508K which has the unusual appointment of having a Figured Koa top. I’ve seen Figured Koa as a back plate, and I’ve seen Figured Koa as sides on a guitar, but I’ve never seen it on a production guitar as a top wood. The reason its so rare as a top wood is because, first off its typically very expensive, as it is only grown in a few places around the world, and the cost tends to go up when it is as curly as the top on the EF508K. The sound of Koa is distinctive, with a lot of sparkly high end, some very warm mids, but not a whole ton of bass. This means it cuts through the mix very well, and helps to support the mix very well without overpowering it.

The feel of the NEXC body is nice, with its slightly smaller body, and a bit more even sound to the guitar, it really compliments all of the Koa in the guitar. Acoustically the EF508K has a pleasing, even sounding voice, with lots of note definition, and sustain. Chords ring out with almost piano like clarity, and they really do sustain for quite a while, far longer than almost any other acoustic I’ve had the pleasure to play thus far in my musical life. The only drawback is that Koa is hardwood, and as such is a slightly quieter wood, so the overall volume of the guitar is slightly quieter than say a spruce top guitar, although the fact it is an electric acoustic makes this point rather moot, as it can actually be as loud as your amplifier is.

The sound acoustically is remarkable, with tons of fantastic warmth and presence. The clarity of the guitar was also just dumbfounding, I was playing big jazz chords, full of 7ths and flat 5ths and there was never any overlay or woofy dissonance, just pure tone. The guitar was a tad bit quieter, athough no quieter than a smaller body size, like a mini jumbo or a parlor, and the guitar was still plenty loud enough to sing with as long as you aren’t really belting.

Amplified, this guitar is breathtaking, the definition and tone are just beyond anything I could have imagined. The sustain lasts far longer than a typical acoustic and the fact the top is made of a hardwood, the guitar is also very feedback resistant. Meaning I could play this guitar without a sound hole cover for quite some time, and at a pretty high volume without the body resonating to the speaker too much.

The EF508K was a downright magnificent guitar, with features well above your average acoustic. The figured Koa sounded like nothing else I had ever heard in an acoustic guitar, and the beauty of it was equally as profound. The EF508K easily earns itself a10 out of 10.

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World Music Supply | Washburn Acoustics

Hey guys, Brian again from World Music Supply, here to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews. In today’s blog I get to take a look at some acoustic guitars from our good friends over at Washburn. Today I am going to cover two of the most popular Washburn acoustic electrics here at WMS, the WD115SWCE and the WJ7SCEBM.

The Washburn WJ7SCEBM Jumbo Matte Black Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Washburn WJ7SCEBM Jumbo Matte Black Acoustic Electric Guitar

First up to bat is the WJ7SCEBM, which is a Jumbo acoustic electric, sporting a solid Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, and a cool, matte black paint job. The WJ7 also sports a Washburn made EQ4-T preamp that sounds surprisingly strident and musical. Unplugged this guitar has a very warm, big tone. Thanks to its jumbo size, and choice of tone woods, you get a luxuriously large sound, with lots and lots of bass, and more than enough mids and highs to keep your sound clean, and pristine. Plugged in this guitar has a very good electric tone, it’s not super accurate to the true sound of the guitar, as it does add a little bit of body to the high end, and gives it a little of that familiar Piezo sizzle, but the sound is close enough that if you weren’t trying to dissect the tone, you probably wouldn’t notice it too much.

The guitar feels great, the neck isn’t super big, but it is nice and chunky, which meant comfortable chording and relaxed riffing. With a band this guitar can be a little hard to handle, as the body is rather sensitive to sympathetic resonance, and so adding a sound hole cover is a must. Once it’s on however, this guitar does a good job of supporting a mix, it doesn’t jump right out of it, at least not without some EQ tweaking, but it does do a great job as a rhythm guitar. For what it is, this guitar would be right at home in a studio or stage setting, and it could easily deal with the stress of the road thanks to its no nonsense paint job, it’s for these reasons that the WJ7SCEBM scores a solid 9 out of 10.

The Washburn WD115SWCE Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Washburn WD115SWCE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Next up for the day is the WD115SWCE which is an all solid wood Dreadnaught with a Solid Spruce top, and Solid Mahogany back and sides, and the whole ensemble is powered by a Fishman Presys 501T blend system with Microphone and under saddle pickup. First off it needs to be mentioned how good this guitar looks, the entire guitar is finished in a sleek looking gloss finish, that is shiny enough to see yourself in, when in the right light. The sound of this guitar unplugged is big, and robust. Chords ring out with far more body than a standard laminate guitar, and added definition of the solid mahogany back and sides gives the guitar an added darkness and much more musical bottom end.

Plugged in, this guitar is a handful. Anyone who has ever used an acoustic with a band knows the danger of having something so resonant around things that can make it resonate, and this guitar is no exception. The solid woods tend to respond to this sonic phenomenon a little bit more so than most, so a sound hole cover is key. The Presys is a blendable system, meaning there is both a small microphone and a saddle Piezo unit. Alone the microphone has a bit of a “boxed in” character, atleast with the sound hole cover on, when its off the sound is a tad bass heavy, but no more so than if you placed a condenser right in front of the sound hole, the secret to the system is mixing this rather bass heavy sound, with the typically treble heavy sound of the Piezo. Used in conjunction this guitar sounds absolutely magnificent amplified, just like a finely mic’d studio sound. As long as you know where to stand on stage, this guitar would work perfectly for most stage work, and would work absolutely amazingly for studio work.

This guitar is by and far one of the best Washburn acoustics I have gotten the chance to play thus far, with its comfortable familiar shape, its sleek, fast neck, and its amazing sound, the WD115SWCE scores itself a deserved 10 out of 10.

The Washburn WD115SWCE Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Washburn WD115SWCE Acoustic Electric Guitar

World Music Supply | Taylor Limited Edition Guitars

Hey guys, its Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and in today’s blog I get to talk to you guys about a few of the amazing new Limited Edition Taylors that are available here at WMS. These Taylors are very limited and as such, I was only able to play them for the briefest of brief reviews, but never the less, I was floored by these guitars.

The Taylor 410CE-TZBK Limited Edition Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Taylor 410CE-TZBK Limited Edition Acoustic Electric Guitar

The first guitar I had the luxury to review, was the 410CE-TZBk, which is a modified version of their standard 410CE guitar, which features a Cedar top, and Tasmanian Blackwood back and sides. I am a sucker for Cedar top guitars, as they just have that classic sound, with warm, dry lows, and springy quick highs, and just the right amount of mids. Now Tasmanian Blackwood is one of those exotic tonewoods that you don’t hear enough of, with a very cool, rather unique sound. Tasmanian Blackwood has a darker sound, slightly reminiscent of rosewood, but with a faster attack, and more presence to it, similar to Koa, and in fact while trying to look up a nice way to word how Blackwood sounds I found it often described as “Koa on Steroids” which I found to be pretty accurate.

The Tasmanian Blackwood back of the 410CE-TZBK

The Tasmanian Blackwood back of the 410CE-TZBK

The Taylor Expression System

The Taylor Expression System

The action is perfect, as Taylors technique of setting the neck is far and above almost any other major acoustic guitar company, and the shape of the neck is beyond perfect for an acoustic guitar, smooth, comfortable, just thin enough, just fat enough. The sound of the guitar unplugged was gigantic, with lots and lots of warm tone, with a quick piano like attack and sustain. Plugged in the tone is exactly the same, thanks to Taylors revolutionary expression system, no Piezo sizzle, no overly boomy body noises, just the sound of the guitar, louder. This guitar is an amazing achievement, both as a stunning work of Luthiery, and as a musical instrument, and as such it would be a crime for me to award it anything but a well earned 10 out of 10.

The Taylor 314CE Limited Edition Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Taylor 314CE Limited Edition Acoustic Electric Guitar

Next up is the 314CE-Koa, which as its name implies features Koa back and sides rather than the usual African Mahogany. This is a slightly smaller guitar style, being a grand auditorium, which has a slightly brighter more present attack, and at the same time, more than enough bottom end to serve it well on stage. The Koa helps to add a little bit of this bottom end, and it does sound a little dryer, and a little more harmonically rich than its non-Koa counterpart. Koa is one of those woods that is used in guitars, but because of its difficulty to work with, and expense it is not seen nearly enough in the guitar industry.

The Koa Back of The Taylor 314CE

The Koa Back of The Taylor 314CE

Unplugged the 314 is amazingly versatile, it has a sound that would be at home onstage with a country band, a rock band, a folk group, R&B the list goes on, it just does anything you ask of it. The neck is absolutely fantastic, as it is the same perfectly set neck as the 410, and you can really move fast and play quick on a guitar like this and not feel weird about it, it never feels like an electric guitar, it always feels like an acoustic just with a lightning fast neck.

Plugged in, this guitar sounded just as wonderful thanks yet again to the Taylor expression system, there is no hint of the myriad of problems that have haunted the world of amplified acoustics for years, instead you get a perfectly acoustic sound, just louder. There is no wonder in my mind why Taylor is one of the reigning champs in the acoustic world right now when you look at these guitars, and just like the 410, it would be a travesty if I didn’t award the 314CE-Koa an honorable 10 out of 10.  

World Music Supply | Washburn Woodline Acoustics

Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I got the chance to test out some more acoustics from our friends over at Washburn. The guitars in question are the WG026SCE, and the WD015SCE, these guitars are unique within the Washburn family in that they both feature unique super thin open pore, and open grain finishes. These thin finishes allow the guitars sound board to vibrate far more freely, as there is less weight and material across the soundboard holding it still. This means the guitars both sound livelier, and far more resonant than their gloss finished counterparts.

The Washburn WG026SCE Grand Auditorium Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Washburn WG026SCE Grand Auditorium Acoustic Electric Guitar

First up to bat in today’s review is the WG026SCE, which is part of Washburns woodline series, and is available in an electric acoustic cutaway (the version being tested today) as well as a non cutaway, and non electric non cutaway version. The combination of the solid cedar top, and the grand auditorium size are just perfect together, as they create a guitar without too much low end boominess, and just enough top end bite to help this guitar really sing out. The thin, open pore finish really does change the way this guitar sounds, which is something I honestly questioned before I actually got my hands on it. You hear claims about thinner finishes making guitars sound worlds better in almost every issue of almost any guitar magazine, and most of the time, it seems like a ton of hog wash, but in the case of this guitar, and likewise with the WD015SCE, I honestly believe it.

The reason I say that it usually seems like hogwash, is because it just seems like one of those magic guitarist things, you know the ones where a guitarist is asked how they get their magical tone and they lists everything from their hand ground titanium tremolo bar, to the tuning keys that were designed and built by some aerospace company in Switzerland. The honest to goodness fact is, that guitarist will probably have their “magical” tone plugged into almost any decent amp, with any decent guitar. Thin finishes on electric guitars do contribute a bit to the overall tone of the guitar, and they contribute to it aging in interesting ways, as the finish and the paint in certain areas will wear through much sooner than a guitar that is just coated in the stuff, but the over all tone of the guitar will still be there, just a little more muted. This thin approach does have a much more dramatic effect when it comes to acoustic guitars however, as suddenly the guitar just comes to life so to speak. Any satin finished acoustic I’ve ever played just had that big, worn in sound, like a guitar that had seen a hundred shows, with big bold bottom end, sweet singing highs, and a sustain that just rings and rings.

The action on this guitar was just fantastic, and playing quick lines on it was simple and comfortable, as the mahogany neck is smooth, easy to play, and not too big, but not too small. The WG026SCE sounds great plugged in too, as the Isys+ preamp translates the electric voice of this acoustic amazingly well, nearly perfectly replicating the natural voice of the instrument. Overall the WG026SCE is one amazing instrument, with a unique finish that helps it sonically stand out from the pack, that combined with its easy playing neck, and sweet electrified tone, earns this guitar a solid 10 out of 10.

The Washburn WD015SCE Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

The Washburn WD015SCE Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Next up is the WD015SCE, which is a limited edition version of the WD15SCE. This guitar also features a unique thin finish, along with its open grain spruce top this guitar has a very distinct sound to it. The WD015SCE has a lot of booming low end, and a lot of crisp, bell like high end, with a tiny bit of glassy midrange kick that helps it project out through a band a little bit better. This guitar has a much different sound than the WD026SCE however, far different than a typical cedar guitar and spruce guitar usually differ, which I think is impart to the lack of heavy lacquer making them sound similar, as these two guitar are like night and day.

The neck is just as fast and sleek as the WD026SCE, with a similarly shaped, and as such similarly comfortable neck profile that is just not too thick, but not too thin to where you start losing tone either. This guitar is also amazingly loud, and resonant too, with far more sustain than any acoustic guitar should have. The sound is quite warm, with the perfect blend from high to low, which is enhanced more by the Fishman Isys+ electronics. The voice of this guitar through a good P.S system or acoustic guitar amp, is just spectacular, although the lack of weight or dampening finish on the sound board does make this guitar a little more susceptible to feedback than normal, although a sound hole cover solves this problem easily.

At the end of the day though, the WD015SCE is just amazing, with tones that are distinct, without being strange, and visuals that are conservative, without being boring. This all comes together to make one amazing guitar, that easily earns itself a 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Ovation Elite Guitars

Hey Guys Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I got the chance to review some awesome gear from our friends over at Ovation. Ovation Guitars has continuously delivered sonically, and technologically powerful instruments, many at prices far below anything else on the market. In today’s blog I got the chance to take a look at some of the models in their elite series, starting with the 1778TX-5GSM Elite T, which from here on out will be referred to as “the 1778”.

The Ovation Elite 1778TX-5GSM Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The Ovation Elite 1778TX-5GSM Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The 1778 was designed in conjunction with jazz guitarist Al Di Meola and acoustic rocker Melissa Etheridge, this guitar was built from the ground up to be a guitarist’s guitar, with everything you could want both in the studio, and especially on stage. The 1778 features a AA solid spruce top, scalloped bracings a mid depth cutaway bowl,  and oddly enough, a hard-rock maple neck which contributes increased high end zing, and sustain.

Its rather uncommon for an acoustic guitar to have a maple neck, and a slim feeling maple neck like this one is very atypical, but that isn’t to say that its incorrect in some way, in fact this guitar sounds great. The added clarity that the maple neck imparts adds a different, bolder character to this guitar, granted this guitar doesn’t have a ton of bass unplugged thanks to the mid depth bowl, but I have no doubt that you could record your fair share of rhythm tracks with a guitar as snappy as this, even unplugged.

Plugged in however, and this guitars design begins to make a whole lot of sense, as the slick, slim nature of the neck lends itself to fast playing better than any acoustic I have ever played, primarily because it now felt more like an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic. The tone of the solid spruce top, translates fantastically through the OP-Pro preamp and OCP-1K pickup, with plently of warm low end, singing mids, and zinging high end response. Lets not forget that this guitar also looks amazing, with its single, spalted ash Epaulet, which contrasts so beautifully against the solid black body. All of these things contribute to the 1778 being one amazing guitar, which more then deserves a 10 out of 10.

The Ovation DS778TX-5 Elite T D-Scale Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Ovation DS778TX-5 Elite T D-Scale Acoustic Electric Guitar

Next up is the DS778TX-5 which is similar in many ways to the 1778, but is very, very different. It still features a great sounding A rated solid spruce top, the same OP-Pro preamp and OCP-1K pickup, and that same great feeling maple neck. The difference is that this guitar is what Ovation calls a D-scale guitar, which means that this guitars over all scale length is 28 and a third inches as opposed to the more traditional 24-25 inch range. This means that this guitar can be tuned down much further without the strings feeling like rubber bands, or having intonation issues.

I know that Ovation intended this guitar to be taken up, and carried into battle along side the ever growing horde of metal bands that are flooding the market place right now, what with its thin fast playing maple neck, blacker than black paint job, and extended low end response. I however found this guitar great for everything from low tuned finger picking tunes, cool Kaki King style experimentation and fun baritone country riffs. I’m sure that this guitar does have its place in the metal world, and playing power chords on it did sound beefy, but not using the extended sonic range of an acoustic guitar always just seemed…wasteful to me.

Unplugged this guitar has a very sprightly sound, with an odd tone, thanks to the lower notes, but higher end zing of the mid depth bowl/ maple neck combo. This means that all of the slick low end riffs, sing out with high end snap, which was surprisingly great at getting this guitar heard over the clamor of a second acoustic guitar, and an acoustic bass. Plugged in however, this guitar suddenly made a lot more sense as a metal guitarists acoustic guitar, as that low end suddenly sung out with deep, booming response. Sure I was still able to pull off my best Don Ross impression, and play weird Kaki King style lines, but the ability of this guitar to lay down quasi-bass riffs with all the punch and authority of any other baritone guitar I have ever played.

This guitar might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does cross an interesting line musically, half way between a metal guitarists acoustic guitar, and an acoustic guitarists baritone guitar, I personally loved it and will probably end up owning one eventually. This is why, despite its plain Jane image, and blacker than black paint job, this guitar gets itself a 10 out of 10.

The Ovation 2058TX-5 Elite T 12-String Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Ovation 2058TX-5 Elite T 12-String Acoustic Electric Guitar

Last up on today’s rundown is the 2058TX-5, which for all intents and purposes is a 12 string version of the 1778, but with a deep contour bowl as opposed to the mid depth version. Typically I try to shy away from acoustic 12 strings, even though I feel like every guitarist should own atleast one 12 string, simply because I know that if I were ever to invest in one, typically after a few years, the top will have ballooned out thanks to the pull of all of those extra strings, but with this ovation I honestly would feel safe owning it. Ovation has made a habit of always creating the perfect guitar top for the job at hand, and this top seems structurally sound enough to stand up to years, and years of abuse.

Acoustically, this guitar has a very modern 12 string sound, with plenty of low end added to those jangling upper octave tones. The sound is full, with lots to offer at every range, tons of low end, tons of mid range, and lots of high end to offer. This is great from everything from strumming some Beatles tunes, to quick experimental octave runs. This guitar has a similar neck profile to the other two in todays review, with that same lighting fast response, making actually playing lines on it a possibility, where as with most 12 strings relegate you to playing open position chords, thanks to generally poor neck construction, high action, and thick necks to help combat both of these problems. Ovation however, has constructed a neck that is flat, with low action, and is more than comfortable all along its length.

Plugged in this guitar has a larger than life sound, with a gigantic sound, easily able to hold its own in almost any situation, and with a band, is more than able to fill out more than enough of the sonic spectrum. I am always skittish about playing, let alone reviewing 12 strings, as my experiences up to this point haven’t been all that fantastic, as building a proper 12 string is an art unto itself, but the 2058TX is a fantastic guitar, and on top of that is a down right flawless 12 string, which is why this guitar earned itself an easy 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Fender Acoustic Guitars

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, to supply you with your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I have a few cool acoustics from our friends over at Fender. Fender has always been a company that really tries to push the limits of what a guitar really is, and in the past they took this mentality to the rather conservative world of acoustic guitars. Many of these guitars went by rather clever monikers, like the Kingman, the Malibu, and the Newporter. Fender tried to introduce their “reinventing the wheel” style of production which had served them so well in the world of electric guitars, basses and amplifiers, however, in the hyper traditional world of acoustic guitars, their efforts failed for much of the companies history. Guitarists just weren’t comfortable having an acoustic with a bolt on neck, or an intonatable metal bridge on their flat top acoustics.

        For many years, Fender just couldn’t figure out what to do to with their acoustic guitar line to make them more acceptable by the mainstream world of guitar players, and it wasn’t until Fender was bought from CBS by FMIC that the quality of their acoustic guitars improved substantially. Nowadays, the acoustic guitars being produced by fender are some of the best selling, and best sounding in the industry. For today’s review I am going to start with the Fender CD-220SCE which features a solid spruce top, laminate ovangkol back and sides, and a fishman pickup system.

The Fender CD-220SCE Solid Spruce Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Fender CD-220SCE Solid Spruce Acoustic Electric Guitar

        The Fender CD-220SCE might seem like a relatively standard acoustic affair, with some relatively standard tones, and some rather typical looks, but while on the surface it looks simple and straight forward, it has so much more depth. The CD-220SCE has a very comfortable neck profile, which is slightly more reminiscent of an electric than a normal acoustic, and the body of the guitar, while being labeled a dreadnought, this guitar feels slightly more slimmed down, and more comfortable than a standard dread. The attached strap button is a nice addition, as surprisingly many acoustic guitars still don’t feature one, and I’ve personally had to install a few on acoustic guitars and am always worried what it will do to the guitars overall value. The inclusion of a strap button makes this guitar extremely comfortable to hold on stage, and the fast playing neck makes it easy to do everything from basic chord work, to lead runs and all the familiar electric guitar style work that acoustic guitars sometimes keep us from executing correctly.

Unplugged this guitar has a very warm tone, with plenty of snap and bite on top. The tone of the CD-220SCE is very modern with lots of bite and chime, the tone is exactly what you would want from a solid spruce guitar, and the ovangkol back and sides add just enough bite to help boost the slightly darker tone of spruce up out of the mix. Plugged in this guitar has a very true acoustic tone, with a nice darker spruce style tone, with enough of that nice piezo sizzle to help really lift your guitar out of the mix. The snappy tone really does a lot for this guitar, and the CD-220SCE is surprisingly resistant to feedback despite the very resonant spruce top.  The CD-220SCE is a nice straight forward acoustic electric, with plenty of modern sound and stage worthy power. For its ability to cover so much ground, at such an affordable price point, the CD-220SCE earns a solid 8 out of 10.

The Fender CD-230 SCE Cedar Top Acoustic Guitar

The Fender CD-230 SCE Cedar Top Acoustic Guitar

Next up is the CD-230SCE which is a slight variation on the CD-220SCE in that this version features a solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides. Cedar features a slightly more vintage sound than spruce does, and has a more “worn in” feel to it, and this guitar features the same super comfortable mahogany neck as the CD-220SCE. Unplugged the CD-230SCE certainly features a more worn in sound than the CD-220, with a lot more mid range warmth. This means that the CD-230 sits in a mix in a nice comfortable place, where it sits along side vocals without taking up any of the frequencies of the singers’ voice, and instead just lives around it.

Plugged in this guitar has a similarly powerful sound to the CD-220SCE, but instead of the darker tone of spruce, the 230SCE has the nice, strident midrange focused tone of cedar, which is great when playing with a band, as it avoids the frequency ranges of the lows of the bass, and the highs of the cymbals, allowing the guitar to cut through the mix with ease. The comfortable neck profile is great for playing lead lines, and the added body in the mix that cedar provides definitely helps fill out the sound, and make your acoustic playing really pop. For its more full bodied tone in comparison to the CD-220, but still retaining the comfortable feel and style, the Fender CD-230SCE earns itself a solid 9 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Takamine Guitars

Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here again, to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I have a great set of acoustic starter packages from our friends at Takamine. as I’ve mentioned in the past,Takamine was founded in 1962 in Sakashita Japan, as a small family business crafting well made acoustic guitars. In all of the years since then, they have kept the tradition of building affordable good quality guitars alive.

More than all of that, the guitars I’m reviewing today are starter kits, meaning they are great first guitars, but more than that these are great guitars to hold on to, great guitars to keep around long after you’ve learned your craft. One of the best pieces of advice I give to people calling in to ask about buying their first guitar is, think about where you’ll be in five years? in ten years? and will this guitar still be what you want? will it still be relevant musically to you? When it comes to guitars like these, that answer is a resounding yes. Beautifully crafted guitars, with good grained spruce tops, and stunningly figured mahogany back and sides, all satin finished for maximum style and comfort. So without further ado, let’s move into the review of the first guitar in the round up.

The Takamine G320-NS

The Takamine G320-NS

First up is the G320-NS, which is a great sounding spruce and mahogany bodied Dreadnought. The Dreadnought is the typical acoustic guitar shape, having been more or less the standard guitar shape since its inception, when it became one of the biggest guitar shapes of the time, and soon became famous for its big, full bodied tones. The G320-NS carries on this illustrious tradition in stride, with its big full sound, and bright chimey top end. This guitar feels great right out of the box, as its satin finished body and neck make it both comfortable, and a super fast playing neck. Now the G320-NS is marketed in a kit, as a starter guitar, but as someone who has been playing guitar for quite some time now, I can solidly say that the G320-NS would be a great guitar for any collection, as it is loaded with tons of great tones, has a great feeling, and great playing neck, and on top of that, it’s a Takamine which means it’s made by one of the leading guitar manufacturers in the world.

This is by and large the most common style of guitar to learn on, as the Dreadnoughts body isn’t too big, or too small, and more comfortable to get accustomed to, than say a flying V. Not only that, the Dreadnought is by and large the most commonly played, and most commonly recorded guitar style, as almost every artist has recorded at least one or two songs with a Dreadnought. When it comes to learning to play guitar, nothing beats lessons, but these can tend to be expensive, and sometimes not as effective as the student would like, which is why Takamine has included an instruction book that includes a  DVD, CD combo pack full of hands on, lesson material to get you started off on a good note. The kit also comes with a deluxe padded gig bag for the guitar, an electric tuner, and a set of picks. For its ability to get any guitarist started off right, and to just be a great playing guitar to add to your collection the G320-NS gets a solid 10 out of 10.

The Takamine G220-NS

The Takamine G220-NS

Next up is the G220-NS which is another great guitar starter kit, but instead of a Dreadnought, the G220-NS is one of Takamines signature shapes called a NEX, which is like a mini jumbo but with smaller shoulders. What this means is the G220-NS has a very even, and overall homogenous voice. So you have a guitar that sounds just as bold at the 12th fret as you do at the 1st. The NEX is also a very focused sounding guitar shape, with bass that is tight and punchy, and a high end that is snappy without being too sharp.

The G220-NS would also be a great candidate for a first guitar, or just another guitar to add to your collection, as the NEX body shape is a little bit different than your average acoustic, it does have a rather distinct voice that is favored by everyone from jazz guitarists, to country players, to even singer songwriters. The clean and focused tone  of the G220-NS makes for a versatile guitar, while never being overbearing or dense sounding, and just like the G320-NS, this guitar comes with an instructional book with a  DVD CD combo pack, a gig bag, a tuner, and a set of picks.

So even if you’ve played a few other guitars, and you’re just looking for something different, or this is your first guitar and you want to stand out from the crowd a bit. The G220-NS with its cool NEX body shape might be right up your alley, with its smooth, warm tones, and its super fast neck, the G220-NS easily snags itself a 10 out of 10.