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September 11, 2007 | Reviewer: Marcel Yammouni
Distributor: PRO MUSIC

Tak_eg523sc_frontNestled at the base of Takamine Mountain in Sakashita, Japan, Takamine Guitars have over 40 years of history dedicated to the art and craft of guitar making. Many renowned guitar players such as Pete Townsend, Paul Jackson Jr, Bruce Springsteen and Nils Lofgren use Takamine guitars. It’s interesting that one of the most popular guitars in the country music scene is Takamine, a Japanese company. I remember meeting Troy Cassar-Daley who in my opinion is an underrated guitarist and a fabulous singer and he was picking away at his trusted Takamine small body acoustic.

Takamine are known for their high quality range of acoustic guitars, producing their own distinctive sound. Bright, clean and loud is usually the way with Takamine. I’ve been fortunate enough to play some really good ones over the years.

The guitar I’m reviewing for this issue is the Takamine EG523SC, which is a Jumbo Cutaway. It features a solid spruce top with flamed maple back and sides. It also features a Rosewood fingerboard and maple neck.
It’s seems that Takamine are really wanting to compete energetically in the ‘just over $1000’ category at the moment. The EG523SC is one of Takamine’s guitars that is produced out of their Korean factory, and therefore is able to compete with the likes of Cort, who are also building really good stuff in this price range.

The Takamine EG523SC has a great sound acoustically. The Jumbo body style provides a loud and rich sound with plenty of bottom end throw and zing in the top end. The flamed maple back and sides plus an abalone rosette make it flash in the stage lights too. The EG523SC is a very aesthetically pleasing instrument. The one I have is a natural gloss finish but also comes in a range of other colours such as red and blue gloss and even black Very nice indeed.
So to test this guitar out, a bit of flat-picking was first on the agenda. Next, some loud and hard strumming. I mean I gave this thing a real wack. Straight away I was impressed with the fact that this guitar didn’t choke even when I unleashed hell on it. Don’t worry I didn’t hurt it, but I had to gauge its breaking point. I think you loud strummers out there are going to dig this one. Next was some light finger picking. Keeping in mind this is a mid priced guitar, the fact that I was finger picking a Jumbo acoustic, the notes were focused and clear, testament to the build quality.

I did though find the action a little tight. Playing single stringed lead lines were a little more challenging than I usually like. I tend to be a light-ish player on an acoustic. I find laying into it too much doesn’t do the sound of the guitar any good. I’m sure as I said before there are going to be times when laying into is an absolute must. But hey each to their own.

The purpose of the guitar’s separated saddle is for accuracy of intonation. It certainly delivers in that department. The intonation is really good. You can really notice it when you’re playing chords from the twelfth fret upwards. This really comes in handy when you’re recording acoustic guitars in the studio under a microscope, so to speak.

The TK-40 pre-amp has some nice features including a guitar tuner, (which I think is a neat idea) a three band EQ with notch filter and all the usual stuff. The sound of the pickup is quite bright sounding, as opposed to warm.
So as an all round guitar for an intermediate to semi-professional guitarist I couldn’t really go past the EG523SC. It sounds and looks great and holds it’s tuning extremely well. If you told me the guitar was in the $2000 mark, I’d have no problem believing you. It really gives companies like Cort and Tanglewood etc a run for their money. It’s certainly worth having a look.

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