|Body And Neck:|
Classical guitars that sound great and are built with attention to detail are usually reserved for the higher-end market. However, many brands are discovering that acoustic guitars don’t need to cost the earth to deliver a great tone and excellent playability. The GC1-NAT from Takamine is a very good example of this change in the market.
The GC1-NAT may be considered a budget classical guitar, but you wouldn’t know it from the quality of the build. Takamine take laminated spruce and mahogany and craft them superbly into the top and body of this fine classical model. Under the hood sits a classical fan bracing pattern to bring out the best tone possible.
Overall, styling is traditional but classy with a gloss natural finish and an inlaid mosaic rosette around the sound hole. Takamine also use mahogany for the neck, with a solid dovetail joint for increased resonance. This neck features a standard laurel fingerboard with a total of 19 frets (12 in the clear).
The hardware on the GC1-NAT is more than capable of enabling great tone, with a 2” synthetic bone nut along with a rosewood bridge that sports a compensated synthetic bone saddle (very important for proper intonation). The tuners are chrome with white pearl buttons, and the quality is typical compared to what you may find on similar classical guitars in the same price range.
One downside (or upside, depending on your point of view) is that there are no electronics included with the GC1-NAT. That means you will have to either use a microphone or buy a separate pickup if you wish to use it in a live setting, and there’s no doubt that having an onboard tuner is always a convenient feature to have. Still, not a deal breaker.
So, you’re saying, ‘Yeah, that all looks great – but how does it sound?’ To that, we reply ‘Pretty doggone good!’
The combination of a spruce top and mahogany back/sides, along with the classical bracing pattern, produces a tone that is warm, balanced and deep. In our opinion, it’s certainly a step above what you may expect from a classical nylon-string guitar in this price range. Notes and chords all ring out true with great clarity. Don’t let the price fool you – the GC1-NAT could easily take on guitars that cost much more in terms of tone.
With a strong construction, handsome design, quality materials and a rich sound that would impress most classical guitar lovers, the Takamine GC1-NAT proves a great choice. What makes it even more attractive is the fact that you can pick one up for under $300. Well worth adding to your shortlist.