Takamine GJ72CE-12 Review – Big, Bold 12-String Tone

4.8 out of 5 stars

You don’t have to be an expert to know that Takamine makes a mean acoustic guitar – no matter how many strings there are. Today’s featured model, the electro-acoustic GJ72CE-12, is a testament to this and a great example of what they can do with a midrange budget in the 12-string guitar market. Worth a closer look? We think so!

Body & Neck

Starting with the design and there’s no hiding that the GJ72CE-12 is a jumbo acoustic, with a 25.4” scale length and a hefty body. This is made from an X-braced solid spruce on the top, along with a flamed maple laminate on the back and sides. There are two finishes to choose from – one showing off the spruce and gorgeous flamed maple in its natural state (our personal favorite), while the other enrobes the body in a vintage gloss sunburst.

Whatever finish you pick, Takamine keeps the overall design pretty clean and uncluttered. Yet they have still added a few elegant details to keep it in competition with some of its peers, including the abalone ‘reversed mountain’ inlay at the 12th fret, matched with an attractive abalone rosette.

The neck is a pleasure to play, with a slim C shape carved from solid maple, with a glossy finish and a lovely bound laurel fretboard. This offers 20 frets, which are all easy to get to thanks to the cutaway in the body. For an affordable midrange model, this guitar is built to last – not that we have come to expect anything less from the respected Japanese brand.

Hardware

Takamine have loaded the GJ72CE-12 with their own TK-40D preamp system, which proves one of the more versatile systems you will come across on an electro-acoustic guitar – especially in this relatively affordable price range. Along with the standard gain controls and 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble), the system features a mid contour switch, EQ bypass switch, and a notch filter control. The result is that you’ll barely have to touch your amp while performing, while the built-in tuner is the icing on the cake, especially considering the additional six strings you’ll need to tweak.

Aside from electronics, the GJ72CE-12 features a set of very elegant gold-plated diecast tuning machines with white pearl buttons, which keep hold of the strings nicely with a smooth operation. The bridge matches the fretboard with a laurel construction, on which sits a split bridge saddle, while the nut is made from a synthetic bone. It’s a bit of a shame the guitar doesn’t come shipped with a case or gig bag, but Takamine has added value in other areas, so it’s not a big flaw.

Sound

While it’s a looker and plays like butter, the highlight of the GJ72CE-12 is its beautiful sound – of which there is plenty! The tone is just lovely, with ringing low-end and balanced trebles, all very clear and warm. With the generous jumbo body, the unplugged projection is massive. It’s a rhythm guitarist’s dream with a big, robust, room-filling sound that also comes across very naturally when replicated through the TK-40D system. It’s not equipped with the strongest pickup around, but the versatile preamp makes it a worthy system if you are looking for flexibility in your onboard sound shaping.

The Verdict

If you’ve read this review, there should be little surprise to find out that we love the GJ72CE-12. For the midrange price, it’s an impressive guitar that will serve both casual home players and stage performers very well indeed. It offers a very solid playing experience, which is matched by an all-round beautiful sound. One strum and you’ll be hooked!

For more info about the Takamine GJ72CE-12, click here.
For more 12-string acoustic guitars, click here.


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