|Body And Neck:|
It’s time to take a look at another small guitar! This time it’s an interesting model that has found its way onto our chart of the best small guitars on the market – the GX18CE-NS, from the respected Japanese brand Takamine. There is plenty to talk about, including the slightly contradictory fact that it is a ‘mini-jumbo’ as well as an electro-acoustic model… Let’s dive straight in.
Starting with the shape, the GX18CE-NS features Takamine’s distinctive NEX body, which is essentially a jumbo body scaled down to fit the dimensions of a dreadnought. In turn this makes the GX18CE-NS a jumbo scaled down to fit the dimensions of a 3/4-size guitar! Somewhat confusing, but rest assured that this makes for a comfortable guitar to hold and play for smaller guitarists. For the record, it has a 22.5” scale length and a body length of around 18”.
This body is made of laminated mahogany, along with a solid spruce top, with a cutaway on the treble side. This cutaway allows for great access right up the fretboard. This is a 21-fret laurel fretboard fixed onto a sleek satin-finished three-piece mahogany neck. With black body binding, and a refined black and white soundhole rosette, the guitar feels sophisticated and uncluttered. The fit and finish – as you may expect from a Takamine (even a mass produced one) – is excellent. It certainly feels worthy of taking out public, which is a feeling that’s reinforced by the hardware.
On that note, the GX18CE-NS features Takamine’s TP4T preamp system, offering 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble sliders), volume and a built-in tuner on an easy-to-use control panel. A solid system that’s well worthy of plugging in for performance.
The rest of the hardware on this cute little guitar stands up to scrutiny, with six sealed chrome tuners atop the headstock (not the nicest to use, but hold the tuning well), a laurel bridge and two strap buttons on the body, making it easy to fix a strap to. Finally, note that this guitar also comes with a good Takamine-branded padded gig bag with backpack straps, which is a handy addition for travelling to and from lessons, performances and further afield!
The GX18CE-NS has a pretty decent voice – not the loudest, and lacks a bit of oomph in the bass, but punches above its weight in terms of projection for a small guitar. Although note that it’s not the most forgiving for heavy strummers, and digging in with a pick usually results in a cluttered sound. Still, there is no problem obtaining volume through the preamp and this system provides a good replication of the guitar’s natural tone, which is sweet, clear and bright
The GX18CE-NS is well worth considering if you are a smaller handed player wanting to perform live through an amp, without the hassle of using a mic. The same goes for players who want to travel with an electro-acoustic. The GX18CE-NS looks the part, is fun to play and – while falls a little short in some aspects of the sound department – is still a pretty great guitar for the price.