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The name Takamine needs no introduction when it comes to steel-string acoustics – but where do they stand in the world of nylon-stringed classical guitars? While their small range of classical models is less talked about, the Japanese brand certainly know how to build a quality nylon-stringed guitar that performs. And the TC132SC electro-acoustic is one of Takamine’s premium classical models, and sits firmly on our list of the best acoustics under $1500. Worth your time? Let’s find out.
The body of this TC132SC is very traditional in appearance, with a familiar classical shape and single cutaway, nodding to the fact that this model is built to perform. Takamine use some good tonewoods in the construction of this mid-range guitar, with a solid cedar top and solid rosewood on the back, while a rosewood laminate is used for the sides. The top features fan bracing, while the whole body is finished in a natural gloss.
The mahogany neck joins the body at the 12th fret, but the cutaway gives good access to the 15th fret and beyond. With a nut width of just over 2”, the fretboard is made of rosewood, and features 19 frets in total. All in all, the guitar doesn’t stray far from the norm, but is elegant and highly playable, and shows off good craftsmanship from the workers at Takamine’s pro series facility in Japan.
This guitar comes with Takamine’s CTP-1 CoolTube preamp, although some merchants offer the slightly upgraded CTP-3 system. The CoolTube – as the name suggests – is Takamine’s innovative and unique onboard tube preamp system, which ensures the tube remains cool so it doesn’t damage the woods. This system comes complete with versatile controls including a 3-band EQ, volume control, and built-in chromatic tuner.
The rest of the guitar’s hardware is pretty standard – nothing exceptional, but all solid and worthy of inclusion on a classical guitar in this price range. There’s a rosewood bridge with a standard bone saddle, a bone nut, gold-plated tuning machines, and is shipped with a decent hardshell case.
Acoustically, the TC132SC shows off a strong voice thanks to the fan bracing on the top and the rosewood back. Its tone is very soothing – crisp and articulate, but with plenty of warmth courtesy of the combination of cedar and rosewood in the body construction. That warmth is beautifully amplified thanks to the CoolTube system, and remains natural in tone no matter how loud you go, with the controls adding versatility to the sound when plugged in.
Takamine’s TC132SC is a real solid choice, with a sound that lends itself well for any style of classical music, with playability that will impress guitarists at any level. The tonewoods are excellent, the craftsmanship is adept, and the hardware is certainly geared towards performers. For the mid-range price, this really is a great value guitar.