Takamine GY11ME Review - Acoustic-Electric Parlor Guitar
- Body Shape: New Yorker Parlor
- Top: Mahogany
- Back and Sides: Mahogany
- Finish: Natural Satin
- Bridge: Laurel
- Neck: Mahogany
- Neck Profile: Soft-C
- Fingerboard: Laurel
- Fingerboard Radius: 12"
- Number of Frets: 21
- Frets to Body: 14
- Scale Length: 24.8”
- Nut Width: 1.67"
Takamine GY11ME Review
Takamine is known for stage ready yet reasonably priced acoustic-electric guitars, so when I saw the GY11ME at our local store, I immediately checked it out.
I was initially drawn to its classic aesthetics, especially its nice looking square tapered slotted headstock, which matches its "New Yorker" parlor style body. This was a big deal to me because Takamine usually employs their regular headstock shape on their acoustics. The top, back and sides are crafted from mahogany, wrapped in natural satin finish that showcases nice wood grain patterns.
Given its tonewood configuration and shape, it produces a warm midrange focused tone that suits my preferred styles of music, which include blues, gospel, rock and the like. For plugging in, Takamine equipped it with a TP-4T pickup and preamp system, which has essential controls including 3-band EQ and gain, as well as a nifty built-in tuner.
Another factor that made me decide to get this parlor guitar is its easy playability, thanks to its beginner-friendly specs, including shorter scale length, flat fretboard radius and narrow nut width. At the time, I was looking for a good pickup-equipped acoustic that's easy enough to play for my son, who I trained to play on a 3/4 size nylon string guitar. So it made perfect sense to get the GY11ME - my son gets a student-friendly acoustic, and I can finally get a nice looking parlor guitar as a beater instrument at home.
Thankfully, the transition into steel string went smooth for my son, and we both ended up using the GY11ME for practice and even on stage.
Fast forward to today, the GY11ME is still our go-to guitar at home, surviving hours and hours of practice, and it has seen action in many church services, school events, gigs, and home recordings.
Note that while this version of the GY11ME is still available, Takamine has a new version with sapele body, slightly different specs, and a regular (not-slotted) headstock.
Playability is the main edge of the Takamine GY11ME, it was way easier on the hands compared to regular-sized acoustics. So much so that I ended up spending more time with it than my other acoustics, which included a dreadnought and an OM Martin. Being compact also makes it more convenient to play, it was easier to pickup and store back on a guitar stand or case. While it may not have the fullness and clear sound of bigger acoustics, the GY11ME's warm tone works nicely for old school musical styles, while still able to handle the type of songs that younger students prefer. It also helps that the guitar looks more premium than it actually is. Finally, I never had any problem with its tuning and intonation, it remains reliable and solid even after getting dings and scratches from years of regular use.
After around 3 years of use, I ended up replacing the built-in preamp and pickup system with a Fishman Sonitone, because the original started to have issues. It would've been nicer if it the top was solid mahogany, but it probably wouldn't be as beginner friendly in terms of price and reliability.
The Takamine GY11ME scratched my parlor guitar itch with its classic appeal, smooth action and bluesy tone, highly recommended if you're into similar musical styles and guitar aesthetics. It can also be a great starter or second guitar for students who are looking for an easy to play and reliable stage-ready instrument.
This will give you an idea of how the GY11ME sounds in recordings - I layered the parts 'live' using a Boss RC-300 Loop Station.
The GY11ME first appeared on our recommended list for Parlor Guitars in March 2022 where it remains today.