Takamine GY11ME Review - Acoustic-Electric Parlor Guitar

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$450
Takamine GY11ME

Specifications

  • 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"

Gearank Recommended

The GY11ME first appeared on our recommended list for Parlor Guitars in March 2022 where it remains today.

See our Current Recommendation

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.

Takamine GY11ME Headstock

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.

Takamine GY11ME Grain

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.

Takamine GY11ME on a Guitar Stand

Pros

  • Easy on the hands beginner-friendly playability
  • Its compact body makes it more comfortable to use, and easier to store or carry around.
  • Great looking vintage style aesthetics with its square tapered slotted headstock.
  • Distinct mid-focused voicing that works great for blues, rock and older musical styles, while still able to handle modern songs that younger students prefer.
  • Reliable tuning and intonation
  • Proven beginner friendly durability, thanks to its solid build quality

Cons

  • Not as full sounding as bigger acoustics
  • After around 3 years of use, the built-in preamp and pickup system started having problems, and I ended up replacing it with a Fishman Sonitone.
  • 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.

Overall

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.

See our Current Recommendation

Demo

About the Author

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.