Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: NZ Rockshop
Features: Takamine D (Dragon) series are typically entry level guitars, this particular one being made in China in 2009.
It has a rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets and a naturally finished mahogany 25.5" scaled neck. The back and sides are also mahogany, and it has a spruce top with a tobacco sunburst finish. The body is Takamine's NEXC/Auditorium style and the 9V battery operated preamp (Takamine TP-4T) possesses a tuner, three band equaliser, and volume control. The output jack is located in the strap button.
The tuners, unbranded but assumed to be Takamine, are enclosed and non-locking. They're worm driven style gears, as you would find on most modern acoustics, actuated by large polished pegs, which complete the simplistic but elegant appearance of this guitar.
I have rated this 8/10 due to the fact it comes with everything a guitar in this price range should be expected to come with. But a hard case would have been a nice addition. // 8
Sound: Having owned this guitar for a month now, the sound still makes my skin tingle. Unplugged, it sounds delicate, but it has volume and presence to project its wonderful tone over a small group of singng friends. This guitar is very strong in the mid/high range but still possesses enough bass to give it a well balanced sound.
Because this is my first acoustic/electric I have been playing it through my Vox AD60VT. As this is a modeling amp it has allowed me the versatility to find many accents, though I can't truly comment on how it sounds plugged into an Acoustic amp. I can say though that the equaliser allows for easy and predictable adjustment of tone, with a lot of versatility. The battery has not died yet.
I compared this guitar to a g-series Takamine of the same specs, but with a little more detail to finish (i.e. more binding, nicer inlays) and asking for a ton of extra cash. They sounded the same, which lead me to purchase the d-series with no regrets. Since I started playing guitar I have loved the sound of Takamine NEXC bodied guitars, one has been on my wish list since then. So for sound quality:price ratio I rate 10/10. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: As for factory setup, the neck is straight but the action is slightly high. I have decided to keep the action the way it is for now to strengthen my fingers, but when the next string change is done I will lower the action a tad.
The neck has a natural satin finish which my fretting hand can glide over. This is one of the reasons I chose the d-series over the g-series, as I preferred the satin to a glossy neck which stuck to my hand. There is not a flaw in the mahogany on back and sides, which has a beautiful grain that is brought out even further by its glossy finish with cream binding. The tobacco sunburst on the spruce top with pinstriped rosette finishes the appearance off. It comes across as elegant, but simplistic with its pearloid dot inlays and silver hardware. I could not ask for much more in a finish, except for slightly more detailed inlays. // 9
Reliability & Durability: The build quality is good and solid, and I foresee no problems with any hardware in the near future. The one strap button also houses the output jack which is held on by three screws on the butt of the guitars body, it feels robust and I haven't sensed an ounce of movement in it, yet. The finish is thick but I have only had this guitar for a month so cannot comment on its hardiness. As for gigging, I'm sure it would be fine, but I am just a recreational player and can't accurately comment.
I give this an 8 as I feel this guitar is extremely robust, and that the battery life is good, however it's too soon to tell. I am very picky about Who handles my gear and how it gets treated, so I picture this guitar lasting a lifetime in my hands. // 8
Overall Impression: I play rock, blues, metal, alternative, punk, and post punk but I bought this guitar so I could have an Acoustic in my arsenal that wasn't a fixer upper. It suits my style fine, and works especially well for many of the unplugged Nirvana, Alice in Chains styles of music I enjoy playing. I've been learning guitar for 2 years now and mostly own electrics, with a small classical guitar I found badly damaged and proceeded to repair. I am entirely satisfied with my purchase and would definitely purchase this guitar or another similar Takamine again, I would recommend this brand to people of all skill levels and ages. It stays in tune, sounds wonderful, plugged and unplugged, looks beautiful (so so beautiful, and smells good too).
I was worried at first that being a d-series entry level guitar I might find later on that they'd somehow skimped the build as it didn't matter to a newbie, but would to a seasoned player. However this is not the case, the build quality meets the standards of Takamine's g-series guitars, the difference being d-series are made in China.
I also compared this to a Crafter I found in another store, but it sounded weak, it's finish was beautiful though (though this is worth nothing if your guitar sounds like junk), and it came with a price tag I wasn't happy with which they wouldn't negotiate. I chose this guitar due to its good quality build, Takamine tone that I've always liked, good price, and beautiful but conservative finish. Only thing that could have made it better would be a case included with the guitar, preferably hard.
My impression of this guitar is that it's a star, and I love it. Completely satisfied with this purchase. // 10