Takamine EF300SE-BW review

  • £1103
Beneath that brilliant white finish lurks a solid cedar top and solid mahogany back and sides.

MusicRadar Verdict

If you can go for the looks, this should be a quality electro for the long haul.


  • +

    Slim neck; electric sound; quality tonewoods.


  • -

    Finishes won't suit everyone; acoustic tones need some maturing.

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As the image of the Special Edition Takamine EF300SE-BW sears itself onto your retinas, you're probably thinking, 'Can I really see myself playing a brilliant white electro-acoustic?'

It's all a bit country and western or Christian rock, which is fine if y'all play those styles. If not, don't panic - the EF300SE is also available in a more rebellious black.

"Boosting the High control reveals an infectious sparkle that works brilliantly for fingerpicking and strumming open chords."

Regardless of its paintwork, your EF300SE is built around a solid cedar top and solid mahogany back and sides. You might be more familiar with spruce-topped guitars; to the untrained ear the differences are subtle, but cedar generally produces a warmer tone than spruce, albeit with a little less volume.

That said, the cedar on our test Takamine isn't quite firing on all cylinders yet - there's a distinct lack of warmth and body. As with any solid wood acoustic, though, the tone should mature as the guitar racks up some serious playing mileage.

The going does improve considerably when you run the guitar through an acoustic amp. Not many people know this, but Takamine pioneered active onboard preamps with slider controls.

True to form, there's a quartet on the EF300SE's CT-4BII preamp: Low, Mid, High and Volume. There's a chromatic tuner, too, which can be used whether the guitar is connected to an amp or unplugged.

Tweaking the sliders, you can dial in the body and bottom end that's missing from the unamplified tone. Boosting the High control reveals an infectious sparkle that works brilliantly for fingerpicking and strumming open chords.

Playability is also great. Takamine was one of the first acoustic guitar manufacturers to target electric players. So, even if you spend your every waking hour scorching the fingerboard on a thin-necked shred machine, the EF300's slim C neck profile and low action should make you feel at home.

The cutaway offers great access to upper frets if you're into venturing far up the fingerboard.

Takamine is releasing just 12 examples of the EF300SE-BW to its dealers each month. The same goes for the black version. However, even if they're a bit thin on the ground, there are still deals to be had so shop around.

You might spot a third finish option on your travels as well. The natural EF300W, limited to a production run of 200, comes with a spruce top and striking black flamed mahogany back and sides.

Like most of the Takamine electro-acoustic guitars we've tried, the EF300SE-BW is at its happiest when amplified. In this case, it's just as well given that the acoustic tone is still snoozing. That situation will improve, though.

In the meantime, you should be content with the EF300SE-BW's pro-quality amplified tone and excellent playability. You just have to decide if you play acoustic often enough to justify its price tag - and then pick a finish.