Martin vs Takamine Acoustic Guitars: Which Should You Buy?


Martin and Takamine are very well-known acoustic guitar brands, but which one should you choose? In this article, I’ll be comparing the two brands ranges to identify differences in the tones, value for money and options available so you can decide if you should go for a Martin or Takamine acoustic guitar next.

The Quick Answer

Martin acoustic guitars tend to be more expensive than Takamine guitars when comparing high-end models. Martin make their guitars in Mexico and the USA whilst Takamine produce their guitars in China and Japan. Martin’s range is larger than Takamine’s and also caters for more budgets.

Brand Overview

Before we jump into the comparisons, I wanted to kick off this article with a brief overview of the guitars offered by Martin and Takamine.

Martin

Martin divide their range into several “series” which are grouped according to the price. Here is the list from the most affordable to most expensive options:

  • Junior Series
  • X-Series
  • Road Series
  • 15-Series
  • 17-Series
  • Standard Series
  • Modern Deluxe Series
  • Authentic Series
  • Custom Series

Within each series you can find several different shapes. Here is the list starting with the smallest guitar shape.

  • 0
  • 00
  • 000 (Auditorium)
  • OM (Orchestra)
  • GP (Grand Performance)
  • M (Grand Auditorium)
  • D (Dreadnought)
  • J (Jumbo)

Here are images (all link to Amazon) of some of the different Martin shapes.

Dreadnought

GP

0

00

000

Takamine

Takamine guitars range from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand. The most affordable series is the G series, whilst the Pro series is the most premium.

They make several main acoustic/ acoustic-electric guitar body shapes:

  • Dreadnought
  • Jumbo
  • Thinline: thinner mid-sized acoustic
  • NEX: scaled-down jumbo
  • FXC: small body, well suited to finger-style
  • OM: small body with short scale length
  • New Yorker: smallest shape, parlour style

Here are some images (all link to Amazon) to show the different shapes.

NEX (with cutaway)

FXC (with cutaway)

Dreadnought

Jumbo

OM

New Yorker

Comparable Shapes

So you can get an idea of which models are comparable, here’s how I would divide them:

  • Small Body: 0 and 00 models for Martin and FXC and New Yorker for Takamine
  • Mid-Sized: 000, OM, MP and M for Martin and OM, NEX and Thinline for Takamine
  • Dreadnought
  • Jumbo and Super Jumbo

Comparing the Tones

It’s pretty difficult to compare the tones of two entire brands, particularly when they include hundreds of models! However, in general Takamine guitars tend to have a brighter tone with more treble whilst Martin guitars sound more warm and rounded with more pronounced bass frequencies.

Keep in mind that the shape and tone wood used is the most important thing to consider here. A spruce/ mahogany Martin Jumbo will sound completely different than a Koa Jumbo by Takamine. As will a dreadnought sound very different to a parlour shape guitar.

The best thing to do, is to identify the models in your price range and try them in the store so you can figure out which sounds best to you.

Check out my comparison of Taylor and Martin acoustic guitars next!

Country of Manufacture

Martin guitars are made in Mexico and the USA and Takamine guitars are made in China and Japan.

  • Takamine make their G-series models (up to $700) in China and their Pro series in Japan (starting at around $1300).
  • Martin make most models under $1300 in Mexico and produce their high-end lines in America (over $1300).

Some players want an American-made model as the country has a very good reputation for producing high quality guitars. However, Japan is also very well known for producing excellent quality guitars. I tend to focus less on the country of origin and more on how the instrument feels and sounds.

It’s all personal preference though, you need to choose a guitar which makes you the happiest, and if it needs to be made in America to do it, then Martin is your best bet here!

The Ranges

In this next section I wanted to take a deeper dive into the Takamine and Martin ranges. I have made these tables to compile the specifications of pretty much every currently available 6-steel string guitars (non-custom shop/ limited edition) and all prices are from Guitar Center/ Sweetwater and are correct the time of writing to the nearest $5 but may be subject to change.

There’s a table for each main shape and they are all ordered from the lowest to the highest price. The tables are massive so it’s really not necessary to look at every entry, but you can use them to identify models in your budget to compare more closely.

Guitar Center are always the first place I look at when I’m interested in a new acoustic guitar because have a huge range of models for sale and always have some excellent deals on. Here’s a link to take you directly to Guitar Center’s acoustic guitar range so you can see all the offers available at the moment. 

Categories:

  • Dreadnought
  • Jumbo and Super Jumbo
  • Mid-Sized
  • Smaller Body

Dreadnought

GuitarAcoustic-ElectricOriginTop WoodBack and SidesPrice
Takamine GD20NoChinaCedarMahogany$330
Takamine GD20CE-NSYesChinaCedarMahogany$490
Martin D-X1E HPLYesMexicoMahogany/ Spruce/ KoaMahogany/ Koa$500
Martin DJr-10 SitkaNoMexicoSpruceSapele$500
Takamine GD30CEYesChinaSpruceMahogany$500
Martin Custom X1AEYesMexicoSpruceRosewood$600
Martin D-X2EYesMexicoSpruce/ SapeleRosewood/ Mahogany/ Ebony$600
Takamine GD93CEYesChinaSpruceWalnut and Maple$700
Martin DC-X2EYesMexicoSpruceMahogany/ Ebony$700
Martin D10E-01 Road SeriesYesMexicoSapeleSapele$800
Martin D-10E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceSapele$850
Martin Special 11E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceMahogany$1000
Martin Special DNoMexicoSpruceSapele$1000
Martin D-15MNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1300
Martin D-12EYesMexicoSpruceSapele$1300
Martin D-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceSiris$1300
Martin D-13E ZiricoteYesMexicoSpruceZiricote$1350
Takamine P2DCYesJapanSpruceSapele$1400
Martin DC-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceMutenye$1400
Martin D-15M StreetMasterNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1400
Martin DSS-15M StreetMasterNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1400
Takamine P3D/ DCYesJapanCedarSapele$1450
Takamine Legacy EF341SCYesJapanCedarMaple$1500
Martin DSS-17NoUSASpruceMahogany$1600
Martin Special D/ DC OvangkolYesUSASpruceOvangkol$1600
Takamine P4DCYesJapanSpruceMahogany$1650
Martin Special 16 StyleYesUSASpruceRosewood$1700
Martin D-16EYesUSASpruceMahogany/ Rosewood$1750
Takamine EF340S-55YesJapanSpruceMahogany$1800
Takamine P5DCYesJapanSpruceRosewood$1850
Takamine EF341DXYesJapanCedarMaple$1900
Takamine EF360GFYesJapanSpruceRosewood$1900
Martin Special CarpathianYesUSASpruceBlackwood$1900
Martin D-18NoUSASpruceMahogany$2500
Takamine CP5D-OADYesJapanSpruceOvangkol$2750
Martin Special 18 Style VTSNoUSASpruceMahogany$2800
Martin D-28NoUSASpruceRosewood$3000
Martin HD-28NoUSASpruceRosewood$3200
Martin D-35 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$3200
Martin Special 28 Style AdirondackNoUSASpruceRosewood$3300
Martin Custom DreadnoughtNoUSASpruceDreadnought$3500
Martin HD-28E-Z StandardYesUSASpruceRosewood$3600
Martin D-18E Modern DeluxeYesUSASpruceMahogany$4000
Martin D-18 Modern DeluxeYesUSASpruceRosewood$4000
Martin Special 28 Style BearclawNoUSASpruceRosewood$4095
Martin Special 35 Style BearclawNoUSASpruceRosewood$4435
Martin D-28E Modern DeluxeYesUSASpruceMahogany$4700
Martin D-41NoUSASpruceRosewood$5000
Martin D-42NoUSASpruceRosewood$6200
Martin D-18 Authentic 1939 AgedNoUSASpruceMahogany$6800
Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 AgedNoUSASpruceRosewood$6900
Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 VTS AgedNoUSASpruceRosewood$8000
Martin D-45 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$9500
Martin vs Takamine Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

Jumbo and Super Jumbo

GuitarAcoustic-ElectricOriginTop WoodBack and SidesPrice
Takamine GJ72CEYesChinaSpruceMaple$630
Takamine GN77KCEYesChinaKoaKoa$700
Takamine P1JCYesJapanCedarSapele$1350
Takamine P3MCYesJapanCedarSapele$1450
Takamine RF740FS-TTYesJapanSpruceSapele$2250
Takamine P6JCYesJapanSpruceMaple$2550
Martin J-40 JumboNoUSASpruceRosewood$4200
Martin vs Takamine Jumbo and Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitars

Mid-Sized

GuitarAcoustic-ElectricOriginTop WoodBack and SidesPrice
Takamine GN20NoChinaCedarMahogany$330
Takamine GN30NoChinaSpruceMahogany$360
Takamine GN20CEYesChinaCedarMahogany$490
Takamine GN30CEYesChinaSpruceMahogany$500
Martin 000 Jr-10NoMexicoSpruceSapele$500
Martin Special 000 X SeriesYesMexicoRosewoodRosewood$500
Takamine GN51CE NEXYesChinaSpruceWalnut$550
Martin Special C Series Style 000YesMexicoHPLHPL$550
Martin OMC-X1E HPLYesMexicoHPLHPL$550
Takamine GN71CE NEXYesChinaSpruceWalnut$600
Martin GPC Special Koa X SeriesYesMexicoKoaKoa$600
Martin Custom 000-X1AEYesMexicoSpruceRosewood$600
Martin 000-X2EYesMexicoSpruceMahogany$600
Martin Special 000 X1AE StyleYesMexicoSpruceMahogany$600
Martin 000 Jr-10EYesMexicoSpruceSapele$650
Takamine GN93CE NEXYesChinaSpruceWalnut and Maple$700
Martin GPC-X2EYesMexicoSpruceRosewood/ Ebony/ Mahogany$700
Martin Special 000 Cutaway X StyleYesMexicoHPLHPL$750
Martin 000-10EL Road SeriesYesMexicoSapeleSapele$760
Martin Special GPC 10 Road SeriesYesMexicoSapeleSapele$800
Martin Special 000 All-SolidNoMexicoSpruceSapele$1000
Martin GPC-11E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceSapele$1000
Martin Special GPC All-SolidYesMexicoSpruceSapele$1000
Martin 000-12E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceKoa$1300
Martin 000-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceSiris$1300
Martin 000-15MNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1300
Martin GPC-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoSpruceMutenye$1400
Martin GPC-13E ZiricoteYesMexicoSpruceZiricote$1400
Takamine P1NCYesJapanCedarSapele$1350
Martin StreetMaster 000-15MNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1400
Takamine Thinline TS9138YesJapanSpruceSapele$1450
Martin Special OMC USA Performing ArtistYesUSASpruceOvangkol$1500
Takamine Legacy EF508KCYesJapanKoaKoa$1550
Martin OMC-15MEYesUSAMahoganyMahogany$1600
Martin 000-17NoUSASpruceMahogany$1600
Martin 000-15SMNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1600
Martin Special GPC 15MEYesUSAMahoganyMahogany$1600
Martin Special GPC Performing Artist OvangkolYesUSAOvangkolOvangkol$1600
Martin GPC-16EYesUSASpruceRosewood$1800
Martin 000-16EYesUSASpruceGranadillo$1800
Martin 000-17EYesUSASpruceMahogany$1800
Takamine P5NCYesJapanSpruceRosewood$1850
Martin OME-Cherry OrchestraYesUSASpruceCherry$2000
Martin OMC-16E OvangkolYesUSAOvangkolOvangkol$2000
Takamine TSP-158CYesJapanSpruceMaple$2150
Takamine TSP178AC ThinlineYesJapanMapleMaple$2400
Takamine TSP178ACKNYesJapanKoaKoa$2400
Takamine P6NC NEXYesJapanSpruceMaple$2500
Martin 000-18NoUSASpruceMahogany$2500
Martin OM-21 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$2800
Martin 000-28 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$2850
Takamine P7NCYesJapanSpruceRosewood$3200
Martin 000-28 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$3200
Martin OM-28 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$3200
Martin OM-28E StandardYesUSASpruceRosewood$3600
Martin OM-28 Modern DeluxeNoUSASpruceRosewood$4000
Martin 000-28 Modern DeluxeNoUSASpruceRosewood$4000
Martin 000-28E Modern DeluxeYesUSASpruceRosewood$4700
Martin OM-42 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$6200
Martin 000-42 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$6200
Martin Authentic Series 1919 000-30NoUSASpruceRosewood$6900
Martin Authentic Series 1919 000-30NoUSASpruceRosewood$11700
Martin vs Takamine Mid-Size Acoustic Guitars

Smaller Body

GuitarAcoustic-ElectricOriginTop WoodBack and SidesPrice
Takamine GF30CE FXCYesChinaSpruceMahogany$500
Martin 0-X1E HPLYesMexicoMahoganyMahogany$500
Takamine GY93 New YorkerNoChinaSpruceWalnut and Maple$520
Martin 00X1AEYesMexicoSpruceMahogany$600
Takamine GY93E New YorkerYesChinaSpruceWalnut and Mahogany$700
Martin 00-15MNoUSAMahoganyMahogany$1300
Takamine P3NY New YorkerYesJapanCedarSapele$1450
Martin 00-18 StandardNoUSASpruceMahogany$2500
Martin 0-18 StandardNoUSASpruceMahogany$2500
Martin CEO-7 00NoUSASpruceMahogany$2700
Martin 00-28 StandardNoUSASpruceRosewood$3200
Martin 00L Fly Fishing ParlorNoUSASpruceAlves$3400
Martin 00-17 Authentic 1931NoUSAMahoganyMahogany$4800
Martin vs Takamine Small Body Acoustic Guitars

Which Should You Choose?

This brings us to the big question, should you go with a Takamine or a Martin? My best advice is to identify models in your price range (using the tables above!) and then try them out in the store. This way you’ll get the best feel for the instrument and be able to get a clear idea of which is the best for you.

A lot of players consider Takamine guitars to be better when looking at models under around $1200, whilst Martin probably have a better reputation when considering the high-end models.

However, I think trying them out in the store is your best option. You can also try and remove any preconceived notions about either brand by asking a friend to play the guitars in the store whilst you have your back turned so you can figure out which you really like the tone of.

Here are a few final points to wrap this article up with:

  • Generally, Takamine guitars sound a bit brighter and Martin guitars sound a bit warmer.
  • Martin has a larger range of guitars, giving you a wider selection of models to choose from compared to Takamine.
  • Martin cater for the mid-range market ($800-$1250) more than Takamine.
  • Martin’s most expensive guitars are more premium than Takamine’s.

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

Recent Posts