Takamine TH5C Classical Guitar Review (Acoustic-Electric)

Takamine TH5C Review

If you’ve been reading reviews like it’s your job, trying to find the perfect classical guitar you just might have stumbled across it!

Maybe you need an upgrade or maybe you just fancy giving an acoustic-electric a try.

Either way, the TH5C is one of Takamine’s most popular models under $2000, so brace yourself, you might have found your new classical guitar!

At a Glance…

✔️  What we like: All solid wood guitar with a great preamp system and fantastic, warm tone

❌  What we don’t like: Quite similar to the TC132SC in tone but $300 more expensive

Standout Features:

  • CoolTube (CTP-3) Electronics
  • Piezo pickup
  • Gotoh 35G420 Tuners
  • All solid wood

Our Verdict: This is one of the best sounding classical guitars under $2000 either with or without the pickup. It does sound quite similar to the TC132SC straight out of the box but, as with any completely solid wood instrument, it ages wonderfully and its tone develops over time. The TH5C is a beautiful guitar and it’s an absolute dream to play. I mean, it’s not often you come across a great acoustic-electric classical guitar so when you do you’ve gotta make the most of it!

Who is the Takamine TH5C Best Suited To?

As with most of the guitars I’ve reviewed in the $1000-$2000 price range I’d say the Takamine is best suited to intermediate or advanced players. That’s not to say the TH5C isn’t suitable for beginners, it’s just quite a big investment for new players.

Having said that, it’s a dream to play so if you’re a beginner and you’ve got the budget I would certainly consider this model. Skill level aside, this guitar would be the perfect addition for any busker or performer. It’s got one of the best pickups I’ve ever used!

However, solid wood guitars don’t cope with traveling or hot climates very well so I’d bear that in mind.

Features & Benefits

Body & Neck

I love the luthier’s modern take on the classical guitar shape. I think the TH5C’s cutaway is a gorgeous, yet functional addition (and a great excuse for me to blab on about aesthetics). Playing on the higher register is an absolute breeze and it’s incredibly comfortable to play compared to most traditional classical guitar shapes, in my opinion.

To be honest, the TH5C is pretty affordable for a completely solid wood acoustic-electric guitar. The cedar top and rosewood bottom are a match made in heaven. They give the guitar an incredibly warm, deep tone even without the pickup and the marquetry rosette gives the guitar a traditional Spanish look.

I think the TH5C is quite special!

Hardware

I went into quite a bit of detail about the CoolTube (CTP-3) preamp in my review of the Takamine TC132SC, so you can head over there for a bit more detail. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best preamp at this price point. In fact, I’m surprised it’s not much more expensive.

Ultimately, it allows you to personalize your tone without making the guitar sound unnatural. A word to the wise though, the EQ controls are pretty sensitive so if you’re new to preamps you might get a bit of a shock! It’s also got an onboard chromatic tuner which is a massive plus where I’m concerned. If you click the “tune” button twice, the sound won’t project and you can tune up without the audience hearing. It’s ideal for mid-gig tweaks!

Oh, I also have to mention the tuners. They’re Gotoh 35G420 tuners which are my all-time favorites because they hold tuning so well; another godsend for performers!

Sound

If you read my review of the TC132SC then you’re probably wondering what the difference in sound is between these two guitars. Honestly, they sound pretty similar. The TH5C will age much better (assuming you’re on top of your maintenance) and you can hear its tone developing more and more every time you play. I think the TH5C sounds way better when it’s not amped up.

It’s a better option if you want to play mostly acoustic with the option of amping up if you fancy it. I think it also has slightly better sustain without the pickup but, amped up, there isn’t much in it.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid cedar top, solid rosewood back and sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Darkened rosewood
  • Pickups: CoolTube (CTP-3) preamp, piezo pickup
  • Bridge: Darkened rosewood

A good acoustic-electric classical guitar for less than $2000

Limitations

I actually can’t find many things wrong with the TH5C (that’s not like me, you know I love a good rant). I wish it came with a better case though! I think every solid wood guitar should come with humidity controls considering how delicate they are.

The TH5C’s a couple of hundred dollars more than the Takamine TC132SC so, considering they sound pretty similar I think the only downside to the TH5C is the price. On the plus side, the action on this guy was perfect straight out the box and it feels a little bit smoother to play.

I mean, if you’re like me and you love hearing your guitar’s tone deepen and improve as you play then you probably won’t mind paying the extra money. If you’re a beginner or you’ve got a tighter budget then you should check the TC132SC out.

Popular Questions about the Takamine TH5C

Are Takamine Classical Guitars Good?

The simple answer – yes! Takamine is accepted as one of the best classical guitar brands today. I mean, you get what you pay for when it comes to their guitars (as with any mainstream brand). Takamine guitars like the TH5C (over $1000) will sound much better than their cheaper models but you can still get a fantastic classical guitar with a tighter budget!

How Durable is the Takamine TH5C?

Solid wood guitars like the Takamine TH5C are incredibly durable if they’re looked after properly. People sometimes refer to laminate wood as being more durable because it’s not as easily scratched and doesn’t need as much care. Solid wood guitars are more durable because they aren’t constructed with glue, so they sound better for longer. Laminate wood guitars aren’t necessarily more durable, they just need less maintenance!

Is a Solid Wood Guitar Worth the Money?

I think solid wood guitars are worth every penny because they tend to have way more resonance and volume. Solid wood guitars generally sound much better than laminate wood because of how the wood is sourced and crafted. If you have the budget for a solid wood guitar I’d recommend the investment! Of course, if you’re still a beginner and you’re not quite sure yet then there’s no rush. Wait until you’re a serious player before you start splashing the cash on expensive models!

Is a Solid Wood Guitar Worth the Money?

I think solid wood guitars are worth every penny because they tend to have way more resonance and volume. Solid wood guitars generally sound much better than laminate wood because of how the wood is sourced and crafted.

If you have the budget for a solid wood guitar I’d recommend the investment! Of course, if you’re still a beginner and you’re not quite sure yet then there’s no rush. Wait until you’re a serious player before you start splashing the cash on expensive models!

A Great Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar For Less Than $2000

So, is the Takamine TH5C worth the money considering it looks and sounds similar to their less expensive model? I think it depends on your level of experience.

Advanced players probably won’t think twice about spending a little extra on better resonance, sustain, and overall tone.

However, if you’re still a student, the TC132SC might be a better option. I mean, it’s easily the best acoustic-electric classical guitar under $2000 that I’ve played so it may well be your new best friend!

Further Reading: