Takamine EG321C Review

The Takamine EG321C is a relic from the brand’s glory days. It is perfect for those looking for a solid acoustic that sounds great plugged in. It’s been discontinued but guitarists looking for a great electro-acoustic would do well to look out for a second-hand bargain. Check out Stefan’s Takamine EG321C review to see if it’s for you.

Stefan performing his  Takamine EG321C review
Stefan performing his Takamine EG321C review
👀 Looks3/5
🛠️ Build quality4/5
😃 Playability4/5
🎵 Sound5/5
💰 Value for Money5/5

Buy it now

Out of the box, the Takamine EG321C electro-acoustic guitar seems like a run-of-the-mill dreadnought. Some might not be impressed by its somewhat ordinary black high gloss finish.

But despite its traditional look, the Takamine EG321C has many praiseworthy elements, including excellent build quality and a sweet sound.

A member of the Takamine G series, a well-rounded choice for most people. It is suitable for a wide range of music styles, including country, blues, rock, pop, and various other genres. Plus, it won’t break the bank, which is perfect for beginners and folks who’ve been strumming for a while but aren’t ready for the big leagues. Whether you’re learning your first chords or are on your way to becoming the local guitar hero, the Takamine EG321C has got your back. 

A front view of the Takamine EG321C. It is black and has a dreadnought shape.
The Takamine EG321C is suitable for a range of musical styles

Takamine EG321C Review: Test Results

Let’s take a look at how the EG321C scores for looks, build quality, playability, sound and value for money.

A close up of the Takamine EG321C's black headstock.
The Takamine EG321C is suitable for beginners and experienced players alike

Looks: 3/5

The first thing you’ll notice about the Takamine EG321C is the spruce top with its subtle, grainy texture – especially if it’s a sunny day or in a well-lit room. The black finish doesn’t quite do it justice; a natural finish would’ve looked better.

A close up of the Takamine EG321C soundhole. A natural finish would have been better than the black gloss.
The Takamine EG321C would be better with a natural finish

The body and neck are made of mahogany, giving the guitar a sturdy feel. I find the double binding on the body a nice touch. Its cream color does an excellent job of defining the edges of the pitch-black body, and that theme extends to the triple-circle rosette around the sound hole as well.

The Takamine EG321C shown from the back, showing its cream double binding.
The Takamine EG321C’s double binding looks great

Moving up the neck, you’ll find a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets and simple dot inlays. The fretboard has a natural oily texture, and the rich, dark hues of rosewood look appealing. Sure, fancier inlays like “Pearloid Parallelogram” inlays from an Epiphone Dove would have been cooler, but does it really matter, especially when you consider the price?

Build quality: 4/5

The Takamine EG321C is well-made all around. The body feels solid. it feels almost like touching a piano; this is partially thanks to the jet-black color.

The fretwork is surprisingly good. You won’t find any sharp edges, and the frets are well-polished.

The Takamine EG321C's fretboard showing its smooth fretwork
The Takamine EG321C has surprisingly good fretwork

Bending strings or adding some vibrato won’t kill the sustain. Tuning knobs turn smoothly and do a good job of keeping the guitar in tune. It might need a slight tune-up after an extended break from playing, but I found that to be the case even with higher-priced guitars.

The only thing that feels cheap to me is the TP-4 Preamp System. We’ll talk more about it in the “sound” section, but as for the build quality, I wasn’t super impressed by its cheap plastic and stiff EQ sliders. 

Playability: 4/5

Now, let’s talk about one of the most important things about a guitar: How does it feel to play it? The Takamine EG321C is a bit bulky. If you’re on the smaller side, it feels almost like hugging a piece of furniture.

The single cutaway at the bottom is always welcome, giving you access even to the highest frets on the neck. Speaking of the neck, it has the same glossy finish as the body, which might get a tad sticky during marathon jam sessions. But its thickness and comfiness allow you to strum chords without any wrist strain.

The Takamine EG321C has a glossy black neck which some might find sticky.
The Takamine EG321C has a glossy black neck which some might find sticky

Another thing helping your wrists is the action. Mine arrived reasonably well-set right out of the box. However, some fine-tuning was necessary. Noodling with the trust rod, I lowered the action without any significant fret buzz. 

Sound 5/5

Unlike electric, acoustic guitars derive much of their tone from the wood, appropriately called “tonewood”. In the case of the Takamine EG321C, it features a spruce top. This is common amongst acoustic guitars and is known for its bright sound.

This brightness becomes even more pronounced with heavier picking and doesn’t become unpleasantly shrill. The guitar balances things out nicely with crisp treble notes and a deep, booming bass that blends into those rich middle tones the more your chords ring out.

This tonal quality remains consistent even with less dynamic playing styles. Some guitars tend to “die out” rather quickly or lose some of those pleasant frequencies when played softer. That’s not the case with this one.

If you’re all about the tone, I’d suggest going for thicker strings like a set of .013 – .056.
On the other hand, thicker strings can make playing a bit tougher, so it’s really a matter of what feels best for you.

But what about the built-in preamp system? How does it handle taking your sound to a bigger audience? With a bit of EQ adjustment – remarkably well! TP-4 features a 3-band EQ, gain control, and a handy chromatic tuner. The tuner does what it’s supposed to do. It’s fast and accurate, though it could use a mute button for silent tuning.

The Takamine EG321C's TP-4 preamp.
The Takamine EG321C’s TP-4 preamp sounds remarkably good with some adjustment.

The preamp delivers a fantastic sound, staying true to the original tone coming out of your guitar. Even with the EQ set flat, it delivers a well-rounded, blooming sound.

However, slightly cutting the mids and adding some low-end made it more pleasant to my ears, at least on the amp I was playing through, which was a Marshall AS50D. 

Value for Money 5/5

All things considered, the Takamine EG321C gives you a lot of bang for your buck. I got mine for about $300 eight years ago, and the price of used ones hasn’t dropped by a lot since.

Nowadays, it seems pretty hard to get your hands on one. They’ve been discontinued, and all I could find was some leftover stock in one or two online stores. If you happen to run into one, do not sit on the fence because it’s a steal for the $200-ish it sells for nowadays.

A close up of the Takamine EG321C looking up the neck.
The Takamine EG321C is excellent value for money.

Takamine EG321C review overall rating: 21/25

If it wasn’t obvious by now, I give nothing but praise to this guitar. It’s been with me for a solid eight years and has inspired me to play it daily. I only wish there was more variety in finishes, like a natural wood or a sunburst.

If I were in the market for an alternative, I’d consider checking out other similarly priced options like Fender CD-60SCE or a Yamaha FX 370C. But honestly, I don’t think you need an alternative. Unless you’re a guitar wizard like Tommy Emmanuel, the Takamine EG321C has everything you need, whether you’re jamming at home or performing on stage.

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