Takamine EG522SC Review

The Takamine EG522SC may not look like much – but don’t be fooled. This versatile and affordable gem offers rich sound and remarkable build quality. It will captivate both classical enthusiasts and rock aficionados alike. 

Mateja playing his Takamine EG522SC at home
Mateja playing his Takamine EG522SC at home
👀 Looks3/5
🛠️ Build quality5/5
😃 Playability4/5
🎵 Sound5/5
💰 Value for Money5/5

As a young and formally educated classical guitar player, I found myself a new toy about 12 years ago – the Takamine EG522SC nylon string. 

Even if I’m primarily a metalhead, I still can’t resist some quality and virtuoso classical and flamenco playing. I’m also very fond of using nylon string/classical guitar in rock`n`roll and heavy metal. 

The Takamine EG522SC nylon string sonically covers all those areas and more. So, let`s see what we have here!

looks: 3/5

The Takamine EG522SC in its case
The Takamine EG522SC has modest looks – but don’t be fooled

This guitar has a nice cutaway torres-style body, providing easy access to the higher frets. The solid spruce top is colored amber and looks stunning. 

Sometimes the rosettes on classical guitars can look kitschy, but this one is nice, neutral and harmonious. 

When it comes to aesthetics, mahogany back and sides and bright rosewood fingerboard also look great. 

However, the lacquer finish lets the EG522SC down. It’s very shiny and looks cheap and poorly layered. In my opinion, it’s thinner than it should be. It’s acceptable, but surely it could be better. 

Build Quality: 5/5

The Takamine EG522SC headstock
The Takamine EG522SC has near-perfect fretwork

The EG522SC’s build quality is extraordinary. Everything is cut and shaped perfectly, which is not always the case even with more expensive guitars. 

The fretwork especially is perfect. Everything is so smooth – I couldn’t even find the smallest imperfection or sharp edge anywhere on the neck. 

The tuning machines are very good. Nothing special, but they are reliable and get the job done. 

The same can be said about bridge and nut. I have a strong right-hand when playing finger style and when using a pick. But in both cases, tuning stays stable for a very long time – this is important in studio as well as in live performances. 

I find that it is better to use heavier gauge strings on this guitar. The tuning stays much more stable and the strings give stronger resistance. The tonal improvement is also noticeable. It sounds much warmer than with lighter gauge strings.

TK40 pre-amp on the Takamine EG522SC
The TK-40 pre-amp offers a greater range of features than you normally get with built-in electronics

The EG522SC also has a TK40 preamp, which is not a basic preamp like in cheaper models. It has a few more usable and necessary features which acoustic guitar preamps often don’t include. 

Besides ordinary 3-band EQ and volume control, it has a mid contour control, which allows you to shape the mid frequencies, or to cut them completely. This creates an even warmer tone. There is also an EQ bypass button which allows us to turn off the equalizer to get a direct and raw signal from the guitar ideal for external equalization.

The most valuable feature of this preamp is the notch filter – this is something you must have on stage, and I think that every acoustic guitar preamp in the world should have it. It helps remove feedback which occurs frequently when playing acoustic guitars at live shows. 

When feedback appears, activate the notch filter and tune it until feedback disappears. Best of all, the sound of your guitar will not be sacrificed because of it. You will still have that signature warm and rich Takamine tone, but this time without feedback that ruins everything for both the musician and audience. 

The only things I don’t like about the EG522SC’s TK40 preamp are the quality of the volume pot and battery holder cap. They are very delicate and prone to breaking and guitarists should be careful with them. The rest is spot-on.

Playability: 4/5

A profile view showing the Takamine EG522SC's action
The Takamine EG522SC’s action might be too high for some players

The EG522SC itself is lightweight and very comfortable to play. The cutaway helps the playability, but it’s the thin and fast neck that makes this guitar enjoyable. The setup is good, it doesn’t have problems with intonation. The action is a bit high for my taste, but this is standard factory string height, I suppose. That’s just a matter of personal taste and can be adjusted quickly and easily by a luthier.

Sound: 5/5

Close up of the Takamine EG522SC's sound hole
The Takamine EG522SC has a big warm sound

When it comes to the tone, the EG522SC has a huge and warm sound, yet it’s also focused and tight. It’s perfectly balanced, making this guitar versatile and suitable for many different styles. It just sounds incredible and magical in person. 

When you play the chords, every note has a clear separation, but at the same time, everything sounds so glued and compact. As I said before, when the preamp is activated, the EG522SC  sounds great. And you can really hear the difference when you change the EQ settings and when you use mid contour and EQ bypass buttons, which is not the case with many other guitars!  Also, the volume control is very responsive and sensitive. Just give it a little reverb, and you are good to go! 

Overall Rating: 4/5

What else can I say? The Takamine EG522SC is a great low-to-mid tier guitar that is well worth your money. It offers an excellent price-quality ratio. 

I would recommend this guitar to people who love the sound and playability of classic/nylon guitars and who play various styles of music on acoustic/classical guitar. 

Maybe it’s not for absolute beginners, but it’s perfect for people who don’t have much money but want a decent quality classical guitar. And it also offers enough quality for professional musicians. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal in the $400 to $700 price range!

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