Published 6 months ago on December 13, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Takamine GY51E New Yorker

MSRP (UK) £403  (US) $TBC

With the Takamine GY51E, the iconic Japanese manufacturer presents a compact Parlor Western guitar equipped with an in-house pickup system. Thanks to its small size, the GY51E produces clear mid and treble frequencies and is thus excellently suited for expressive picking and fingerstyle. At the same time, the round neck offers superb playability in all 21 frets. Nick Jennison takes a closer look at this new release.

Parlour guitars are some of my absolute favourite acoustic guitars out there. I love the petite body shape; the softly-spoken, detailed tone; the playing comfort when reclining on a sofa - these little beauties have so much to offer.

The “New Yorker” - Takamine’s smallest body shape - is just such an instrument, with a few more unique features that set it apart from the pack. Part of the ultra-affordable G Series, the GY51E comes costs less than some high-end overdrive pedals, but don’t be fooled by the price tag: this is a serious little guitar.

Sporting a solid spruce top over black walnut back and sides and paired with a slim mahogany neck, the GY51E is quite impressively spec’d for its price. The headstock is a gorgeous slotted design with open-gear tuners that is reminiscent of treasured “pre-war” guitars. I often lament the “anonymity” of entry-level acoustics (usually with the derisory term “sea of spruce dreadnoughts”), but happily, this guitar is anything but.

Sonically, the GY51E is delicate, refined and articulate. You’d be foolish to expect jumbo-Esque strumming authority out of a tiny body shape like this one, but even laying in with a heavy pick is pleasantly rewarding. It’s with flatpicking and fingerpicking styles where this guitar really shines, though, with detailed mids and highs that really make single notes pop.

Electronics come courtesy of Takamine’s TP-4TD proprietary preamp system. I’ve made no secret of my disdain for large, shoulder-mounted preamps on acoustic guitars, but even I have to admit that this is a well-thought-out and great-sounding system. The core tone is very natural, with just enough options to be flexible without giving you enough metaphorical rope to tie yourself in knots.

The GY51E “New Yorker” is a really attractive little parlour guitar at an equally attractive price point. That’s not all, though - this gorgeous petite little instrument sounds and plays the business too.

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