Martin Guitars vs Takamine (Which Is Right For You?)

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  • Martin and Takamine are two of the most popular acoustic guitar brands
  • Takamine offers quality at an affordable price
  • Martin focuses foremost on quality, making them pricier

Martin and Takamine are two of the best-known acoustic guitar brands and have been popular for decades.

In this very competitive field, both brands excel, each for different reasons

In this article, I’ll compare differences in sound, construction, value for money, and overall features.

Reading this piece will hopefully help you decide whether to get a Martin or Takamine as your next acoustic guitar.

Martin Guitars vs Takamine: Differences

Martin acoustic guitars have a higher reputation for quality and are more expensive than Takamine guitars.

Martin is an American company that makes its guitars in the USA and Mexico, and their quality control is high, as their name depends on it.

On the other hand, Takamine guitars have a solid reputation for offering great value for the money guitars.

Takamine is Japanese and makes its instruments in China and Japan, focusing on getting the most bang for your buck. 

These brands are popular and beloved, but they also feature some key differences. Here we give you the four main differences to consider to help you decide which to get.


Martin has a range that is far and away wider than Takamine’s.

This is partly because Martin has released more budget-friendly models in the past years to appeal to a bigger market.

However, Takamine is usually regarded as having a stronger hold on budget guitars with quality

Take, for instance, the Martin DJr-10 model, made in Mexico. It features Spruce on the top and Sapele on the back and sides and is around the $500 mark.

Martin DJr-10E

The Martin D Jr-10E is a stellar junior-sized dreadnought that offers younger players or adult players wanting a smaller acoustic an incredibly comfortable playing experience. 

Why We Love It:
  • Delivers superior tone
  • Comfortable
  • Great playability
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater

These woods are common for acoustic guitars as they provide a nice tone and projection. 

Naturally, part of the reason that Martin was able to price this guitar affordably is that it is cheaper to make them in Mexico.

Additionally, this model does not have a preamp to plug it in, which can drastically increase the instrument’s price. 

On the other hand, Takamine’s GD30CE is also around the $500 mark.

Like the Martin model mentioned above, it features Spruce on the top. However, the back and sides are Mahogany, which is preferred by many over Sapele. 

Although both guitars are comparable in terms of tone and construction, the Takamine does include a preamp system in order to plug it in, and the Martin does not.

This significantly increases the uses and overall value of the guitar. In other words, Takamine has Martin beat in this range.

On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got the Martin D-28E Modern Deluxe which will cost you about $4,799.

This guitar offers a fantastic blend of classic construction with modern features. Take, for instance, the steel truss rod and liquid Metal bridge pins.

These features are impressive and match the overall superior quality of this guitar. 

As expected, it features superb sound and projection, as well as an excellent preamp system in the included Fishman Aura VT Blend pickup.

As of this writing, Takamine guitars do not offer anything near this price range, so Martin has it beat in premium tone and features with no regard to price. 

Country of Manufacture

Martin guitars are constructed in Mexico and the USA, while Takamine guitars are produced in China and Japan.

Takamine makes their more affordable G-series guitars in China, with their cost topping $700. Pricier models are made in Japan, like the Pro series, which starts at $1300.

On the other hand, Martin makes most guitars under $1300 in their Mexican factory and their high-end lines in the US.

American-made models have a great reputation for quality and rigorous controls, and many players value that.

Nevertheless, in the 80s, Japan emerged as a producer of excellent quality guitars and has only gotten better with time. 

While Mexico offers cheaper labor, China offers the cheapest labor and is the biggest producer of goods.

In short, each country has its strengths for particular guitar types, and the most important thing is that you try and connect with the guitar you like. 


It is difficult to compare the tones of two entire brands, especially from such large companies as Martin and Takamine.

With hundreds of models that vary in tonewoods, price, and overall features, it would be bold to define a particular tone for each brand. 

That said, Martin guitars are renowned for producing a warm tone with a higher emphasis on bass low-mid frequencies for a rounder sound.

Some of their most famous models, like the D-18, D-45, and HD-28, feature great projection with a warm tone.

On the other hand, Takamine guitars produce a brighter tone with an emphasis on mid-high to high frequencies.

Some folks like this as it can help the guitar stand out a bit more on a busy mix. 

Besides the tonewoods used, it is also important to remember that the shape of a guitar is crucial to its sound.

A mahogany Jumbo will sound completely different from a Koa parlor guitar.

As to the old and eternal question of “which one sounds best?” There is a very simple answer: it depends on you.

This is precisely the way companies have different models with a variety of body shapes, tonewoods, and features.

It is up to you to develop your criteria and decide which sound you prefer. 


Takamine has found a way to successfully hit that delicate balance between quality and cost.

A great part of their popularity is that Takamine guitars maximize every dollar you spend.

Guitarists the world over know this and choose Takamine because of this reason, making it one of the most popular quality brands for decades.

On the other hand, Martin spares no expense to give you the best quality on their mid-high to higher-end models.

From their design and tonewoods to electronics and playability, Martin’s is famous for its quality and gorgeous tone.

Their budget models are not bad but typically do not give you better value than a Takamine.

Then again, some folks want to have a Martin guitar within a 500 Dollar budget, and in all honesty, there is nothing wrong with that. 

However, when it comes to value, it is hard to match the quality and overall features you can get from Takamine, particularly those that cost 1000 Dollars or less. 


Are Martin guitars made in China?

No. Martin Guitars are made in the United States and Mexico.

Their pricier lines, like the Standard Series and Modern Deluxe guitars, are built in Martin’s Nazareth, Pennsylvania factory.

Did the Beatles use Martin guitars?

The Beatles used a variety of acoustic guitars, Martin among them. John Lennon started using a Martin D-28 after recording After Sgt.

Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, while Paul McCartney used a D-28 around the time of White Album sessions.

Where are Takamine guitars made?

All Takamine guitars are designed in Japan by the Takamine team.

The more affordable Takamines are made in China, while all pro series and other pricer models are produced in Japan.

What is the most sought-after Martin guitar?

The Martin models that range in construction from 1936 to 1942 are some of the most expensive Martin guitars costing somewhere around $ 320 k to $400 k.

The D-45 is the most expensive model, worth twenty times more than the average Martin guitar. 

Who plays Martin guitars?

Renowned musicians that use or have used Martin guitars include Elvis Presley, Ed Sheeran, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Chris Cornell, and Hank William, to name just a few. 

What musicians use Takamine Guitars?

Jon Bon Jovi, Blake Shelton, Steven Wilson, Garth Brooks, and Bruce Springsteen are some of the famous musicians that use Takamine Guitars.

Did Martin sue Takamine?

Martin sent a cease-and-desist letter to Takamine. This was alleged because Takamine used Martin’s trademark headstock design.

Takamine steel strings with squared-off headstocks are known as “lawsuit guitars,” even though there was never any litigation

Wrapping up 

Both Martin and Takamine have tremendous respect in the guitar-playing community.

It is hard to pick one over the other, particularly because of the many models they offer and the fact that guitar choice is a very personal endeavor.

That said, Martin has a reputation for being top-notch regarding quality. On the other hand, Takamine is revered for offering quality, affordable guitars.

In other words, if your budget is limited and you want to maximize it, Takamine is hard to beat.

On the other hand, if your budget is quite high and you want a professional acoustic guitar that excels in every aspect, then Martin is one of your best choices. 

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