The Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX is an all Koa acoustic electric guitar from Takamine (pronounced ‘ta-ka-mi-ne’). These guys have been producing top of the line acoustic guitars since 1962, and were one of the first companies to introduce the electro-acoustic with preamp. They are a Japanese company, working out of Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan.
The Pro Series EF508KC-NEX is unique among guitars, because the body is made from Acacia Koa wood, which is only found in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s a very beautiful, fast growing hardwood that was originally used as the best wood for canoes, and many early Ukelele’s were made from this wood.
Overall: (4.5 / 5)
When used for the soundboard, koa has similar clarity and note definition to rosewood, but with the warmth and resonance of mahogany. This means that you get brilliant, crisp notes that wont sound thin or weedy. This wood can make the guitar loud and harsh, or soft and smooth, depending on how you play the it.
Acacia Koa also has the rare property of being good for- not only the top- but the back and sides of a guitar also. Usually a wood is generally used for one or the other, or it sounds better in one position than the other- not true with Koa. When used for the back and sides of an instrument, this tonewood adds a lot to the overtones of the notes.
Acoustics with koa back and sides don’t tend to have the same sustain as with rosewood, nor do they have the same low end resonance. However, this wood provides a little more fullness in the midrange, which works well for rhythm playing, or slide guitar. One of the interesting properties of this wood is that, the more you play it, the more the sound changes as the wood ages. New koa guitars will tend to be brighter, and as they are played in, the midrange becomes richer and more resonant, although they never become overly bassy.
Visually, this wood is amazing! That swirling pattern isn’t painted on, and it isn’t an effect with the finish- that’s the natural beauty of the wood. Koa guitars can have swirls of color ranging from honey oranges and deep reds, to caramel brown and dark charcoal. The natural visual appeal of this wood truly cannot be overstated!
Unfortunately, the koa forests have been slowly depleted over the years, which has given way to higher prices. Nowadays, this wood is very rarely found on acoustic guitars, which means that the Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX is a truly rare instrument!
The choice of wood means that this guitar is especially suited to fingerstyle guitarists. If you’re using a pick with this guitar, it can sometimes sound overly bright when new and you might want to experiment with different picks.
The Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX also features a mahogany neck, with dual action truss rod (for easy adjustment- if you know what you’re doing), and Takamine’s Palathetic pickup and CT4B preamp system.
- NEX Cutaway Body
- Figured Koa Top
- Figured Koa Back and Sides
- Rosewood Fretboard
- Abalone Snowflake inlays
- Abalone Rosette
- Gold Die-cast Tuners
- Natural finish
- Includes CT4B preamp with built-in tuner
- Scalloped X-bracing
- Mahogany neck
- 25.3″ (643 mm) scale length
- 11.81″ (300 mm) fretboard radius
- 20 frets
- Bone nut
- 1.675″ (42.5 mm) nut width
- Dual-Action truss rods
- Gold-plated hardware
- Rosewood bridge with split bone saddle
- Fully bound body and fretboard
- Neck dovetail joint
CT4B II Preamp System
- Volume Control
- 3-Band EQ
- Built-in Tuner
- Palathetic™ Under-Saddle Pickup
What We liked
Well, firstly the craftsmanship on this guitar is top-notch. As soon as you see this guitar you’ll realize just how well it’s been made. There are no ugly seams to be seen, and the finish is flawless– really showing off the amazing swirls of the underlying koa wood.
The Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX will also stay in tune, thanks to the dual action truss rod (the rod of metal through the neck to stabilize it) and gold plated tuning pegs. This, of course, means that this guitar will look and sound great no matter where you are, or how long you play it for.
The Takamine ‘NEX’ body is the same shape as a Jumbo guitar, but it has been shrunk- making this guitar much easier to handle. Being the same shape as a Jumbo, this guitar still has the same resonance qualities and projection that you would associate with Jumbo guitars, although the sound may have a little (and only a little) less weight to it because of the smaller size.
Overall, this guitar sounds beautifully sweet, and over time (if played regularly) it will take on a more resonant, midrange and even a fuller bass. Once a guitar like this has truly warmed up, it feels as if it has a life of it’s own. The Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEW is not just your standard acoustic guitar, but one with its own distinct personality and voice that matures as it ages.
What We didn’t like
As I mentioned above, this guitar is definitely more suited to fingerpicking and softer strumming. These types of playing styles tend to allow more midrange and bass to show through in the tone, whereas heavy strumming pushes the wood to vibrate more violently, which can cause it to lose some of the overtones in the sound- making it thinner.
Conclusions on the Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX
Overall, the Takamine Pro Series EF508KC NEX is a fantastic instrument, and it’s worth every penny! If you know you’re more of a heavy, loud strummer then this probably isn’t the perfect guitar for you. However, if your style is generally softer, and you like a bright, clear tone that still retains the personality and nuances of the wood- then definitely check this guitar out!