The Samurai Sword Of Guitars
Let me begin by saying, the Takamine P5DC is actually a work of art. Don't get me wrong, so are Boseman Gibsons, it's just the difference in approach. With Gibsons you get the individuality of the luthier who built it as well as pure American quality. The Japanese culture however, is in this Takamine (which I purchased from Sweetwater). Take it out of the case, sit down and strum, then smell the inside of the guitar, it's alive. Everything about this guitar is precise. The fit and finish are impeccable. As you play, you can almost see the craftsman's painstaking attention to detail while building it, an expression of his culture as opposed to his personal interpretation. In the tradition of Samurai sword builder's, he's in there alright, but behind in the background allowing his creation to take the spotlight and speak for itself.
As to sound and tone, the words to describe are multitudinous, so allow these few: big, bold and beautiful.
Okay, now to playability. I'm a skeptic to the point of being cynical at times. So when I first inspected the guitar for any problems, I noticed the action seemed a little high at the upper frets. I wanted to call my Sweetwater engineer to complain, but then I did a little research. According to one of Britain's most reliable luthiers, "For a good, general purpose playing action that suits fingerpicking and strumming styles of playing, the 'action' at the 12th fret should be a little under 3mm for the 6th string, and around 2mm for the 1st string." Pulled out my trusty feeler gauge, measured and sure enough, the Sweetwater boys were right on the money, 2.137 mm for the EBG strings and 2.8 mm for the DAE.
So, here's the deal, you could spend a thousand or more on another guitar, but I'm not sure you will be buying anything better than the Takamine pro series. You will be buying a different sound I suppose, and that's fine, but you won't be buying better quality and you'd be making a mistake buying anywhere but here. If you're like me and suffer acutely from buyer's remorse every time you spend more than $10, take heart, the Sweetwater guys make the process singularly pleasant as you know it will be right or if not, they will make it right.