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Martin vs Takamine Acoustic Guitars: Which Is Better?

If you ask any experienced guitar player if they’d rather play a Martin or a Takamine, then you’ll overwhelmingly get back Martin as an answer – assuming that money is no object!

Both Martin and Takamine have built strong reputations for making high quality guitars, and you honestly can’t go wrong with either.

However, if you’re not on a budget and you’re truly looking for the best acoustic guitar that money can buy between these two brands, then there is one clear winner.

At least in our opinion. But we’ll give you some facts about each brand first so you can come to your own conclusion.

Tone: Which Sounds Better?

Martin O 16 guitar
image: Russell McNeil/Flickr, CC 2.0

How you like an acoustic guitar to sound is really a matter of personal preference.

Generally speaking, Martin guitars give you a warmer sound than Takamine guitars.

Of course, the main determination of how a guitar sounds is the wood type and the shape of the guitar.

So, you’ll need to compare apples to apples here, and not apples to oranges.

Ideally, you can pop into a local guitar shop and do a direct comparison between the sounds of comparable Martin and Takamine acoustic guitars and see which you prefer.

Quality: Which Is Better Made?

As previously mentioned, both of these brands make high quality instruments, but there are some distinct differences in the build.

With that main difference being where the brands make their guitars.

If you’re a ‘Made In The USA’ person, then you’ll want to stick with Martin guitars.

Though not all Martin guitars are made in the USA, they do make them in both the USA and Mexico.

So, I guess you could say Martin guitars are made in North America.

Generally speaking, Martin guitars with a price tag over $1300 are the ones made in the United States, while the cheaper models are made in Mexico.

takamine guitar neck

Sadly, no Takamine guitars are made in the USA, or even in North America.

The Takamine brand makes their guitars in Japan and China.

Specifically, the Pro series guitars by Takamine are made in Japan and their G-series guitars are made in China.

Use the table below to cross reference guitar model and production origin, if you want to know where you guitar was made. (in alphabetical order by guitar model)

Martin   0-18 StandardNoUSASmall
Martin   0-X1E HPLYesMexicoSmall
Martin   00-15MNoUSASmall
Martin   00-17 Authentic 1931NoUSASmall
Martin   00-18 StandardNoUSASmall
Martin   00-28 StandardNoUSASmall
Martin 000   Jr-10NoMexicoMid-size
Martin 000   Jr-10EYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   000-10EL Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   000-12E Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   000-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   000-15MNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-15SMNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-16EYesUSAMid-size
Martin   000-17NoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-17EYesUSAMid-size
Martin   000-18NoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-28 Modern DeluxeNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-28 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-28 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-28E Modern DeluxeYesUSAMid-size
Martin   000-42 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   000-X2EYesMexicoMid-size
Martin 00L   Fly Fishing ParlorNoUSASmall
Martin   00X1AEYesMexicoSmall
Martin   Authentic Series 1919 000-30NoUSAMid-size
Martin   CEO-7 00NoUSASmall
Martin   Custom 000-X1AEYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Custom DreadnoughtNoUSADreadnought
Martin   Custom X1AEYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-10E Road SeriesYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-12EYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-13E ZiricoteYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-15MNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-15M StreetMasterNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-16EYesUSADreadnought
Martin   D-18NoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-18 Authentic 1939 AgedNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-18 Modern DeluxeYesUSADreadnought
Martin   D-18E Modern DeluxeYesUSADreadnought
Martin   D-28NoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-28 Authentic 1937 AgedNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-28 Authentic 1937 VTS AgedNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-28E Modern DeluxeYesUSADreadnought
Martin   D-35 StandardNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-41NoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-42NoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-45 StandardNoUSADreadnought
Martin   D-X1E HPLYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D-X2EYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   D10E-01 Road SeriesYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   DC-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   DC-X2EYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   DJr-10 SitkaNoMexicoDreadnought
Martin   DSS-15M StreetMasterNoUSADreadnought
Martin   DSS-17NoUSADreadnought
Martin GPC   Special Koa X SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   GPC-11E Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   GPC-13E Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   GPC-13E ZiricoteYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   GPC-16EYesUSAMid-size
Martin   GPC-X2EYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   HD-28NoUSADreadnought
Martin   HD-28E-Z StandardYesUSADreadnought
Martin   J-40 JumboNoUSAJumbo/Super Jumbo
Martin   OM-21 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   OM-28 Modern DeluxeNoUSAMid-size
Martin   OM-28 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   OM-28E StandardYesUSAMid-size
Martin   OM-42 StandardNoUSAMid-size
Martin   OMC-15MEYesUSAMid-size
Martin   OMC-16E OvangkolYesUSAMid-size
Martin   OMC-X1E HPLYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   OME-Cherry OrchestraYesUSAMid-size
Martin   Special 000 All-SolidNoMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special 000 Cutaway X StyleYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special 000 X SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special 000 X1AE StyleYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special 11E Road SeriesYesMexicoDreadnought
Martin   Special 16 StyleYesUSADreadnought
Martin   Special 18 Style VTSNoUSADreadnought
Martin   Special 28 Style AdirondackNoUSADreadnought
Martin   Special 28 Style BearclawNoUSADreadnought
Martin   Special 35 Style BearclawNoUSADreadnought
Martin   Special C Series Style 000YesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special CarpathianYesUSADreadnought
Martin   Special DNoMexicoDreadnought
Martin   Special D/ DC OvangkolYesUSADreadnought
Martin   Special GPC 10 Road SeriesYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special GPC 15MEYesUSAMid-size
Martin   Special GPC All-SolidYesMexicoMid-size
Martin   Special GPC Performing Artist OvangkolYesUSAMid-size
Martin   Special OMC USA Performing ArtistYesUSAMid-size
Martin   StreetMaster 000-15MNoUSAMid-size
Takamine   CP5D-OADYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   EF340S-55YesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   EF341DXYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   EF360GFYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   GD20NoChinaDreadnought
Takamine   GD20CE-NSYesChinaDreadnought
Takamine   GD30CEYesChinaDreadnought
Takamine   GD93CEYesChinaDreadnought
Takamine   GF30CE FXCYesChinaSmall
Takamine   GJ72CEYesChinaJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   GN20NoChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN20CEYesChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN30NoChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN30CEYesChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN51CE NEXYesChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN71CE NEXYesChinaMid-size
Takamine   GN77KCEYesChinaJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   GN93CE NEXYesChinaMid-size
Takamine   GY93 New YorkerNoChinaSmall
Takamine   GY93E New YorkerYesChinaSmall
Takamine   Legacy EF341SCYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   Legacy EF508KCYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   P1JCYesJapanJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   P1NCYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   P2DCYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   P3D/ DCYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   P3MCYesJapanJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   P3NY New YorkerYesJapanSmall
Takamine   P4DCYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   P5DCYesJapanDreadnought
Takamine   P5NCYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   P6JCYesJapanJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   P6NC NEXYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   P7NCYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   RF740FS-TTYesJapanJumbo/Super Jumbo
Takamine   Thinline TS9138YesJapanMid-size
Takamine   TSP-158CYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   TSP178AC ThinlineYesJapanMid-size
Takamine   TSP178ACKNYesJapanMid-size

Final Word

As you can see, both Takamine and Martin acoustic guitars are great options.

While we tend to think that Martin makes better acoustic guitars, this is truly a matter of personal preference and we recommend that you play one of each brand to determine which is the most comfortable for you.

No matter which Takamine or Martin guitar you chose, it is certain to be a good instrument for you in the years to come.

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