Tanglewood Sundance Natural TW15 OP

The stripped-back finish of Tanglewood's latest steed lets the tone do the talking

As if inspired by the notorious fugitive that bore the name, Tanglewood's Sundance Natural series is a bit of a steal, bringing premium features normally reserved for guitars twice their price well within the reach of the average cowpoke.

The trade-off here is that the back and sides of the TW15 are laminate rather than all-solid, but Tanglewood has compensated by putting every guitar through a meticulous set-up process for optimum playability.

"There are plenty of overtones and crisp details in the treble end of the spectrum that really lend themselves well to all kinds of playing."

The OP in this guitar's title denotes Open Pore, a finish of the wood that, although lacquered, lets the grain be seen and felt, while also allowing the wood to resonate freely.

What stands out about this finish is that it's consistent, not at all patchy and has a great textural quality to it that feels very organic, like a natural extension of your hands. There's none of the heavy resistance that you often find with glossier neck finishes because this one is so slick, but at the same time it feels very solid and controllable.

A guitar this tactile is just asking for a musical massage and, don't forget, this is a solid spruce top guitar - only the back and sides are laminates, mahogany in this instance. As a combination, these tonewoods blend comfortably, producing great dynamics and highly desirable looks.

A snappy appearance is all well and good, but the TW15 is a sharp shooter, too, thanks to its immaculate set-up. The action is smooth and reliable, from the low frets all the way to the higher registers, and the fingerboard is immensely playable thanks to a middle C-shaped neck profile.

The headstock volute adds some traditional style and also strengthens the neck joint without being obtrusive to open chords.

Sounds

Strumming the guitar, there's a lot of midrange character to be enjoyed simply by playing at the soundhole and varying your pick attack. This holds particularly true for flatpicking because the guitar generates a healthy resonance courtesy of that open pore lacquer.

Fingerpickers aren't left out, though; there are plenty of overtones and crisp details in the treble end of the spectrum that really lend themselves well to all kinds of playing.

Right now, Tanglewood is arguably the fastest on the draw in its price bracket. The Sundance Natural TW15 is clean, simple and classy (thanks to the Open Pore finish, small yet clear fret marker inlays and maple neck binding).

Best of all, these looks are backed up by a lively and resonant mid-rich tone that's suitable for just about any playing style.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Subtly stylish; lovely finish; tonal versatility.

Cons

It's not all-solid - but at this price, who's complaining?

Verdict

This is one guitar that deserves to be on your most-wanted list, and you won't have to spend an outlaw's bounty to get it.

Available Finish

Natural Satin Open Pore

Back Material

Laminated mahogany

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Hardware

Chrome

Neck Material

Mahogany

Scale Length (Inches)

25.5

Sides Material

Laminated mahogany

Top Material

Solid Sitka spruce

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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