Tanglewood TW70HSR-B

Consider this scenario: you've been playing acoustic for a few years, your technique's coming on a treat, you've progressed from just noodling around at home to gigging and have also started buying gear.

The trouble is that the trusty budget box you started out on no longer cuts the mustard, and you're ready to splash out on a much better-quality guitar - almost certainly an electro - and are budgeting around £1,000, or even a bit more.

"What could otherwise be a bulky span is offset by a quite shallow, flattish-backed 'C' profile, resulting in a very likeable all-round player."

The most obvious candidates might be, say, a dreadnought or grand auditorium, but at the same time you're rather drawn to the idea of a mid-size instrument. You'd be right to be so. OMs and 000s - so-called 'folks' - can be excellent all-rounders.

They're more comfortable to handle, without necessarily sacrificing much in the way of unplugged performance, and are often easier to gig, tending to be less prone to feedback.

A quick trawl through manufacturers' catalogues will reveal that the majority of such electros are cutaways, but for you that's not a requirement. You don't need the extra access for, say, slide work, and don't visit the dusty end of the fretboard much, anyway - who does? There's also the inkling that a cutaway may adversely affect acoustic sound quality, which it can.

What are the non-cut options, then? Well, the choice isn't exactly huge, but this guitar - from a major, well-respected name – could be just the ticket.

The Tanglewood's B-Band A5T preamp is four-band with phase, and introduces a notch filter with frequency and depth controls. It also includes a system-muting auto-chromatic tuner.

Timber-wise, the Tanglewood is an all-solid wood with a gloss body and satin neck.

The TW70's shorter body gives it the deceptive impression of being a relatively small folk, though it's actually some millimetres broader across the beam than the Seagull Maritime SWS Folk HG QI.

As a Heritage Series model, cosmetics are fairly lavish. The spruce top, with abalone rosette, has wide herringbone purfling, there's a three-ply centre strip down the back, and the white-bound fingerboard sports Martin Style 45 abalone markers. The fingerboard and bridge are ebony - and quality examples, too.

A set of gold-plated, enclosed Kluson-style tuners completes the upmarket trim. The TW's mahogany neck - full-scale and one-piece (plus heel) - is a fingerstyle affair, kicking off at 44.5mm at the nut, broadening a fair bit further up and providing an airy 56mm bridge string spacing.

What could otherwise be a bulky span is offset by a quite shallow, flattish-backed 'C' profile, resulting in a very likeable all-round player. The flatter radius of the fingerboard helps, too.

Sounds

This rivals the Breedlove Atlas Retro OM/ERe for acoustic punch, sustain and dynamics, the main difference being a subtly brighter, slightly snappier overall tone that cuts through really well.

The B-Band preamp delivers a monster dollop of gain, and it's not at the expense of quality. The mids sound suitably scooped with little cut, the highs can be tailored from mellow to super-sparkling and there's plenty of low-end warmth on tap. The notch filter does its job too, and feedback-wise it was happily rarely needed.

This model falls firmly within the classic Martin OM/000 genre. With its wider neck, though, the Tanglewood will attract fingerstyle fans to its fairly shallow neck.

There's also plenty of unplugged verve here, and an excellent, gainful amplified repertoires. We were pleased with its well-tamed mid-range and the notching facility.

Build quality and value? We've no big complaints about the former: workmanship is impressively tidy. Ostensibly,

Tanglewood is being miserly by not including a gigbag, but the cosmetic cost elements and ebony 'board and bridge make up for that. An extremely well-delivered instrument.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Buoyant, convincing sounds. Wide, shallow neck. Fancy trim.

Cons

No bag or case.

Verdict

An exercise in tasty tones and cosmetics.

Country of Origin

China

Back Material

Rosewood

Fingerboard Material

Ebony

Fingerboard Radius

381mm

Neck Material

Mahogany

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

20

Top Material

Solid 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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