Price paid: £ 317
Purchased from: Red Dog Music Edinburgh
Features — 10
Tanglewood guitars are designed in the UK and made in China. The TW130 ASM CE is now discontinued, I think my model was made 2012-2013. The guitar is all mahogany. Back, sides and top all solid mahogany. The neck is mahogany with rosewood finger board and rosewood bridge. It's a standard orchestra style guitar with a cutaway for higher fret access. It has a built in Tanglewood tuner. It's an electric acoustic, you have 3 eq dials for bass mid and treble, and a master volume. You also get a phase button which acts like a soft chorus effect. The tuner and pre amp require a 9 volt battery which is located where you plug the guitar in. It has regular strap buttons for guitar straps, it does not have a scratch plate. It came with D'Addario EXP 11. gauge strings.
Sound — 10
This guitar has a warm, rich full sound with lovely crisp highs and solid lows. The all mahogany body and neck just make it sound special. I wanted to get a Fender T-Bucket 400, an all maple guitar £279. It looks awesome and I got to play it for about 20 minutes in the guitar shop. I thought it played really nice and sounded pretty good. I asked the member of staff to let me play a guitar that was made from different tone woods and I got to play the all mahogany Tanglewood.
The difference in sound, and responsiveness was very clear after playing around with the two guitars. The mahogany sounded deeper, warmer, richer and responded to my touch in a way I much preferred over the Maple. It also has very clear high range tones. Finger picking notes sound clear and strong and strumming away sounds wonderful thanks to this guitar being so perfectly in tune and intonated perfectly. Plug it in to an acoustic amp or PA system and you can shape the sound with the eq dials.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitars are designed in UK, made in China and then quality checked again in the UK. My guitar had a card with the inspection measurements for string heights and setup. The guitar has been set up perfectly in the UK and plays exactly as it should. The mahogany wood isn't coated or glossed. Looks like old wood despite not being aged. It's fairly light but solid, I'm sure it could take a bit of abuse and still perform but this guitar you will not want to bash. The guitar holds its tuning perfectly.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Everything about this guitar screams quality. It's not going to just break on you. With proper care this guitar will last a very long time, it's a solid guitar you could rely on it for anything. It's fairly light so gigging with it would be fine on your shoulder. Some guitars feel special to hold and this is definitely one of them. The guitar was built with great tone and playability in mind and you can really feel and hear that. Comparing it to the Fender T-Bucket 400CE - all maple - the fender sounded empty and transparent, like the wood wasn't even doing anything. Its marketed as a "bright" guitar, but really IMO its just lacking the good warm tones you get from solid woods.
Overall Impression — 10
I compared this all mahogany guitar to an all maple guitar in the same price range and honestly... the mahogany blows it out the water. I'm mainly playing country strumming/picking stuff and the guitar sounds great with it. I can't imagine a genre it wouldn't match as it sounds special. Maybe there are better mahogany guitars out there, I can't say. I can say that this guitar is head and shoulders above any other acoustic I've ever played. It's the mahogany that make it sound so good but the design and quality control combine it all and give you a really great guitar.