TW170 AS review by Tanglewood

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 4
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 4
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 9.2 (18 votes)
Tanglewood: TW170 AS

Price paid: £ 169

Purchased from: Secondhand

Sound — 9
Sounds great except when strummed very hard. No buzz because the action is sky-high (of which more later). Quite trebly but it's a pleasant sound. None of the boom you get from a dreadnought. Too loud for strumming with a pick in a small room, even though it's small, so the top must be pretty efficient.

Overall Impression — 5
This was a good deal secondhand, even with the cost of fixing the action, but I would be very wary of buying one at the new price of 300 pounds or more. At the very least, check the action is low enough with the original unmodified saddle. Most guitar manuals don't tell you how to check neck angle and it takes a fair bit of experience to do so. I probably wouldn't buy another guitar of this brand.

Reliability & Durability — 4
This won't have the lifespan of a better guitar now that the bridge has been modified; as the top rises with age it will be impossible to correct the action again without resetting the neck, which isn't worth it. I have reasons to suspect that it will fall apart, although the tuners struggle a bit as the strings come up to pitch.

Action, Fit & Finish — 4
Dreadful action, 4mm at 12th fret, bass E string. I bought this secondhand and it cost another 50 pounds to have it fixed; the neck angle wasn't right so the bridge wood needed shaving as well as reducing the height of the saddle. The nut was a little high but not too bad. The truss rod wasn't set properly. This is what you get with Chinese manufacture, sadly; quality control is not a strong point. I have seen far better fretwork. These aren't the worst I've seen but they're certainly not the best. The guitar was secondhand but essentially unplayed; the local dealer thought it was new.

Features — 8
A UK brand but, presumably, made in China. 20 frets, solid top, glossy finish. "Grand Concert" size, which is a little larger than a classical guitar. The tuners are gold-plated and look a little like Klusons from the rear although they are not slotted like proper Klusons. Odd-shaped bridge with compensated saddle. The nut and saddle feel like fairly lightweight plastic (I've had both off the guitar).

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Bought my TW-170AS 24th December 2010 and it has been perfect. The first review above has gotten it right (except for the strap button, as mine came with a screwed in strap button on the neck and a plastic plug one in the rear, but I swapped both out for strap locks pretty soonish, filling the hole left by the plug with a plasterboard wall-plug so the strap lock button would screw in - not exactly a design flaw but player's choice). The second review above I believe is flawed as he is basing it off buying a guitar second hand... buyer beware, it sounds like he didn't check it before he bought it and got one with a twisted neck and therefore only has himself to blame. The quality of this guitar is astounding for the price, and I bought it new. Every guitarist (50+ years experience each) that has played it and checked it out has also been impressed. Tone, playability... I did have it set up by a professional for my preference and I was happy with the result. It looks great, sounds great, feels very great as being solid wood it has that natural weight that feels like you are hauling some natural magic around your neck. Strings are again player choice, but I wouldn't just buy it again if lost or stolen, but buy more from Tanglewood based on this instrument.