TSB 49 review by Tanglewood

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 3
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (5 votes)
Tanglewood: TSB 49

Price paid: £ 250

Purchased from: shop

Sound — 8
This guitar has a nice rich acoustic tone when played unplugged. When plugged in the pickups do a fine Gretsch impersonation. I think Alan Entwistle's pickups are very underrated and have turned an ok guitar into a good one. Of course feedback is an issue with this type of guitar I play through a Vox VT15 at lower volumes so its not too bad.

Overall Impression — 8
I play a lot of sixties stuff Roy Orbison, Jonny Cash etc and this guitar is ideal. It stacks up against my Epiphone Emperor quite well. If you are in the market for a big semi acoustic for a reasonable price the TSB49 is worth a look but for gods sake give it a good check before buying. Once sorted mines a goodun. Just one more thing it is a very large guitar try one for size first, but it gives you something to hide behind if the crowd turn nasty.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Once the above issues were sorted this guitar is as good as any others in the priceband. With the Entwistles fitted it has the edge over most. Live playing no problem strap buttons solid would happily use without a backup although not advised with any guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 3
Tanglewood really need to improve their pdi the strings were very dull (the shop provided a new set they were so bad). A piece of the fretboard was chipped but worst of all was the bridge, the mount for the tun-o-matic hadn't been ground flat underneath so had dug into the top 10 seconds on my grinder fixed it but shouldn't be necessary. Come on Tanglewood your products deserve better as they are generally well made. The rest of the guitars fittings are of excellent quality.

Features — 8
The TSB49 is a large semi acoustic with a maple top and laminate mahogany back and sides. My model is finished in Orange with cream binding everywhere very Gretsch looking. It has a floating tune-o-matic bridge. Two entwistle Vintage pickups are used with a three way switch and two volume and tone pots. Tuners are black capped grover copies seem good quality holds tune well. One strange addition is the rosewood panel screwed to the tailpiece, not sure it needed it but it does make it look different. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and 22 nicely finished frets. The headstock is 3 per side with a trident motif. One thing missing are markers on the fretboard makes you concentrate a bit though they are on the side of course.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Excellent review of an intriguing guitar. It seems Tanglewood is aiming the big names in the business, and that's good news for all those players who can't afford Fenders or Gibsons, but don't accept playing on firewood. I agree Entwistles are underrated too, and Alan is doing a hopeless PR job to his products. That's nothing to do about it. Minor flaws should occur more oftern, tough, that in the case of a big name. It's a huge change when you switch from small scale, custom shop production, to mass production. Especially when you do it in Far East. But Tanglewoods, who once upon a time were competing with low-level axes, are now solid value for money. I've actually started to like their touch of originality to classic designs. I think next time when I visit England I'll pick up one of those.
    is it easy to restring it,i just bought it today,playing superb.but..stringing it looks unusual..
    It is a bit of a faf as are most guitars with a tailpiece.I found doing one string at a time was easier as it kept the floating bridge still.Main prob is that wooden cover on the tailpiece a pair of small snipe nose pliers helps a lot.Hope the advice helps happy stringing and thanks for reading my review