Price paid: £ 250
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
I play absolutely all sorts on ths guitar. I mainly focus on classic rock, and this guitar sounds beautiful for what I play. Last friday I played stairway to heaven on it in a large hall of at least 800+ spectating in some guitar and drums solo competition. I was using a Vox amp someone kindly lent me, I may have set it up slightly wrong, with a bit too much reverb, but still sounded impressive, when it was solo time, I used a pretty cheap pedal (digitech RP50) for a bit of overdrive/distortion. I came third in the competition, which is non too shabby for myself. I play bluesy style guitar on it often, have managed to pull a few jimi hendrix licks, but it does lack the sharpness for that style. I play both rhythm and lead on it, no problem. I've yet to buy a proper stage amp and only play on some 20w amp with no memorable name, yet as stated earlier, it sounds great, it has a really full sound, I guess is how to describe it, that can be changed from rock to blues, strong lead to simple rhythm easily. however the amp does make a bizarre noise when someone starts watching television downstairs. my even cheaper 10w Squier amp is ironically more reliable. There is no buzzing noise though from the pick-ups from loud volumes, and no real issues I can think of.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a great guitar, that may well be overlooken. Tanglewood are seen as people whom normally make acoustics/semi, this is truly a nice piece of overlooked equipment! Would I buy this in front of a `proper` Gibson Les Paul custom? well yes, of course! simply because I don't feel a Gibson custom (despite the price, lets say 2500) does/plays/sounds 10m times as good this guitar, my dad whom had the 59 custom, has played this guitar and claims the main difference he notices are the frets aren't as low as his, and the tone is lacking a little compared to his black beauty. `if` I had the money, then I'd go gibson, and have this as backup. If I lost this guitar, I would get another, I just love the sound and look of it, and the price! my favourite feature has got to be (along with the looks) the simpleness it is too change the tone completely, From what I've played, the tone switches have never `done much` for me normally, this guitar appears to be different for this price. Least favourite feature, is possible the strap buttons. Anything I wish it had? Yes, the Gibson brand logo if it did, I could easily sell it (if I ever do) for a large sum of money.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar can easily be played on a stage and still get a few people asking `what make is that?` and `bet that cost a few` as was the case last friday. I've played it for a year now, neck hasn't warped, the set up has remained the same, nothing has broken. The strap buttons (so that's what they're called!) are not the best, recommend switching them personally. The hardware is all fine, the gold will fade over time, but it gives it that more used/vintage look in my opinion, the humbuckers are sounding as good as when I initially played it. The finish is still in tact and perfect, it hasn't seem to worn at all, despite always playing with a strap, and keeping a strap on it in a hard case, there is no markings to the eye, maybe a closer inspection would reveal a few, but to me and the audience it looks new. Would I depend on it for a gig without a back up? yes I certaintly would and hae, for the diverse sound in tones it can do.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set up already when I purchased it, it had an extremely high action (I'm sorry, I get the high action and low action muddled frequently, the strings were very close to the fretboard throughout the whole neck, I believe that's high) and suits my fast style of playing very well. The pickups we're similarily set up to high standards, the neck one always looked at a funny angle to me, but it sounds good, so I won't knock it. The finish is great, maybe `plasticy looking` to some. Gold hardware adds to it as well, gold on the hmbuckers, after a year of abuse, are starting to fade a bit now, but I like the look of a used guitar. There was a tiny ding at the top of guitar, where the headstock meets the neck, I believe it may have been cause on a display rack, where an eager customer may have picked it up too quickly, Has never affected playing, sound, and hasn't gotten worse over the years. Tuners are fairly decent, transport in hard case doesn't knock it out of tune as badly as I was expecting. However, may have been my strings (hybrid slinkies), i have noticed during fast solo's (freebird comes into mind) with multiple bends, the B string can go out of tune very slighty.
Features — 7
Note-First review, so shall try best to be guitar tech as possible, bare with me here.... Bought this lovely guitar last year, second hand. It truly is an under rated guitar... here's all the boring yet important stuff (copied and pasted from a an internet source) * SHAPE Single Cutaway * BODY Solid Mahogany * TOP Maple Veneer * NECK (MATERIAL) Mahogany * NECK (BUILD) Set Neck * FINGERBOARD Rosewood * BINDING Cream ABS Front & Back * NUT (WIDTH) Cream ABS (43mm) * SCALE LENGTH 630mm * MACHINE HEADS Gold Grover style * INLAYS Block, Mother of Pearl * HARDWARE Gold * FINISH Ebony Gloss * PICKUPS 3 x Entwistle Alnico HV58 The guitar really does look like a Gibson custom, and incredibly, sounds absolutely amazing for the price. I have been saving up for a Gibson studio or a standard, but having played a few in shops. I've yet to find one that sounds as rich as this guitar. it has 3 way a selector switch, and the Standard 4 knobs for volume/tone as you'd expect on a Les Paul by now. However unlike various offenders on the market, turning these knobs actually makes a change in the sound, having three humbuckers means you can expect quite a loud ol' noise with a bit of crunch and reverb, however with a a bit of fiddling of the correct knobs, you can get a very bluesy sound to it, if not as sharp as (let's say for sake of argument) a Fender strat. It was second hand, but strangely the retrn address was a Tanglewood factory, possibly was display? I don't know, but the person threw in a free leather and suede strap in the box, nothing else came with it. A tiny complaint is the bit that sticks out for the strap (very technical) is not the best, my strap slipped over it a few times, I ended up placing a washer over it for it too stay in place, however this was too much grip and started unscrewing the strap `thing` slowly, I glued it in last year and it's been fine, been meaning to get a replacement though.