The Tanglewood TW2-E acoustic guitar is a good looking and good sounding guitar a very remarkable price. It is part of the new Winterleaf Classic series that should be of interest to guitar-playing singer-songwriters and students. The TW2-E has a laminated mahogany top that matches well with mahogany neck, back and sides. This continuity of wood, plus the natural satin finish and absence of binding, give the appearance of a much more expensive guitar.
My first impressions playing this guitar were that its tone matched its simple good looks. The guitar’s orchestra body style was comfortable to play and the combination of the compensating Nubone saddle and Nubone nut along with the mahogany top made for a warm, consistent tone across the instrument with an appropriate amount of bottom end. People sometimes expect big guitars to have the biggest and, so, the best sound. That’s not always true. Personally, I like smaller body styles for what they offer: better focus, more powerful in their volume, and often a better balance between bass and treble. Plus, smaller guitars can be less prone to feedback onstage. Smaller guitars also play a role in the studio where they can often produce a cleaner recording. The TW2-E’s body is orchestra size (000 or OM) and not as large as a dreadnought or jumbo guitar.
While I didn’t find the setup of this guitar to be comfortable for my playing style, I tried the TW2-E in some different playing situations and was pleasantly surprised by the result. The guitar compared very favorably when played with other more expensive guitars and sounded good playing different styles of music. It performed well strumming hard and playing leads, as well as projecting well when finger picking. The rosewood fingerboard and neck shape were very comfortable in hand up and down the neck. That made the setup issue less of a drawback for me. The open tuning machines worked smoothly and intonation was good.
Most guitars in this price range don’t include electronics, but the TW2 AS incorporates a B-Band M450T system with a three-band EQ and built-in, easily visible tuner. While the pickup/preamp combination didn’t flatter the sound of the TW2 AS when we put it through a PA, the electronics were better than most in this price range. I liked the feel and sound of the D’Addario EXP11 strings and the guitar comes with a well-fitted hard case. All things considered, the good looks and solid tone of this instrument win out to make it a great buy for occasional performers and it is an ideal guitar for students. With a great setup, this modest acoustic guitar could easily compete with others several times its price.
Street price: $499.99