Many companies offer up cutaway dreadnaught body guitars, but the Lâg Tramontane T400DCE we were sent for review is easy to point out in a crowd.
The Tramontane series’ unique features give it a visual distinction that belies its moderate price. Among these features on the T400DCE are the classy stepped headstock facing and matching bridge, a elongated soundhole rosette with an inlaid Occitania cross (a symbol for a region of Southern France), and black appointments (resin saddle, graphite nut and enclosed tuning gears with tulip shaped buttons). The interlaced Lâg logo is inlaid into headstock with contrasting wood. The end result is an instrument with a slightly Gothic, or perhaps Celtic, appearance. (Lâg is based in France, but our review model T400DCE hailed from China.)
The rosewood body is topped with a solid Sitka spruce soundboard with natural wood binding. The edge of the binding has a very slight rounded radius: a small but nice touch. The body is finished to a high gloss, while the bolt-on mahogany neck is finished with a player-preferred matte finish. The rosewood fingerboard is unadorned with inlays, keeping with the overall vibe of the instrument. Of course, there are side position markers on the edge of the fingerboard so the player knows where they are and where to go next.
Acoustically, the guitar sounds loud and bright. Lead players will appreciate being able to be heard over several rhythm players at once without problem. The guitar’s voice lacked the kind of bass response one usually associates with a rosewood body dreadnaught-sized guitar, however the guitar is young and top will age over time. lso, the guitar is shipped with Elixir strings which are on the brighter side of the tonal spectrum.
For plugged-in use, the T400DCE is equipped with a Shadow Nanoflex under-the-saddle piezo pickup with Lâg’s propriety StudioLâg Plus pre-amp. The rim-mounted pre-amp features five preset EQ curves, a preset bypass switch, a bass-treble (contour) control that works in tandem with the preset or separately, a volume control and a built-in tuner.
The chromatic tuner, which can be used with or without the guitar being plugged in, works flawlessly and accurately … and the tuner switch silently mutes the guitar’s electronics without any annoying clicks or pops though the amplifying system.
Testing the pickup/pre-amp through a variety of inputs, including a Roland AC-33 acoustic guitar amp, a ’65 Fender Twin Reverb and our studio console, it was easy to dial in great, usable sounds by simply selecting the best sounding preset for each amp and fine tuning it with the sweeping bass-treble control. The sounds are robust and full-range, eliminating any concern about the lack of bass response in the guitar’s wholly acoustic voice.
The Lâg T400DCE’s looks certainly set it apart from the competition. While it performs well acoustically, it excels when plugged in. For the performer who is looking to make a bold statement visually the Lâg T400DCE certainly could be the ticket.