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Review

Tanglewood Union TWU D

Issue #56

With the exception of the maple binding and simple rosette, there’s not much about this guitar that could be considered particularly “decorative”, and that’s a good thing. It means that your money is going on quality woods and construction, rather than flashy looks.
Nick Jennison

 PROS


Loud, full-bodied tone

Exceptional quality for the price

Perfect for beginners, casual players or anyone who gigs unplugged


Cons


Midrange punch comes at the expense of high-end detail

No piezo option


SPECS


Dreadnought Body Shape

Solid Mahogany Top, Back and Sides

Eboncore Fingerboard

Black Walnut Bridge

Guitar Interactive star rating:  4 stars

Tanglewood Union TWU D

MSRP £ 199 (UK)  $TBC (US)


Tanglewood Union TWU D

Part of the excellent-but-affordable Union series, the Tanglewood Union TWU D is an all-mahogany dreadnought that has a distinctly “working man” aesthetic. Nick Jennison takes a closer look.

I was chatting with a guitar playing friend recently, and the conversation turned to our first guitars. I was very lucky - my first instrument was a second hand Ibanez Blazer BL550; a Fugijen made strat copy bought for £100 from someone who “didn’t know what he had”. In fairness, neither did I, I just knew it was red and guitar-shaped therefore was completely irresistible!

My friend wasn’t so lucky. His was a catalogue-bought, unplayable plank with sharp frets, a balsa wood body and an action you could do the limbo under. 20 plus years later, and we’re both marvelling over how good entry-level guitars have become. Later that week, in a lovely bit of serendipity, I found myself at GI HQ to be greeted with the Tanglewood TWU D.

With the exception of the maple binding and simple rosette, there’s not much about this guitar that could be considered particularly “decorative”, and that’s a good thing. It means that your money is going on quality woods and construction, rather than flashy looks.

The guitar comes out of the box with a very comfortable setup. The action is low enough to play very easily while still maintaining just enough height to withstand aggressive strumming, and the frets are tidy and well finished. While the dreadnought body style might be a little large for young players, the playability is perfect for beginners, casual strummers and gigging musicians alike.

Speaking of body styles, there are three shapes available in the range - a smaller orchestra size, a cutaway “super folk” (read: grand orchestra) and the dreadnought we’re looking at today. Dreads are rather boomy and robust sounding at the best of times, and the all-mahogany construction only further emphasises this. There’s a very strong midrange bark that’s guaranteed to be heard in almost any setting. Whether you’re playing at loud social gatherings, unplugged cafe gigs or busking on streets and in train stations, this is a guitar that’ll keep up with your voice and cut above the hubbub.

This full-throated presence comes at the expense of top-end sparkle, so perhaps this isn’t the best tool for delicate fingerstyle work (although I’d imagine the smaller bodied TWU F would handle gentler styles much better). It is, however, absolutely ideal for loud strumming and bluesy flatpicking.

It’s quite astonishing how much guitar you're getting for your money here. Use of alternative materials (mahogany over spruce for the top, “eboncore” for the fretboard and bridge) and a workmanlike aesthetic have come together to keep the price very low, and three industry-standard body styles ensure that there’s something in the range to suit players of every style.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:

tanglewoodguitars.co.uk

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