Who are Tanglewood

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eldarvanyareldarvanyar LondonFrets: 25
Hi all, I have just seen lots of nice looking acoustics on eBay by Tanglewood guitars. 

Who are they, where are they made and more importantly are they any good? 

Thanks 
'Less is more' or is it 'more is less?'

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  • Everything is made in China.

    Alan Entwistle was involved with them some years ago and I'm pretty sure he designed some of the electrics at least. I met him a couple of times when he worked at Cranes in Cardiff and I think there might have been a link to Cranes in the early days (before they went to their in-house Hudson brand).

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  • proggyproggy Frets: 131

    I've got a Tanglewood TW70 H SRE and it is very good indeed. It's one of their more expensive models though, all solid wood construction and sounds beautiful. I haven't tried any of their other guitars so I can't really speak for them.

    I think they're based in Kent somewhere, but the guitars are made in china.

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  • xSkarloeyxSkarloey Frets: 2928
    British company I believe. Usual story I think: guitars designed here, made largely in the Far East, possibly QC'd here and made to a variety of price points.


    See also Vintage (brand) and Freshman, who have a similar business model. 

    I have never owned a Tanglewood, but I have tried a few. One especially (a cutaway electro) sounded and felt good. So yes, not bad in my limited experience, but it's like everything really: you pays your money and you takes your choice, ideally having tried one first.
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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 243
    They have quite a wide range of guitars from the cheap end, which are very average, to the fairly costly models which are really quite good. Their mid-range guitars £500 - £700 are good for the price but they have plenty of competition.

    What lets Tanglewood down is non-existent customer service (try emailing them and see what response you get) and poor resale values.

    You don't stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.

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  • proggyproggy Frets: 131
    The thing that got my back up a bit with my one was I payed over a grand for it to find it didn't come with a case or gigbag, the bloke in the shop charged me extra for one. Tight git.
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  • steersteer Frets: 41
    Father in law has one of their small body acoustics. I believe it was just under £200. Plays nicely, looks the part. Sounds best plugged in rather than acoustically, but that is a problem I usually find inherent in a small bodied guitar. I don't think you would go too far wrong with one. 
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  • ExorcistExorcist Frets: 108
    I have a little mahogany parlour, solid back and top. Its sounds fantastic, I had to level the frets to get it there, but now its my most played guitar.. probably. Small enough to sit next to the couch, love digging in to the strings for some dirty blues, the mahogany has some kind of natural compression that almost growls when you attack the strings. I think they have gone up, but I only payed about £200 a couple of years ago. I liked it so much I also bought a stripped body, factory second?? for cheap which I have just refretted, but still has some work to go.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 23
    My first guitar was a Tanglewood Discovery, it was ok to start with but developed quite a bump on the bridge pretty quickly. 
    I've picked and played quite a few others in Nevada Music, to my ear they don't compare with Faith / Sigma / Yamaha in the £200 - £800 range. 
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  • MagicPigDetectiveMagicPigDetective Frets: 51
    edited December 2016
    I have a Tanglewood TW900CE electric-acoustic which I bought in Cranes, Cardiff about ten years ago (for somewhere between £200-300). I dont have a big frame of reference so have no idea of it's quality. I didn't play it for a few years, but have picked it up again recently. I've adjusted the truss rod to get rid of a backbow which has improved playability, but the action is way high, about 4mm at the 12th fret. From what I read on t'internet it seems that the best option is to file away below the saddle. The pick up is not working too. I want to put some work into this one to bring it to it's full potential. But will need to decide it it's any good or whether to get something better (let the GAS begin.....)
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  • Exorcist said:
    I have a little mahogany parlour, solid back and top. Its sounds fantastic.
    I've got a TW133ASM parlour (same as yours?) I bought new but cheap a few years ago (think I paid £150 when they were usually over £200).  Obviously not the best guitar in the world (plastic nut and saddle for example) but IMO it sounds far better than it has a right to for that money.  I reckon I'd have to pay a lot more for any major improvement in sound, and if it got broken or nicked I'd be after another one.
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  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 1272
    They're really nice guitars, incredibly well made and they sound great. I regret selling my parlour (it was mainly because the neck was a bit narrow).

    The Sanden Master Design series are really top notch, made from the best tonewoods.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 23
    Hmmm might have to try one again. Have not picked a up a Tanglewood for a few years having 'made my mind up about them' but guess they might feel different to me now. 

    I remember the actions not being consistent, especially compared to Faith who take great care setting up and signing off their acoustics. 

    I've also written off Crafter having had an absolute dog to play. Lovely woods on it and we'll made but hard as hell to fret. 

    I guess everything is worth another look! 
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  • DiscoStuDiscoStu Frets: 1977
    The STR-1 Les Paul-alikes that are held in high regard on here are Tanglewoods.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 20208
    One of the better cheaper brands - above average build quality and tone at the low end of the range, although not so much at the top end. You're almost always better buying a bottom-end 'name' brand model than a top-end 'other' brand model, for similar prices - but if you can't afford to do that then Tanglewood are one of the better alternatives. I'm not sure I'd want to pay much more than about £500 for one though.

    They have a 'house sound' that tends to be a bit thicker and warmer than some of the more fashionable low/middle brands, which I like. But then I don't like Faiths so that might be a minority opinion.

    Buy an acoustic for tone not playability, up to a point - don't be put off by a bad set-up, if you can avoid it. A set-up can (usually) be improved, and (usually) doesn't alter the tone that much, whereas the opposite is not true… a set-up can make a difference, but it can't change the inherent voicing of a guitar.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BigLicks67BigLicks67 Frets: 180
    I played 3 yesterday, dreads and a parlour, of which 2 of them had cedar tops and sounded pretty good. However, the fret work was a bit rough and the spruce dread had intonation issues.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 23
    ICBM said:
    You're almost always better buying a bottom-end 'name' brand model than a top-end 'other' brand model, for similar prices.
    My perception is that you get better value for money with an 'other' brand than a 'name' brand at a similar price point. 

    I think guitarist did a bit on this recently, they advised (as a car analogy) buying an expensive Skoda over a cheap Mercedes if you are just looking at value for money. 

    With the big brands you are always paying at least a little for the name. 

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  • Further to my above posts, it look to me that the cause of the high action on my ten year old Tanglewood may be that the neck angle has tilted forwards. The sound board is sagging between the neck and the bridge. Using a ruler, the fretboard lines up with the base of the bridge. The saddle is already low, so I’m concerned that it may need a neck reset. I might attempt to post a photo tonight.

    This article raises concerns about the neck joint used on some Tanglewoods

    http://guitarless.com/2011/06/mass-manufacture-acoustic-neck-joints/

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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 23
    Thanks for the link @MagicPigDetective very interesting. I'm going to look at my acoustics neck joints now... 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 20208
    Fuengi said:
    ICBM said:
    You're almost always better buying a bottom-end 'name' brand model than a top-end 'other' brand model, for similar prices.
    My perception is that you get better value for money with an 'other' brand than a 'name' brand at a similar price point. 

    I think guitarist did a bit on this recently, they advised (as a car analogy) buying an expensive Skoda over a cheap Mercedes if you are just looking at value for money. 

    With the big brands you are always paying at least a little for the name. 

    Disagree. With a cheap model from a expensive brand you are - or should be, if they're doing it right - paying for a similar quality of R&D and workmanship as an expensive model, just without the trimmings. With a top model from a cheap brand you're likely to be paying for the trimmings rather than the underlying quality.

    I'd far rather have a cheap Martin than an expensive Tanglewood at the same price.

    The Skoda/Mercedes thing doesn't really work because I'd probably rather have a cheap Skoda than an expensive Merc :). Quality in cars - especially where it really matters, for reliability - is far less related to cost than it is with guitars.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Intersting discussion....I raised it with my guitar teacher, he was firmly of the skoda analogy school of thought and had some doubts on the quality of cheaper Taylors.

    My Tanglewood's forward neck angle is beyond saving I fear. A replacement is sought; played a Faith Saturn tonight which was fantastic. I wont be getting another Tanglewood. 

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  • VeganicVeganic Frets: 26
    MMagicPigDetective said:

    My Tanglewood's forward neck angle is beyond saving I fear. 

    My old Tanglewood's action seems to have grown over the years.  I sanded down the saddle and things soon went back to how they were. 

    Probably time to set fire to it.
    I do need to find an electric with the same neck profile - I love it.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 23
    @ICBM no, the analogy doesn't work if you choose a cheap guitar over an expensive one!

    They were comparing similar costing acoustics from different manufacturers and came to the conclusion that say, a Seagull or Faith at £500 - £700 is a better value guitar than you would get from Martin or Taylor at that price point - if you can ignore the name on the headstock. 

    You are more likely to get better woods, appointments, electronics and they are all most likely to be made in China. 

    I'll see if I can find the article.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 20208
    Fuengi said:
    @ICBM no, the analogy doesn't work if you choose a cheap guitar over an expensive one!

    They were comparing similar costing acoustics from different manufacturers and came to the conclusion that say, a Seagull or Faith at £500 - £700 is a better value guitar than you would get from Martin or Taylor at that price point - if you can ignore the name on the headstock.
    That's exactly where I disagree. I've never played any Seagull or Faith I like as much as a cheap Martin. Not quite so sure about Taylor, but I think I'd still say so. I like the Seagulls better than the Faiths I've played, but £700 buys you a really good-sounding, if very plain and not made from solid wood, Martin.

    Fuengi said:

    You are more likely to get better woods, appointments, electronics and they are all most likely to be made in China. 
    Possibly, but that doesn't necessarily translate into better tone.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • BigLicks67BigLicks67 Frets: 180
    I agree with @ICBM, better woods/materials does not automatically produce a better guitar. The skill of the builder is what counts, as Antonio de Torres proved with his 1862 papier mache back and sides guitar.
    Although, I really dislike the stratabond necks on the cheaper Martin's.
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  • I picked up a cheap (£70 + shipping on the 'bay) Tanglewood TFA with cedar top just before Christmas to use for a slide gig I play, but I did give it a go conventionally beforehand. The action is high enough to make playing hard work (but well suited to slide) the neck a little too narrow for comfort and the (bone) nut cut much too deep and causing tuning issues. I sorted the nut replaced the mangled bridge pins, popped new strings on and it didn't sound bad, though a little lacking in both top & bottom end. Its not bad, but nowhere near the sound quality and playability of a Faith naked series.

    As a slide guitar it's just pretty much perfect, with all the string energy going into the mids where they can carry through the other acoustic instruments instead of dissipating. The small body is also convenient, letting me sit down to play in a crowded pub instead of needing to stand in order to find room for the dread.
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