REVIEW: The Tanglewood TSR-2 Acoustic Guitar

A minimalist approach is used for fret markers. Abalone is used for dots along the fingerboard edge as well as a “T” logo embedded into the 12th and 13th frets. A bone nut handles string spacing and a zero fret (you don’t see these too often) takes care of string height. A graceful wave shapes the top of the headstock which sports a rosewood veneer front and rear.

The TSR-2 features an ebony bridge, does it remind you of an inverted Nike swoosh?

The tuning machines are gold finished Grovers and the buttons are ebony. This guitar is a wood lover’s dream and a lot of thought was put into its design and appearance. I nearly forgot to mention the B-Band A1 electronics because they’re so well hidden. The bottom strap button doubles as the input jack. Inside the sound hole, a 9V battery hides inside a snap-buttoned sheath under the upper frets of the fingerboard, and a single easily accessible control for volume rests under the bass side.

RING OUT SOME CHORDS!

The guitar felt comfortable on my lap. The lower bout is fairly wide but the narrow waist provides a snug fit and drops the body low enough to compensate. The neck is fairly shallow and curves gently along the back which widens as it approaches the sides. All notes rang out clear and true throughout. The fingerboard is smooth and while I enjoyed strumming, I found myself drawn more to flat picking away at lead lines and finger picking. Tonally, the sound is bright, full, and notes ring out and sustain nicely. This review took me twice as long to write as usual because I kept going back to the guitar to play just a little more.

Testing the electric output, I plugged into an AER acoustiCube 3. As mentioned previously, controls include a single dial for volume – no tone as might be expected. I like options to help in shaping my sound but this didn’t bother me as the sound was faithfully reproduced without it. The majority of my adjustments happen after the output anyway and there’s something elegant about this limited approach.

THE FINAL WRAP

The Tanglewood TSR-2 is a real beauty sonically and visually. Its celebration of wood and minimalist, yet elegant, design gets to the core of what a great guitar should be. The cost will keep it out of reach for the average player, but this is not an average guitar. Given the qualities, it’s priced properly. The case is custom fit, heavy duty, and TSA-compliant, but the locking snaps are chunky and stick out like blocks. Thumbs up for durability, but a guitar like this deserves an equally appealing case.

PROS: Beautiful wood-centric design. Heavy duty custom fit TSA-approved case. Smooth, easy to travel fingerboard. Notes ring like a bell.

CONS: Deserves a nicer looking case.

MSRP – US $2349 / UK £1499 / Euro €1531

Dan Coplan is senior staff writer at SMG. Dan is a Los Angeles based cinematographer and self-admitting guitar junkie. Email: dancoplan@sharemyguitar.com

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  • What’s the midrange like? Does that bridge shape, and split saddle help to curb the boominess of models in this size category?? Do the mids punch out and project better than a typical dread or grand auditorium??

  • This is a fairly balanced guitar, but the emphasis is on the upper mid registers with some brighter treble adding clarity, without being too bright. There’s definitely fuller body to the tone but my impression is that this is something that will definitely fill out and warm up with time.

    I can’t comment on how the bridge shape affects the sound because I don’t have anything to fairly compare it to. As for the saddle, it’s not split or compensated – it’s straight all the way across.

    It is punchier than dreadnaughts I’ve played and this is likely attributed to the narrow waist. My feeling is that the mid range emphasis does help it project more than a fuller/wider guitar that promotes more of a bottom end.

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