Review of Tanglewood TCMR 1 & TCMR 2 Acoustic Guitar
Tanglewood, the highly respected British acoustic guitar
company, has joined forces with Spain's renowned classical builder
Manuel Rodriguez to produce two classical models using the same
formula - European design with cost-effective Asian
manufacturing But can the newcomers meet Giorgio Serci's
Tanglewood is well known throughout Europe for having raised the
game of Far Eastern acoustic guitar manufacturing to a high level.
Taking European designs and having them made in Asia isn't a new
idea, but Tanglewood was one of the first to really get it right.
As a consequence the brand has become one of the biggest selling in
Europe and is now increasingly available in North America and
Tanglewood made its name with steel strung acoustics and where
it has looked beyond its roots, it has forged highly successful
partnerships with experts in other areas to help it - for example,
it recruited the Scandinavian luthier Michael Sanden to help design
its top end acoustics and the internationally respected British
bass maker, Chris May, of Overwater, to design its range of
electric basses. Now it has turned its attention to classical
guitars and this time it has sought the assistance of Manuel
Rodriguez, the world-renowned guitar manufacturer from Madrid.
Manuel Rodriguez Junior has been actively involved in the design of
the two models we have for review here, the TCMR 1 and the TCMR
Having already established two successful partnerships, how well
does this latest one work? In theory it should be a great team -
allying the Rodriguez expertise in traditional design and
manufacture with Tanglewood's ability to source and quality control
instruments at very fair prices. Let's find out!
Tanglewood TCMR1 (see image)
Straight from the box, this full size (4/4) classical guitar has
a beautiful natural look, with contrasting wood colours, from the
spruce top, the Indian rosewood fretboard and bridge, to the
bubinga sides and back.
Its mahogany headstock and neck meet the upper bout in a fluid
and ergonomic manner. The simple but elegant binding is
tortoiseshell in colour. Both the 52mm nut and the saddle are made
of cow bone for an improved sustain.
Its classical neck is really comfortable, with a nut width of
52mm and a scale length of 650mm this is an easy guitar to play.
While particularly indicated for the classical repertoire, this
instrument would be perfect to play Brazilian music such as Bossa
Nova, Samba etc and fingerstyle in general.
This is not a concert classical guitar, but considering that it
costs at least 20 times less than one, I think it's worth every
penny! It took me no time to tune it and to feel at ease with the
action as it came with a very good set-up straight from the
factory. Tuning was made easier also, thanks to its accurate
classical style (silver plated) machine heads.
Like all the Tanglewood classical range, the TCMR 1 features the
Torres' style bracing, which enhances the lower end frequency for a
warmer response and a versatile tonal palette.
The first two strings are not are sweet and warm as they are the
TCMR 2 (but that is 50 per cent pricier) and the edge of the frets
may be a little sharp for some tastes. For this reason I think this
would be a great classical guitar for beginner to intermediate
level players, or perhaps for an electric guitarists looking for a
nylon string guitar for the odd recording session.
Like most classical guitars, the TCMR 1 doesn't come with a
built-in preamp. This is not necessarily a disadvantage! On the
contrary, built-in pickups can compromise the acoustic tone and
sustain of the instrument. The best means to record a classical
guitar such as this one is by using one or, even better, two
condenser microphones for a pure, acoustic outcome. For those
looking for a gigging guitar, adding a decent pickup of your choice
would not be an expensive job. This way this could became a
versatile instrument, quite good for traveling, as it doesn't cost
an arm and a leg.
Tanglewood TCMR 2
Straight from the box, this full size (4/4) classical guitar
shares the good looks of its less expensive sibling, with
contrasting wood colours, from the spruce top, the Indian rosewood
fretboard and bridge, to the mahogany sides and back, which replace
the bubinga used on the TCMR 1 and are the key to why this is the
more expensive model.
In most respects this is visually very similar to the cheaper
Tanglewood and it shares much of the same construction but, that
said, it is definitely better than its sister model, with a sweeter
tone quality on the treble strings, with a warm and defined mid and
low-mid. It is roughly 50 per cent pricier, due to the more
expensive tone wood used, but this is still in the low-mid price
range, which means this guitar is worth every extra penny.
There are other differences too, for example, the finish on the
frets is also better than on the sample TCMR 1 we had, with no
In conclusion, these are two fine guitars for the money and both
would gig quite happily. If you can afford the more expensive
TCMR2, you are going to get a better guitar but that doesn't
detract from the quality of the cheaper model. In both cases you
are getting a bargain from these well made, well priced
instruments. Just marginally, we felt the TCMR 2 was worth an extra
half a star on account of its superior tone and finishing, but no
one need feel disappointed if all they can afford is the TCMR
Check out the full review inc. video of the Tanglewood
TCMR 1 & TCMR 2 acoustic guitars by Rick Graham
featured in Issue 15 of
Guitar Interactive Magazine.