Review of Tanglewood Nashville IV Folk Model
acoustic guitar -
Tanglewood set the standard for price and performance when it
launched and rapidly become the UK's biggest selling acoustic
brand. Now its guitars are sold in 40 countries worldwide and are
becoming much more widely available in the USA and Canada. But how
low can prices go and quality be maintained? Tim Slater tries one
the brand new and highly affordable Nashville IVs.
Tanglewood made its considerable reputation by offering an
impressive range of high quality acoustic guitars whose superb
playability, specifications and great tones defied the price
ticket. Very quickly, players realised what was going on and
Tanglewood became the benchmark for affordable yet high quality
instruments. But its latest offerings, the Nashville IV range seem
almost spookily cheap if they are to maintain the Tanglewood
legend. We borrowed a Folk size model from a range that currently
comprises four solid topped guitars: two pure acoustic Folk and
Dreadnought models and two electro acoustic Super Folk and cutaway
You can see where Tanglewood has spent its money the moment you
look at this guitar. There are no cosmetic flourishes, just decent
quality woods and construction - qualities we very much approve
of! And it's not as if the Nashville IV is meanly austere.
The satin finish spruce on our sample Folk size model is a very
attractive piece of timber whose subtly striped grain even featured
a nice bit of mild flaming around the edges. Check out the video
and see for yourselves! That soft yellow spruce is a striking and
attractive contrast to the bright orange African mahogany used to
form the laminated back and sides.
The overall standard of workmanship is consistently tidy and
complemented by a good set-up job. The fret ends are uniformly
neatly finished whilst the internal kerfing that bonds and
strengthens the join between the top, back and sides is about as
neat as anyone could hope to find at this price range.
Playability-wise the Nashville IV Folk reflects the now popular
transition to a more forgiving, almost electric guitar-like feel.
Again, this is great news for GI readers who are primarily electric
players, looking for an acoustic to 'just have around' or for
recording. The neck is a comfy shallow 'C' profile that feels
incredibly slim. In fact female guitarists or younger male players
with smaller hands will find this a real treat! Equally, even a
hairy biker who has just put down his Charvel Jackson is going to
enjoy this neck, too. It will remind him of 'home'.
The low price isn't reflected in the hardware either, which
includes a very reliable set of vintage-style open gear tuning
machines that are mounted on a square Martin-inspired headstock
whose maple/mahogany trim is one of this guitar's few bold
Folk style guitars were essentially developed to replace the
banjo as the lead stringed instrument in the dance bands of the
1940s. Their 14th fret neck join offered guitarists a greater range
compared to the cumbersome Dreadnought's traditional 12th fret neck
join, whilst the tighter waist helped the guitars develop more top
end clarity without sacrificing the vital projection that the
guitarist needed to cut through the rest of the band. So does the
Tanglewood live up to that aspiration?
In fact the Nashville IV Folk sounds surprisingly sophisticated
for such a relatively inexpensive guitar - markedly less raw than
one might expect. It successfully conveys the Folk model's
versatility, delivering enough grunt to project clearly during
vigorous strumming but switching to a 'lead' style, using either
fingers or a flatpick, highlights a pleasingly strident top end.
Whilst its overall tone isn't as deep or authoritative as a
Dreadnought, this little Folkie nevertheless feels very capable.
You can park it in front of a good quality condenser microphone and
it will chug away quite happily all day long but when you want to
play with more delicacy the Nashville IV sounds smooth and
It could be argued that the electro-acoustic models in the
Nashville IV range will ultimately offer more versatility, but the
other way of looking at it is that not everyone wants a pickup and
pre-amp, so why buy one? Also, if you develop a real love for a
guitar, you can choose your own pickup system and have it fitted at
a later date for not a lot of money.
For the price, this Tanglewood delivers tremendous value for
money and certainly upholds the brand's VFM credentials. And if you
were looking for that final deal-maker? Why, it even comes with a
Check out the full review inc. video of
the Tanglewood Nashville IV Folk Model
featured in The Quiet Room of
Guitar Interactive Magazine Issue 19.