Claescaster

Tag: parlour guitars

Chest Fever

Araceli and Claes, Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012 © Claes Gellerbrink, photographs can't be used without permission

Last Saturday Araceli and I had another gig with Chest Fever. We recently bought a Bill Lawrence A-300 pickup so Araceli could play her favourite little Tanglewood Premier TW133 guitar and I fitted my L.R. Baggs M1 in my 1968 Goya Model 163 and was very pleased with the result. You can listen to the whole gig on Youtube.

Tanglewood TRP-73VSE

Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011
Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE 2011

Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE, Parlour guitar 2011, 400€ 350€
Araceli and I have decided to put one of our Tanglewood’s up for sale and just keep her favourite Tanglewood Premier TW133. The Tanglewood Grand Reserve TRP-73VSE is a very beautiful and well sounding little parlour, especially plugged in, designed in the UK and hand built in China.  Solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides this model produces a great rich tone with brilliant resonance for a small bodied guitar especially with the superb onboard B-band A3 pickup system. Other features include quality gold Kluson style machine heads, maple and herringbone binding and a lovely vintage sunburst high gloss finish. TRP-73VSE RRP £399.00

Tanglewood Premier TW133

Tanglewood Premier TW133 2010
Tanglewood Premier TW133, designed in the UK and handcrafted in China in 2010

When I met my other half Araceli back in 2007 she already new the basic cowboy chords but never really played guitar, I had only heard her strum a handful of times. She told me that she didn’t really like to play on my guitars since I seemed to care so much about them so I thought the best way around that would be to get her a guitar of her own. I also felt that since I had experienced so much joy through music in my life that would be the least I could give to the woman I love. I talked to her family and we agreed to put in 50 Euro each and get her a guitar for her birthday in September 2010. It was down to me to find a suitable guitar within our budget so I started to do some research. I knew that a parlour guitar would be best option, she is pretty small so I thought that a small bodied guitar would be easier for her to handle. I already had an inexpensive parlour a Vintage V880N that I liked but didn’t love so I thought I would try another brand this time and started to read about Tanglewood. People seemed to really like them, especially in the UK, and they had quite a few parlour sized models so it felt like a good start. Since you can’t just walk in to a guitar shop here in Barcelona and try what you are looking for, the shops here are useless and have nothing in stock, I had to rely on reviews and then order the guitar online. In the end I went for the Tanglewood Premier TW133, since I thought she would really like the look of it, or at least I loved the dark wood and the simplicity of it. I also felt that a solid mahogany top and back would give a bit more warmth and body to it compared to most new made parlour guitars which I feel normally lack that. She was really happy with her birthday present and started to play almost daily and soon after we even started a band together called Chest Fever.

© Claes Gellerbrink, photographs can't be used without permission. Araceli and Claes Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012
Araceli, Chest Fever session, Barcelona 29-04-2012

Tanglewood Premier Historic TW133 ASM
SHAPE: Parlour, TOP: Solid Mahogany, BACK: Solid Mahogany
SIDES; Mahogany, NECK: One Piece Mahogany
FINGERBOARD: Rosewood, BRIDGE: Rosewood
SADDLE: PPS, Compensated, 72mm, NUT: PPS (43mm)
SCALE LENGTH: 650mm, BRIDGE PINS: Black with White Dots
MACHINE HEADS: Chrome open geared (changed to gold Grovers)
FINISH Natural Satin, STRINGS: D’Addario EXP11, 12-53, RRP: £269.95

Guitar strings

Chest Fever, Araceli and Claes in action
Chest Fever in action at Palau Alòs 16/3 2013

How do you chose what strings to use? Do you listen to others, read reviews or actually try all the brands available? In my case I guess it has been a combination of what others are using, what I’ve read good things about and what I actually realised that I like. I don’t really know much about different materials or how some type of strings affect the sound in certain ways. I guess a big part for me has always been the price since I’m a hard hitter and tend to break strings a lot. When I was young I was poor and had to stick to the cheaper brands and now when I’m older and less poor I have too many guitars to afford to string them up with the best brands. I’ve always been stuck in the middle and changed brands many times depending on what’s affordable and popular in the country I’ve been living. I used Rotosound (Roto Reds 11-48) while I lived in the UK and now in Spain I’ve changed to Ernie Ball (Regular Slinky 10-46). The main reason why I changed from 11’s to 10’s was because I felt that I was old enough to use what I wanted and not care about what everyone else said. My whole life people around me have told me that the thicker the better, and that you are less of a man if you play on anything thinner than 11’s. Remember that Billy Gibbons uses 08’s and still has a pretty descent tone on his ‘Pearly Gates’ 1959 Les Paul. When I started to use 10’s my guitar playing changed completely, not only could I play faster but I also started to bend more and play in ways that I hadn’t been able to or bothered with before. My Telecasters stringed with 10’s are pure country heaven and way much more fun than before. I still use 11’s on my Hagström Viking and the Gretsch copy I have. At the moment I’m using Martin M175 (80/20 Custom Light Bronze Acoustic Strings 11-52) on my acoustics. Mainly because my girlfriend Araceli liked 11’s on her parlour guitars and it was easier to buy the same strings in bulk for both of us but also because I like to play acoustic like I play electric and don’t want to feel held back with too thick string gauge. I’m planning to put a set of 12’s or 13’s on one of my Dreadnoughts just to try if it really makes a world of difference to the tone. I would love to know what others are using and why. Please write a comment below and let me know.

Roto Sound roto reds 11
I used these for years but have now given up on 11’s

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10-46
My new found favourites, so smooth and easy to play without being too flimsy. I tend to buy them in bulk on eBay from USA

Martin acoustic guitar 11-52
Araceli and I tend to stick to these since you can get a 3-pack for 9,90€ from Thomann

Peavey electric guitar strings

Peavey acoustic guitar strings
I’m not proud to admit it but I do use Peavey’s discount strings occasionally. In Alfasoni you can get them for 2€ and they are perfect when you break a string or you just need to string up a guitar that you don’t use that much.

How to… fit a undersaddle pickup

Vintage V880N Parlour acoustic Vintage V880N Parlour acoustic, newly fitted with a ARTEC PP-607 undersaddle Piezo pickup

I got the basic ARTEC PP-607 undersaddle Piezo pickup cheap of eBay, I think it was 15€ with the endpin jack including shipping. I got around to install it last night and I have to say that I’m well pleased with the result. I had read that Piezo’s without a preamp isn’t much but I have to say I disagree. This pickup is way louder than some magnetic soundhole pickups I’ve used in the past and sounds ten times more acoustic and natural. It’s without any doubt my favourite way to amplify an acoustic guitar, well I still haven’t tried fancy things like the LR Baggs M1, I have been thinking of investing in one of those. However, this is a cheap, discrete and really nice way of playing electric with an acoustic guitar.

Vintage V880N Parlour acoustic I just drilled a 2 mm hole through the bridge. I wish I wouldn’t have been so lazy and gone and bought a 3 mm drill because the 2 mm was too small and the next size up in my tool box was a 4 mm which would have been too big. I tried to widen the hole with a screw, which worked but it was still a bit tight so when I was fiddling with getting the plug through the hole the plug came off. I was so happy to have purchased a solder free pickup that you could just plug in to the endpin jack, but no, not this time. I had to take the soldering iron out and fix it. I managed to figure out that the thin wire in the middle, the one shielded with plastic, should be connected to the top of the plug and the wide braided wire should be soldered to the side. It worked.

Vintage V880N Parlour acoustic I start to get used to making holes in acoustic guitars now to fit the endpin jack, this was the third one I did. I normally use a round file first to make the hole big enough and then even it out with some sandpaper rolled up, just to get the hole perfectly round. It’s important to check all the time with the plug from the outside so you don’t make the hole too big. Next I had to file down the saddle to compensate the extra height from the pickup.

This guitar is for sale here, Vintage V880N Parlour acoustic

Here is a little sound clip