Tag: Vintage V880N

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

How to… fit a undersaddle pickup

IMG_7470 copyVintage 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

How to… fit a strap button

I have never been a big fan of having straps attached to the head of acoustic guitars. Therefore I decided to fit strap buttons to the base of the neck on my acoustics. I checked some Youtube clips and got fed up with people talking too much so here is the quick version. Find a strap button you like, ideally in gold, everyone loves gold or at least I do. Find a screw that fits and a drill that is slightly smaller than the screw. Put a bit of tape on the drill to mark how long the screw is, or rather slightly shorter than the actual screw. Decide where to put the strap button and then drill the pilot hole. Put some wax or soap on the end of the screw, this makes the screw go in easier and apparently keeps the wood happy. Done.

Now some thoughts on this procedure. First of all, make sure you don’t have any extra hidden metal parts inside the neck before you start. I wasn’t aware that Levin had an extra metal plate for the truss rod running in the heel. When I tried to screw in the screw it broke in half and got stuck so I had to make a second hole just above and screw in a shorter screw. Not the end of the world maybe but still annoying and unnecessary. Second, make sure you find a good flat spot to fit the strap button. In the last example below you can see how close to the fretboard they are factory fitted on some guitars. I hate that. It’s really hard to reach if you want play solos or do some fiddly bits high up on the neck. Make sure you can fit your hand comfortably and remember there is going to be a strap attached which creates extra bulk. If you put the strap button too close to the bottom it will mess with the balance of the guitar and it will tend to fall forward when it’s not supported, the same if you fit it in the bottom of the heel.

strap buttons

Levin LT-16, Vintage V880N, Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TGRP 73 VS E. I installed the strap button on the first two, as low as possible to be able to reach all the way up the neck. Notice how high up, close to the fretboard they were factory fitted on the Tanglewood. In this case it’s just a 12th fret parlour guitar so you can’t play much solos up there anyway but I do find it a bit annoying.