After playing a friend’s Tanglewood Nevada a couple of weeks ago, I was rather impressed with it. Whilst I’ve played plenty of Strats and Strat style guitars over the years I’ve never actually owned one.
In an idle moment I had a quick scan of eBay to see what sort of price they were going for. There was only one available and it finished within seconds of me looking at it. What really picqued my interest was that it had a low starting price of £30 and yet still didn’t sell. I kept my eyes peeled for the next couple of days and it reappeared, this time with a starting price of £25. The seller had specified collection only and, luckily it was only a short distance from where I work. My friend had secured his Tanglewood for the paltry sum of £40. My max bid on this was £47. When the auction finished I was astounded, and pleased, to find that the final price to pay was £29.
I collected the guitar on Tuesday night. The body finish is slightly translucent and you can see that it is made from a single piece of solid wood. Difficult to tell the type but I’d guess something similar to alder, looking at the grain pattern.
There are a couple of immediate, obvious flaws:
- The guitar has taken a pretty heavy blow on the edge of the body, just under the jack socket, removing the finish and splintering the wood underneath. I’m not sure yet whether to leave it as it is, patch it up temporarily (to stop any futher damage), or to strip the guitar, fill the ding and refinish. Most likely it’ll be the temporary patch.
- The screw and spring attaching the low E saddle to the bridge is missing. This should be an easy fix and I’m pretty sure I’ve got something in my bits box that’ll fit straight in.
- Like almost every other guitar I’ve bought on eBay, the setup was horrendous. It is no wonder that so many beginners get discouraged and give up before they really get going. Intonation was out, the truss rod needs adjustment and the bridge saddles were at their highest extent. I could easily fit my pinkie in between the fingerboard and string at the 12th fret.
On plugging it in, my initial impression was that the pickups were pretty uninspiring. They’re OK, but nothing to shout about. Now whilst I’d love to get a set of hand wound pickups from Searcy String Works or The Creamery, it’s going to be hard to justify spending that sort of cash on a budget guitar. I’m probably going to get a set of Pig Iron or Texas Loco pickups from Axetec. Whilst their stuff doesn’t have the cache of the custom pickups I lust after, I’ve heard nothing but good about them – particularly in terms of value for money.