Tanglewood TB Baby Review


Good day fellow guitarist, my name is David Walker from Northumberland, a wild county on the English border with Scotland which has a strong and distinctive musical tradition – which I am part of!

I bought one of these specifically to take on holiday to Ireland, played in numerous pub sessions, also played at the Clonmany Festival in Co. Donegal, just brilliant!

This model is shaped like a small guitar, not one of the “funny shaped” ones, I suppose you could say it is influenced by the Baby Taylor but at a fraction of the price.

I got the Evolution series TB Baby deluxe, the deluxe part is important as they also make a Plain Jane standard version, and the differences are tremendous as I have played both, as I was originally intending to buy the cheaper one.

Not only does the deluxe look much prettier with a bound fingerboard and numerous higher specification “cosmetic” improvements, it sounds a thousand times better and this must be down to the solid top, which is laminated on the standard. I really couldn’t believe the difference until I played them back-to-back. Mine has a low sheen “satin” lacquer which I like, I think it allows the wood more freedom to vibrate than the thick gloss lacquers, and I like the look of it too.

The sound is amazing for something so small, and surprisingly loud too, useful in pub sessions, and with a decent bass response, obviously not as strong as a big dreadnought but not thin and weedy like many small guitars. The treble is crisp and fresh, and it copes nicely with fingerpicking, which is well defined, as well as strumming chords, which have definition rather than being muddy. The neck is nicely shaped, well finished and comfortable, it is full width (1 7/8”) and almost full scale length at 23” so it feels almost like a full size guitar in your hands. You don’t have to re-learn a new technique going to this from your normal guitar.

In terms of size, it is a bit smaller than a ¾ guitar, it is rather like a parlour guitar at 34 ½” long but only 3 ¼” deep. It is very well finished in terms of its quality of wood and finish, if I wanted to be really fussy I could find tiny flaws but at this price/quality level it’s a steal!

One big word of warning, I mentioned above, playing several specimens of the standard model, which were disappointing in comparison, (although cheaper of course) I did notice that on some examples of these the intonation was significantly out – yet others were perfect. This is often a problem on small or short scale guitars, so make sure that you try every one in the shop until you are happy, and for this reason tread carefully if you are buying on line! My deluxe model is spot on all the way up the neck.
Simple question, if it was stolen would I have another? Absolutely, but it has to be the solid top version, not the standard.

Hope this is of interest,
David Walker

Published in Acoustic Travel Guitars

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Comments

  1. Gary Lacey

    That’s a good review, thanks. How much does the standard and deluxe versions of the guitar cost.

  2. Dave

    Great review thanks. I bought a cheaper standard version to travel with and wanted something cheap that I could stand losing or it getting broke. My baby has been to over twenty countries India twice and has stood up to all weathers and changes in temp and humidity. It is robust, this is one consideration and one advantage of a laminate and is the only time I would have one. I never played the deluxe but sure you are right. The baby is discontinued now in favour of the roadster series- not as nice in my opinion. I also agree some do suffer from intonation problems. But if you get a good one this is a great and really cheap/value from Tanglewood.

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