Please forgive what may look like a gratuitous photo of my cat, Elsa, but her appearance here does help to put the size of this Tanglewood Evolution TB Baby acoustic guitar into perspective. This is Tanglewood's answer to the Taylor Baby. With a scale length of approx 22 3/4", the TB Baby is intended as an acoustic travel guitar, but despite its small size it is a quality instrument as I hope these photos help illustrate.
I bought this particular Tanglewood Evolution TB Baby recently; it was brand new but I got it for about a third of the normal retail price. However - as is often said - "there's no such thing as a free lunch". In other words, there's a good reason why I got it so cheap.
Anyway, the guitar is - supposedly - designed to play in standard tuning. If I was forced to keep in permanently in another key, just tuning it up a semi-tone seems hardly worthwhile. Tuning up to G would seem more useful, but when I tried tuning up to G, the tension on the strings was just too much. Different gauge strings might be an answer, but then again they may intone just as badly.
- Try the guitar with different gauge strings and see if a different tuning helps. However I'm almost convinced that this option will not bear fruit because I very strongly suspect that the intonation problem stems from the incorrect distance from nut to first fret having been used (my experiments with the capo would seem to confirm this), but it has to remain a consideration.
- Try the guitar with nylon strings which are known to be much more forgiving when it comes to intonation. And - yes - you can get nylon strings with ball ends nowadays, but the nut slots would need widening.
- Get someone competent to install a (tall) zero fret or maybe some kind of compensating nut such as an Earvana (although I'd prefer not to pay Earvana prices).
Does anyone have any further suggestions? Or maybe you have had intonation problems with a guitar like this? Please let us know via the comments below.
G L Wilson
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