Search by keyword:       [new thread]

[back to list of forum threads]    [reply to this thread]

AuthorMessageLast Post
Simon MaherSubject: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

Hello there all. I have been given a battered old Les Paul style Tanglewood electric and I would really appreciate any info if someone out there knows what model it is or knows anything about its construction and spec.

It is mostly gloss black, but has a kind of trans-black top, revealing a 'swirly' wood grain where the top has been carved. The rest of the fixtures are cream e.g. Binding, pickup rings,or Chromed where appropriate.

On the very 'Gibson' headstock it simply has a gold transfer decal reading "Tanglewood Guitar Company". It seems to be a cut above what I would consider an entry level model, but the body is clearly 'ply' or laminate contruction. Despite this, the guitar sounds really rich and warm through a Tube amp (although I did completely rewire it in '50s configuration, and replace all electrics and the Nut). The neck is glued in or 'Set'.

I would greatly appreciate any info or theories you all might have on what it is I have been given. One thing's for sure, I may have a bit of a choice as to which is my main gigging guitar now I have acquired this rather nice player!


|Simon Maher

Sun, 27 Mar 2011 13:19:15
Erik LindRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

hi Simon,

are you able to post a couple pics of the guitar?

Erik (Tanglewod Guitars - North America)

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 10:31:22
Simon MaherRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

Sorry, chaps! How have people uploaded photos before? I have JPEGs rarign to go, but the 'Insert photo' and simply Copy & paste seemingly won't work.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 11:01:12
Erik LindRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

Hi Simon,


Your guitar (above) is a TSE 501 'Star' Single-Cut, which was sold between 1992-1996 in the UK. The scan below is of our catalogue from 1994. It retailed for around £249 in the UK in 1994. (It looks like the pickups and knobs on your guitar may have been replaced somewhere along the line, though.)

  • Laminated birch body

  • Mahogany Neck

  • Bound Rosewood Fingerboard

  • 2 Hi-Output Humbuckers, w/ individual Tone/Vol controls

  • Adjustable bridge/tailpiece


Wed, 30 Mar 2011 14:27:40
Simon MaherRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

Hello Erik

Thanks so much for returning such a complete reply! Really very good of you. I can't help thinking mine is a variation on the Star 501 you mention – there are a few difference in the appointments: Headstock shape; pickup selector switch ring; truss rod cover shape; knobs; pickups/pickup rings.

The friend who gave me the guitar states he bought it in York, in 1992, from a Music Store who don't really deal in used instruments - he certainly bought it as a teenager on the understand that, after all that saving, it was brand new! You'll know better than me, but is it possible this was a certain 'edition' of the Star? I had previousy found examples of the Sunburst model of the Star, as in the catalgoue pages you sent, and hadn't considered that it was the same as mine, largely because of the headstock shape difference.

I really appreciate you getting back to me with all that info - thanks again.

All the best,


Thu, 31 Mar 2011 05:21:37
Simon MaherRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

I also just noticed, extra to the above, the fret board marker inlays are MOP effect trapezoids on my guitar, not dot markers as on the Star. The headstock is also not bound on the guitar I have.


Thu, 31 Mar 2011 05:26:18
Stevie silversRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

I know this is an ancient post.. but I have looked for years for this guitar!, sorry tanglewood its not the star one you are talking about.. I have the exact same model bought new in 92.. same logo same shape headstock.. the control knobs have not been changed.. not have the pickups.. not any of the off white plastics nor switchgear.. the photos in this thread are exactly how this guitar came!, mine is identicle in every way, and the top is bookmatched.. trans black.. the same.. and this one is the only other one i have ever seen.. and iv looked for years.. its far better quality than the series you say it is, mine plays as well as the day i bought it.. has never been adjusted after initial set up, plays better than any guitar I have ever pklayed (and i have played many inc high end ones) and has a great tone.. I must admit I am very curious to find out more about it.. but  can tell you for sure it is not the model you say it is above.. for the reasons outlined.. inc fret markers.. headstock shape, logo, pickups, bookmatched top.. control knobs.. etc.. so seriously.. what is it? i'll never part, and it really is as pointed out a good quality instrument, far beyond average tanglewood.. if it matters mine was £299 including a tanglewood hardcase.. for comparison an gibson epiphone les paul custom was £450 at the time and was not as nicely made nor sounded as good.. any info would be good.. Steve

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 05:49:07
Simon MaherRE: Identifying old (1992?) Tanglewood Les Paul model - any ideas?

Hello Stevie Silvers

I contacted Tanglewood and got the following helpful reply – it would seem that you and I own 2 out of only 6 prototypes of the never-to-be-produced Tanglewood 'Deluxe model' Les Paul! Simon

The reply was as follows: "Hi Simon, Sorry for the delay in response.

I was the one in fact who sent the page from that catalogue to our American distributor who has then given it to you. But it sounds like he hasn't given you the details that I explained to him.

It "looks" like a 501 Star model. But as I explained to our distributor it looks like a sample deluxe model. The pickups for one are completely different, and as you say the top has the swirl wood effect. We brought in a few models 5/6 pieces with different tops, finishes, pickups etc for reviewing when we first started but they turned out to be too expensive to bring into main production. They would have then just been sold one, and looks like you have got your hands on one!

I hope this answers your questions, and I hope you enjoy the guitar for many years to come!"


Mon, 02 Nov 2015 08:31:52
[back to list of forum threads]     [reply to this thread]     [new thread]

page:  1   2   next   (8 items per page)

About | Member Search | Forum | News | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | FAQ | Contact us

Site designed by Industry 44 web solutions