Tanglewood’s Sundance Performance Pro Series is the culmination of decades of guitar building expertise and research. Swedish master luthier Michael Sanden has designed Tanglewood’s new flagship models, boasting all solid wood combinations and sumptuous features on some of the most popular and iconic acoustic body shapes in guitar history.
The All Solid Wood Sundance Performance Pro X15 SDTE model is a comfortable, vintage Slope Shoulder Dreadnought bodied guitar. The Slope Shoulder Dreadnought shape strikes the most even balance between volume, size and ease of playing. An outstanding guitar for the professional player, it features a hand selected premium AAA grade solid Spruce top, coupled with genuine Solid Mahogany back and sides.
Grand Master luthier Michael Sanden designed a new special bracing pattern for the TW15 SDTE, which features traditional quarter sawn spruce in a tapered style, using a combination of X bracing and fan bracing. This arrangement recovers an outstanding flexibility and tonality from the AAA grade kiln aged solid spruce top, creating a much more stable top than standard bracing. The evenness of tone and sustained harmonics are testament to Michaels bracing system for sure.
The solid spruce was hand selected by Michael Sanden as it has a tone that makes it a very good ‘all-rounder’. Using a new kiln drying technique called Torrefaction, the TW15 SDTE has been created with unique sound characteristics that replicate a well loved vintage instrument that has been played in for over 30 years!
First, the wood is kiln-dried conventionally to a moisture level of 6 to 10 percent. The wood is then “cooked” in a torrefaction kiln at a high temperature while controlling atmospheric moisture and oxygen levels. After the moisture level is taken to zero percent, the wood is placed in a conditioning chamber where the level of moisture is raised to 3 to 6 percent. The resulting wood boasts greater stability—especially beneficial as it’s exposed to atmospheric moisture during the life of an instrument—due to the closure of the cells when the water and sap is released from the wood.
“The wood is heat-treated in an oxygen-free kiln, making it highly resonant and extremely stable, it’s as if the wood is pre-aged.” Says Master designer Michael Sanden, “The process makes the guitar feel like a favourite old model that’s been played in daily for the last 20 years… it really does open up the spruce to that degree.”
The solid mahogany used for the back and sides is a dense wood, with a dark finish, and tight grain. The mahogany’s density can add great projection to the guitar, adding warmth, but with definition. The combination of spruce and mahogany is one of the most popular, because it offers a tone that is very balanced, but versatile, lending itself very well to any musical style. Besides serving to form the enclosure of the soundbox, the back and sides of the guitar also act as a sympathetic resonator whose oscillations contribute greatly to the harmonic mix.
The Mahogany necks are constructed with a traditional dove tail join and the Mahogany itself provides excellent longitudinal strength. They are C-shaped in a smooth comfortable oval profile that works well for most playing styles. The chrome Grover buttons were chosen as Grover are recognised worldwide as industry leaders for high-quality machine heads.
Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze 12-53 Light E16052 Acoustic Guitar Strings were selected for the Sundance Performance Pro range. Phosphor bronze strings offer the most sensitive, expressive tone that brings out the very best in guitars—virtually taking them to a higher level of play. However, that tone can be short-lived. Elixir Strings has solved this classic conundrum by applying an ultra-thin layer of NANOWEB Coating to protect the string’s windings hence preserving the coveted phosphor bronze tone. Many players prefer the rich, textured tone of phosphor bronze strings. These Elixir Strings capture the sweet spot of that unique phosphor bronze tone and extend it 3-5x longer than conventional strings.
The guitar is finished in a high gloss, violin sunburst, polyurethane finish, which gives it a vintage, classic look and feel.