August 5, 2010

gp0810_gear_0992Perfectly evoking Lâg-Chavarria’s design esthetic, the nylon-string TN100 is a stunning guitar that never failed to enthrall studio engineers, band members, and various bystanders. The gloss-black finish, antiquelike wood accents, regal-looking rosette, and black tuners telegraph the sophistication and uniqueness of a guitar costing far more than $675 retail. I just kept my mouth shut and let everyone think I was rocking some custom $2,000 nylon string.

It was easy to get lost in that deception, because the TN100 plays like a dream, and sounds very present and sweet—albeit with a midrange-rich timbre that likely works best for rock, country, and singer-songwriter stylings. I used the TN100 extensively during the recording of chanteuse Eva Jay Fortune’s upcoming release, and I was delighted at its strikingly beautiful tone, as well as its penchant for sensitive translation of my picking dynamics.

For a short solo section, the TN100 was miked with a single Neumann TLM49 condenser, and that’s all it took to capture a jewel-like snap that leapt out of the backing tracks. Fortune also played an entire fingerstyle rhythm track—miked stereo with the Neumann pointed at the soundhole, and a small-diaphragm condenser positioned offaxis to the 12th fret—with the TN100, and the sound was balanced, articulate, and vibey.

For amplified live-concert use, I instantly dug the butt-simple, five-preset StudioLâg preamp. Although Matt only found two usable presets on the steel-string, the nylonstring model sounds very good on all five settings (depending, of course, on the application). The StudioLâg also saved the band from a singer who’s always puttering with his acoustic tone on stage—with increasing diminishing returns—as we just dialed the preamp to good-sounding and easily repeatable settings (preset number 3 with the volume at 6), and then gaffer’s taped the knobs to prevent any on-the-fly fiddling. In the studio, I used the StudioLâg to layer sensual, yet simultaneously edgy textures by blending miked signals with presets purposefully selected to bristle against the more organic sounds.

While playing the TN100 was always a bliss-filled experience, there were a couple of snakes in Paradise. Some of the fret edges were jagged, and glue overruns were evident at the bottom of the neck near the soundhole. I also found all three models to be delicate little creatures. No acoustic is built like a tank, of course, but I noticed the LÂGs scratched and dented quite easily—even a slight bump against the edge of my desk put a divot in the TN100’s binding. So although I’m usually a clumsy brute, I exercised utmost care with the LÂGs, as these guitars are so gorgeous you certainly don’t want anything to sully their glow.


CONTACT LÂG Guitars (distributed by Korg USA);

PRICE $675 retail/street N/A

NUTWIDTH 1 23/32"

NECK Mahogany

FRETBOARD Indonesian Rosewood

FRETS 20 medium-jumbo nickel (14 clear of the body)

TUNERS Classical

BODY Old port mahogany back and sides, solid red cedar top

BRIDGE Indonesian Rosewood string-through style with compensated saddle

ELECTRONICS StudioLâg Plus preamp, Nanoflex Piezo

FACTORY STRINGS Savarez Cristal Corum

WEIGHT 4.14 lbs.

KUDOS Stunning visage. Evocative and articulate tone. Excellent playability.

CONCERNS Finish prone to dings and scratches. Rough fret edges.

More from this Lag Roundup:

Lâg Tramontane Series
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