Published On: Mon, Jun 8th, 2009

Crafter TMC035 Electro-acoustic Guitar

Read the TMC035 Electro-acoustic Review. Good for vintage deluxe OM vibe on a budget; speedy fingerstyle neck, decent electro system.

Like most Crafters, this cutaway electro offers an impressive spec for the money. The white-bound fingerboard, paying a nod to Martin, has snowflake/cat’s-eye markers redolent of early Style 45, while the solid spruce top’s purfling and rosette are done in pearl. The back carries a wood-mosaic centre strip, and the peghead, appropriately, totes a nice set of vintage-style open-geared tuners with an aged brass finish.
The laminated back and sides are described as rosewood, but this is being slightly economical with the verité since the innermost lamination is mahogany or similar, and probably so too the in-between third ply. Still, the outer rosewood veneer is visually well chosen, complementing an instrument that, aside from sharp corners on the nut, is very tidily presented all round. It should have a second strap button at the heel, though.
The full-scale satin-finish mahogany neck (one-piece plus heel) is a semi-wide 44.5mm affair, accommodating precise fingerstyle while maintaining good comfort for general chord work thanks to a quite shallow, evenly rounded profile. The gentle fretboard camber and well-dressed fretting allow a fast, low action, adding up to a easy, slick player. Powering is a Baggs Element undersaddle pickup linked to Crafter‘s LR-T Pro preamp which now includes an auto-chromatic tuner. This works efficiently, and I like the chummy ‘OK’ legend over the in-tune LED. Rather than incorporate a sweepable midrange, the three-band EQ adds a fourth Scoop slider which provides up to 6dB of cut at 1kHz, introducing that familiar ‘smile curve’. There’s still the regular cut/boost midrange control to play with, centred around 500Hz, so you’ve got a dual line of approach to that sometimes troublesome area of the spectrum.

SOUNDS
This TM has a pleasantly easy-breathing acoustic character. The response is quite supple and dynamic, with a sparkling top-end tone that sounds a bit raw and zingy until the new strings bed in. Despite the absence of true rosewood back and sides, the bottom end delivers a reasonable punch for the body size, adding some warmth to the otherwise bright texture.
Packing plentiful gain, the LR-T Pro system proves versatile and largely sympathetic. Via Scoop and the main EQ slider any undesirable mids are easily tamed to give a respectably acoustic-like tonality. The nature of the guitar means the treble needs to be set modestly to avoid tinkly highs, but there’s ample range to do this with, while the bass slider does a good job of introducing more warmth. The system’s phase reverse can be used in the same manner. One particular point of praise is our sample’s output balance. It’s spot-on across the strings, which is far from always the case with undersaddle transducers.

 

TMC035
Description: Slot-head cutaway OM electro-acoustic. Made in Korea
Price: £379
Build: Solid Engelmann spruce top, rosewood-veneer back/ sides. Mahogany neck, 21-fret rosewood board and bridge. Open-back tuners. LR Baggs Element, LR-T Pro with Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Scoop, phase reverse, tuner
Options: Non-cutaway acoustic TM035 (£289). Also try the T035 (£239) and cutaway electro TC035 (£329)
Left-handers: No
Finish: Gloss body, satin neck
Scale length: 649mm/25.55"
Neck width:
Nut 44.5mm
12th fret 55mm
Depth of neck:
First fret 20mm
9th fret 22.5mm
String spacing:
Nut 37.5mm
Bridge 55mm
Action as supplied:
12th fret treble 1.5mm
12th fret bass 2.0mm
Max rim depth: 106mm
Max body width: 387mm
Fingerboard radius: 15"
Weight: 2.07kg/4.55lb
 

Verdict

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score

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