Everything about this guitar has been well thought out, from the compact sealed tuners and the stylish LAG logo to the composite graphite nut and compensated bridge. Strap pins are included and the finish on the body, with a nice little inlay around the sound hole, once again belying the price grouping for this guitar. The inlay is the Occitan Cross, a symbol from the southern area of France where the company is based, a nice little personalising touch. The T66 comes in a few different variations. The finish is high gloss for hardwearing but with a satin finish on the neck for a good feeling neck. It’s ready to go out of the box with some good bronze wound strings, 12 to 53 gauge.
The sound of the guitar is quite individual, having its own pleasant crispness and a well balanced tone. Some of this comes from the guitar being in tune as you go up the neck, and the harmonics from the compensated bridge make for a tangle free resonance when youre strumming open chords, giving the guitar a clarity thats desirable, without making it sound thin or brittle. The even tone also tells us the woods have been carefully selected, in this case a spruce top and mahogany back and sides.
This sub $400 area is a very competitive part of the guitar market, catering to players who may be just starting out, or have played for a short period and are now looking to improve their set up, without over spending.
Having a good instrument to play is one of the most effective ways I know of to improve your playing, and this happens for a couple of reasons. Firstly when you get a new instrument you fall in love with guitar music all over again, as you listen to the new nuances of the sound. It’s an easier instrument to play, which makes you want to play more, and so you do. Of course nothing improves your playing more than playing more, if you know what I mean.
Owning a good sounding guitar that is reasonably priced makes a lot of sense early on in a guitar players career, as you are more likely to take it everywhere, and let your friends interact with it and you. And that’s the other thing about playing… you’re communicating. It’s not all about you, it’s who’s listening and their (hopefully) favourable reactions that adds positive reinforcement. When this happens early on in a player’s life, much like riding a bike, you get on with it and get better sooner.
The LAG T66A Auditorium is a great little guitar, nice to look at with clean well designed lines, and plenty of desirable tone to match. It plays evenly up the neck, and is in tune up the neck, which is often hard to get in low priced guitars, some with much better known names. There are a number other models in the LAG acoustic range, and along with the lowest-priced T66A I was fortunate enough to have a play with the T200DCE Dreadnought Cutaway Electric, which sits at the top of the heap with an rrp of $939.
The same attention to detail prevails, though there are quite a few more features on this one. It’s a slightly bigger, deeper guitar, a dreadnought cutaway. The T200 comes with the Studio Lag Plus pre-amp with a Nanoflex pickup system, which includes a nice easy to read chromatic tuner, treble/bass knob, volume knob, a bypass, a low battery warning light and a 5-way preset switch – providing five very usable settings to match the style of playing and to suit any occasion.
Satin finish, rosewood and maple bindings, a solid red cedar top and mahogany body give you a whole lot of guitar still at a very reasonable price point. Lag have quite a range of guitars between these two, including nylon acoustic models, so theres plenty to choose from.
If you’re looking for something that has the combination of good sound, good looks, reliability and cost effectiveness then I think you’ll be well served by giving the LAG T66A. Similarly any of its bigger brothers likely deserve some serious consideration.
Mal McCallum is an Auckland-based producer, singer and songwriter who performs solo, duo and for corporate events. To hear his original music visit www.malmccallum.com or drop him an email firstname.lastname@example.org