nzmsd2019-web

CURRENT ISSUE

DONATE ADVERTISE SUBSCRIBE
April/May 2014

by Mal McCallum

Gear Review: LAG Guitars’ T66A Acoustic

by Mal McCallum

Gear Review: LAG Guitars’ T66A Acoustic

LAG Guitars are designed in France and made in China – as are many of the world’s guitars these days. LAG have quite a fine history in France with their electric guitars and have more recently turned their attention to producing an equally strong acoustic range. The brand has just recently become available here in NZ.
This review is of the lowest cost member of the range of LAG acoustics that distributor Hawkes Bay Agencies have introduced. The LAG T66A is badged as an Auditorium model. Out of the box it had a fresh, open feel and sound and nice acoustic volume. It’’s easy to play with its 43mm neck size and slim neck feel, making it ideal as a good student’s guitar or perhaps a travel guitar also. It’’s a good neck for smaller hands to grab those bar chords, but not so small that long-fingered hands such as mine get tangled up. The rrp may be just $379 but it has an excellent standard of finish in this important aspect.

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.

152 lag GLA-T66A-BThe sound of the guitar is quite individual, having it’s 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 you’re strumming open chords, giving the guitar a clarity that’s 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 there’s 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 malmccallum@xtra.co.nz

support nzm