Tagima Woodstock TW 61: First Impressions

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Elvis Costello playing his signature Fender Jazzmaster.

I’ve been wearing the Elvis Costello glasses (and sometimes even the scarf and hat) for a few years now, so I figured it was about time to add his guitar to my ensemble. The only problem is that the guitar in question (a Fender Jazzmaster) costs more than I can justify spending given my tenuous (some might say “nonexistent”) relationship with the music business. Thus, I went looking for a less expensive alternative, and the good folks at Music Store Live turned me on to the Tagima Woodstock TW 61.

First, a good word about Music Store Live. They’re a great company, they’ll work with you to find gear that suits your needs and your budget, and their customer service is excellent. They were willing to negotiate on the price of the guitar that I purchased, which really won them points in my favor. Then, when the guitar arrived, I noticed that it wasn’t quite exactly what I was expecting (a maple fingerboard instead of a rosewood fingerboard — not the end of the world, but the kind of detail that can get under the skin of a guitar nerd), and they immediately offered me an additional discount due to the misunderstanding. So props to Music Store Live all around. If you’re in the market for a new guitar or gear, check them out!

Now onto the guitar. In a word, I love it. In terms of pure aesthetics, here’s how the Woodstock TW 61 looks next to the Jazzmaster:

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Left: Tagima Woodstock TW 61. Right: Fender Jazzmaster.

For non-guitar folks, one thing that makes the Jazzmaster guitar interesting is the shape of its body (known as “offset” because it’s not symmetrical). Additionally, what makes Fender guitars easy to spot is the shape of the headstock (that part at the top where the tuners are). When other companies market “tribute” (or, if you’re less generous, “knockoff”) versions of Fender guitars, they usually copy the body fairly faithfully and alter the headstock in various ways. For example, one Fender Telecaster tribute I used to own had a headstock that looked like the business-end of a hockey stick, and I hated it. Of course, that was just my subjective gut reaction, and my subjective gut-reaction to the Tagima’s headstock is that it’s sharp and distinctive — a nod to the general shape of a Fender headstock but with a style all its own. Altogether, the Woodstock TW 61 does a great job of capturing the shape and spirit of the Jazzmaster.

In terms of sound and playability, the Woodstock TW 61 is also impressive. I’m always a little nervous when I order a guitar without playing it first, and my two biggest fears regarding the Woodstock TW 61 were that a) it would lack heft and b) the pickups would buzz. But on both counts, it turns out that I had nothing to fear. The guitar’s body is thick and heavy, and the sound is clean.

Additionally, the P-90 pickups have a nice high-end bite that gives the guitar a funky sound. And the Woodstock TW 61 also has a five-position “varitone” tone selector (that white knob on the top left of the guitar’s body in the photo above) that offers a nice variety of timbres from the guitar’s pickups — from syrupy surf music to funky Motown.

The guitar also has good action and feel — again thanks to the folks at Music Store Live who gave it a once-over before shipping it. The strings are nice and close to the fretboard (which I like) without producing any fret buzz.

So, long-story-short, my first impression of the Tagima Woodstock TW 61 is that it’s a good buy, particularly if you’re looking for the Jazzmaster look, feel, and sound on a tight budget.