The Tramontane’s electronics are intuitive and easy to navigate. The pickup is a
Nanoflex piezo undersaddle, and the onboard
StudioLâg Plus preamp is made for Lâg by
Shadow. It features five EQ presets (more on
those below) and a built-in tuner that works
whether you’re plugged in or not, and it’s
quick to respond and wonderfully easy to use.
There are one green and two red LEDs, with
the green in the middle. The red LEDs blink
faster the further out of tune you are, and
slower the closer you get, until they blink off
and you’re just left with the green light alone.
Blue lights under each note assist with navigation. As on so many other onboard preamps,
the labels on the controls are small and hard
to read. I guess I should just give up thinking
that’s ever going to change.
Beyond the tuner, you have Volume, a single
Bass/Treble knob, a Bypass button that gives
you just the pickup without the EQ presets,
and a notched knob for selecting the presets
(which were created in a professional studio
using a 31-band EQ). As implied by their
names—Natural Folk, Mellow Mids, Studio
Mid-cut, Fingerstyle Picking, and Mellow
Jazz—the EQ presets are intended to aid
with specific performance needs, though you
can also tweak them to taste with the Bass/
Treble knob. Let’s dig in, shall we?
I plugged the T400DCE into my trusty L.R.
Baggs Core 1 Reference Monitor to get a
really clear and honest sound out of this guitar. I set everything flat, turned off the reverb,
and found that the pickup by itself in Bypass
mode sounds quite good. It’s balanced and
lively, and there don’t seem to be any strings
popping out obnoxiously over any others.
I thought it was plenty warm for solo playing, and it could be brought instantly into
an ensemble without competing with a bass
player. It’s pleasant enough to listen to for a
two or three hour gig, that’s for sure.
We used four acoustic amps to test the presets: the aforementioned Baggs Core 1, a
Fishman SA220, a Bose L1, and an AAD CUB
AG- 100. After several of us listened, we decided that although the presets are interesting,
we preferred the pickup in Bypass mode for
its honest tone. Two of my colleagues pointed
out that preset 3, Studio Mid-cut, would be
useful when you wanted the guitar to be an
“atmosphere” instead of a “character,” or if
you wanted to drastically reduce midrange.
In that context the Studio Mid-cut preset was
very pleasant, particularly through the Bose.
The Final Mojo
Well-made, attractive, and playable, the Lâg
Tramontane T400DCE is a terrific, quality
guitar at a very reasonable street price of
around $700. Acoustically, it’s a very pleas-
ing guitar, and the pickup is versatile and
representational. I’m not a fan of the EQ
presets in the preamp, but the rest of the
package is top notch.
you need a solid, stage-ready
axe at a wallet-friendly price.
you are more interested in the
electronics than the guitar.
MSRP $925 (case not included)
or use a mobile
device to read
this QR code to
hear sound samples of this guitar
in action at
PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2010 173