Natura D740 Review

By Douglas Baldwin
Guitar One

Excerpts from a February 2004 review. Note: At the time of the review, the old model number of D640TCP was still being used. It has been changed to the new model number of D740.

A Thorerau-ly Classic Instrument
Walden is a new name in the guitar marketplace, but their product strategy is as sound as Henry Thoreau's retreat to Walden pond. With an eye for functionality and traditional values, Walden has crafted a classic guitar design at a competitive price for serious beginner- to intermediate-level guitarists. Constructed in China, the Natura D640TCP is Walden's flagship steel-string acoustic, adding the Fishman pickup system and a cutaway to their 640 series.

Commune With Natura
The Natura D640TCP is a dreadnought design cut close to the pattern established by Martin Guitars in 1916. Modern spins on the tradition include a larger pickguard; a tapered, round-crowned headstock; and a matte finish. Our review model's Sitka spruce top displayed 25-30 grain per inch – a top-shelf luthier's choice – and the mahogany sides and back looked similarly well selected. A peek inside evinced neatly cut bracing in the scalloped "pre-war" tradition with minimal traces of glue around the joints. Some very minor cosmetic blemishes were not easy to see and would be considered quite acceptable in guitars of this price range.

Attention to fretwork and setup details made the D640TCP an extremely playable guitar. The smallish vintage frets were well crowned and polished, and played with absolute clarity along the entire length of the neck. The fret ends showed some very mild cosmetic inconsistencies that did not affect playability. The 12th-fret action was textbook perfect, while the bridge saddle sat high enough to provide room for future adjustment, and the two-way truss rod felt velvety smooth when tweaked.

An American Classic
Strummed or fingerpicked, the D640TCP comes out of the gate with a generous helping of the tone you'd expect from a much higher-priced dreadnought. At low volume, notes were tight and well defined with loads of shimmering treble, punchy mids, and warm bass. Strummed patterns like the one below had a satisfying snap, and the cutaway begs for excursions to the upper region of the fretboard. Only on the loudest flatpicked passages did the D640TCP seem to fall a little short, producing adequate but less than chest-rattling bass. Replacing the coated light-gauge bronze strings with a set of D'Addario medium-gauge Phosphor Bronze ones helped reveal thump. One could expect even more as the solid top ages.

The Fishman Classic 4 pickup system is also splendid. Simple to use, it provides plenty of control over the amplified tone of the D640TCP while accurately reproducing the guitar's response, adding further appeal to an already versatile instrument.