Natura G570TB Review

By Michael Millham
Acoustic Guitar, May 2007

Handsome sunburst cedar top delivers three-dimensional tone and responsiveness at an attractive price.

While the Walden Guitars name is relatively new to the US market, the company has been marketing instruments from its own Lilan, China, factory to European, Canadian, and South African guitarists since 1996. Starting with a business built around a traditional dreadnought and a single classical guitar design, Walden has built its output into three lines each of classical guitars and steel-strings made with a wide range of woods, body styles and price points. The affordable G570TB Grand Auditorium steel-string is part of their mid-level Natura line.

APPROACHABLE, ATTRACTIVE, AND AFFORDABLE
Despite its low price, the Walden's build quality is hard to fault. Fret ends lie flush against the bound-rosewood fretboard, and the precise dot inlays and appropriately cut nut slots demonstrate care. The book-matched-cedar top's dark tobacco sunburst and the back and side's attractive wood grains are protected by a seamless, satin nitrocellulose finish, with no excess buildup anywhere. The black/white/black rosette and matching body purfling also give off a classy vibe that belies the G570TB's low price, and the backstrip, tailblock strip, and finely carved heel point all match up with lay-line accuracy. A look inside revealed clean kerfing and svelte, scalloped bracing, with minimal visible excess glue— confirmation that this no thrown-together job— while the flawless bolt-on neck joint adds uptown mystique. In all, fit and finish are excellent, and Walden takes care to include a second "winter" saddle (to offset the lowered action that occurs in low-humidity conditions) and Planet waves soundhole humidifier (with refill syringe).

BRIGHT AND BALANCED BIG BODY
The robust and aesthetically pleasing 15 7/8-inch grand auditorium body— vaguely reminiscent of a cross between a Taylor grand auditorium and an OM— combines with the nicely C-shaped mahogany neck To Hearand medium factory action in a very comfortable and playable package, though the action could easily go even lower with the help of a setup tech. Played fingerstyle, the G570TB cheerfully responds with a bright, airy, mahogany tone and plenty of smooth sustain behind the initial clear cedar edge.

The 4 5/8 -inch-deep body supports the tonewoods with a three-dimensional tenor midrange and just enough baritone on bottom to balance things out. I found the bass strings to be focused and tight, with almost none of the low-string thud that can plague guitars in this price range.

Spinning the smooth chrome tuners, I was pleased to find that pieces in open or altered tunings ring out with power and élan; each note in a chord sings with clarity and distinction. Playing with a pick produces a responsive, engaging tone, with a jangly sparkle evident during open-chord strumming, and plenty of volume, sustain, and punch available for palm-muted power chords or biting single-note solo excursions.

Throughout, the G570TB rewards player nuance with the appropriate response: Vibrato, picking dynamics, and color changes are reproduced on demand. In all, there is more than enough tactile feedback and satisfying tone to reward beginners, advancing intermediate players adding new techniques to their to their repertoire, and advanced players alike.

THE WRAP
With an appealing mahogany voice, versatile body size, and excellent build quality, the G570TB will work nicely for any player wanting a dose of rich acoustic tone and grown-up feel at a rock-bottom price. Its handsome, woody looks and open-string sparkle make it a natural choice for beginners learning to strum their first chords, and an instrument that's likely to remain rewarding to play as they develop.