By Eric Kirkland
Guitar World magazine, April 2009.
More on the D710.
Walden's guitars remind players what acoustic instruments are supposed to deliver: living tone. At the same time, the Chinese-built Walden D710 proves that properly managed overseas manufacturing can produce a superior instrument at roughly half the price of a similar American-born guitar. The D710 is part of Walden's Natura Series, which emphasizes simple aesthetics and gorgeous sound through the use of intelligent design and select woods. There are no frills or fancies on the D710, but its sound is nothing short of spectacular.
"Elegant" and "subdued" are apt descriptions of Walden's Natura D710. Indian rosewood sides create the D710s modest dreadnought shape, and the same black-swirled exotic wood covers the guitar's back. The soundboard is solid Engelmann spruce, which is known for its powerful projection and warm overtones. Tall scalloped braces in an X pattern form the D710's inner framework, serving to efficiently focus this guitar's output and quell stray resonance. Walden's own uniquely curved rosewood bridge design helps to spread the strings' energy like waves across the soundboard, and a subdued abalone rosette surrounds the sound hole.
Electric guitarists accustomed to moderately thin C-shaped necks are going to love the D710's silky-fast-mahogany neck. Gracefully thin plastic binding dresses the rosewood fingerboard, and the fretwork is flawless, allowing low action with no issues. Other tastefully incorporated appointments include tortoise shell keys on gold tuners, an inlaid mother-of-pearl Walden logo and rosewood headstock fascia.
Most steel-string acoustics create a lot of noise with each note, because their bodies are not specifically designed to process the acoustic pressure and dynamics from their accompanying soundboards. The Walden's body and soundboard work harmoniously, producing exceptionally pure notes. I was impressed by the first sound I heard through the D710 and continued to be inspired by every cleanly defined nuance and bell-like ring of sustain. Few affordable acoustic guitars can create this kind of warmth and note separation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Walden's Natura Series D710 has a thin and fast neck on par with an electric guitar, its action is low and fast, and it exudes a wonderfully conservative beauty. The Walden D710 sets the standard for bargain acoustics and embarrasses many guitars at three times the price.