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Natura D550CE

By China's Modern Player magazine, August 2009.
More on the D550CE.

In our last issue, we reviewed the G740CE. This time we will be reviewing another acoustic-electric model: the D550CE. Please refer to the last issue for more information about Walden’s product line.

The D550CE has more standard guitar specifications, when compared with the G740CE, which allows for a more affordable price but at the same time still provides the high quality voice of a solid top instrument.

Appearance & Craftsmanship
Inheriting the same style of brilliant headstock design, both the D550CE and G740CE have a pearl inlay Walden logo. Although the D550CE has normal die-cast chrome tuners it is easy to smoothly turn the tuner buttons to the desired position without losing any strength and the quality of the material is tangible. Sprayed with the same Nitrocellulose lacquer as all other Natura and SupraNatura model instruments, the surface is delicate and smooth in your hands. Also, there was none of the pungent smell that is sometimes associated with NC lacquer.

We applaud Walden Guitars for the brilliant work. The D550CE guitar body is composed of a solid spruce top and Mahogany sides & back – the same key elements in wood configuration as G740CE has – so the D550CE can guarantee the same beautiful sound of a Walden solid top instrument. The overall craftsmanship of the D550CE represents the Walden Guitars family design in every detail you can see: the special designed Walden pickguard shape, and the just-right position of sound hole label. Each of them proves what the Walden is.

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Playability
There is almost no difference in playability between the D550CE and G740CE. I felt very comfortable holding the D550CE in my hands and after setting up my fingers can play smoothly along the neck without hesitation. Without losing cares about being in the lower price range, the guitar comes with well-managed frets and a beautiful, high quality, maintained rosewood fingerboard.

Please let me remind you again that all Walden guitars incorporate a 2-way adjustable truss rod that allows you to control the exact string height suited to your personal playing style. Walden's 2-way truss rod also allows for the precise tuning of your guitar's setup in response to seasonal changes. Players can find the best playability they desire at anytime.          

Tone
After tuning the D550CE I tried a variety of playing styles including fingerstyle, fingerpicking and strumming. Basically, the tone is similar to G740CE. The reason that D550CE is cheaper than the G740CE may come from the lower end specs. For example, the D550CE incorporates die-cast chrome tuners instead of tortoise plus gold machine heads; a 2-ring ABS soundhole inlay instead of Abalone…etc. But you can still have the great sound provided by the G740CE with the D550CE. The D550CE is a good choice for players who are chasing after great tones instead of fancy decorations.

The D550CE comes with D’Addario EXP11 light gauge string which provided the warm sound which Walden guitars like to give (sound tests of the D550CE and G740CE will be online for download on www.modernplayer.net soon). Installed with Fishman Classic 4 preamp, the acoustic-electric D550CE produces almost the original resonance of the guitar body itself. If you are connecting to a mixer I would recommend adding an acoustic-electric guitar sound effects processor for getting more solid voice.

Although it falls in the lower price range of Walden solid top instruments, Walden still provides a Planet Waves acoustic guitar humidifier so customers can protect their solid top instruments. The dryness of northern China has always been a problem for acoustic guitars whose material are mostly wood. Walden Guitars “teaching” consumers how to protect their own solid wood instruments is a good example for other guitar suppliers to follow. It proves that Walden treat their customers thoughtfully and I applaud them for that. Please take a chance and try Walden Guitars personally and you will feel both its attractiveness and its high quality.