Cordoba Guitars Review

Whether you play classical music, play flamenco, or just want to add a classical guitar to your musical arsenal, Cordoba guitars are an excellent option. These fine instruments are built in the Spanish tradition, and they can add resonance and presence to the music of any genre. In our Cordoba guitars review, we've gathered our top nine selections from this remarkable brand.

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Cordoba

C10 Crossover

Cell

Cordoba

C4-CE

Cell

Cordoba

GK Pro Negra

Cell

Cordoba

Mini II Flamed Mahogany

Cell

Cordoba

Protege C1 Matiz

Cell

Cordoba

Friederich

Cell

Cordoba

C5

Cordoba

Fusion 12

Cell

Cordoba

F7 Flamenco

Cell

Cordoba C10 Crossover -- Best for Non-Classical Players

Important Features

  • Traditional fan bracing gives you a great classical tone
  • Slimmer neck with radiused fretboard plays just like a steel-string acoustic
  • All-solid spruce and rosewood build delivers amazingly full sound
  • Stunning hand-inlaid rosette made from ebony and mother of pearl

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's an excellent value
  • It gives you classical sound and steel-string playability
  • It's made of premium tonewoods
  • It comes with a polyfoam case

Cons

  • Some players may prefer a guitar with electronics
  • Polyfoam case doesn't protect the guitar as well as a hardshell case

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Sometimes, guitar players of any genre may want a traditional nylon-string guitar tone. That's where this guitar comes in. As part of Cordoba's Crossover Series, it's designed to be highly playable for people who usually play steel-string acoustic guitars. It has a smaller nut width than a traditional classical guitar, and the mahogany Fusion neck shape is slimmer than that of most classical models. The radiused ebony fingerboard will feel more familiar to steel-string players.

This guitar is an excellent value for an all-solid wood instrument. The top is solid European spruce, and the back and sides are solid Indian rosewood. This combination gives you a classic, highly detailed tone with plenty of resonance.

Our Star Rating

We think this is an outstanding instrument, and it's the best one for non-classical players on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Cordoba C4-CE -- Best Affordable Acoustic-Electric

Important Features

  • It combines Spanish guitar sound with steel-string playability
  • Abalone rosette and maple binding contrast beautifully with the darker sunburst finish
  • Flat pau ferro fingerboard will feel familiar to classical guitarists
  • It comes with electronics for easy live sound

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's both visually and tonally distinctive
  • The solid mahogany top gives you a beautiful warm sound
  • It's very affordable
  • Gold tuning machines with pearl buttons give it a high-end touch

Cons

  • Fishman Sonitone electronics don't have the same high-quality sound as some more advanced pickups
  • Laminated mahogany back and sides don't sound quite as good as solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This beautiful guitar is a departure, looks-wise, from most Cordobas. Its cutaway classical body, striking sunburst finish, and abalone rosette all give it a decidedly modern look. Tonally, it's also a little different from most nylon-string acoustic guitars. The top is solid mahogany, and it has laminated mahogany back and sides. Mahogany is a fairly uncommon soundboard material for guitars with nylon strings, so if you like guitars that sound a little different, this one is a great option.

The C4-CE is also incredibly playable. Its slimmer C-shaped neck is comfortable for electric guitarists and players of steel-string acoustics, and the cutaway gives you great fret access. Spanish guitar fan bracing and a bone nut and saddle give it a full, classic sound. And if you want to plug in and play, it comes with Fishman Sonitone Classical electronics, too.

Our Star Rating

We think this one is the best affordable acoustic-electric on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Cordoba GK Pro Negra -- Best Flamenco Guitar

Important Features

  • Compared to most classical guitars, it's more well-suited to a variety of genres
  • All-solid build gives it a beautiful, full tone that only sounds better with time
  • Excellent pickup system gives you high-quality live sound
  • Thin body and neck make it comfortable to play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Considering its high-quality build, it's a great value
  • Hand-inlaid rosette and Indian rosewood binding make it a visual standout
  • Its excellent pickup makes it a great choice for modern performers
  • It comes with a humidified archtop hardshell case

Cons

  • It does not come with a tap plate, which is something most flamenco guitarists like to use
  • Since it is made in China, some buyers have noticed minor setup issues

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This great-looking nylon string guitar is the signature model of the Gipsy Kings, a band specializing in flamenco and salsa music. Even its body shape is optimized for flamenco -- Cordoba calls it a lightweight Spanish flamenco body. This fast-playing guitar is ideal for getting through long sets -- the body is a little slimmer than your average Spanish guitar, and the thinner neck makes it ideal for solos and runs. It's also equipped with a top-notch electronics system -- the Fishman Prefix ProBlend.

In terms of build, this one uses the fan bracing seen on most modern classical guitars. It also uses the classic tonewood combination of solid European spruce top, solid Indian rosewood back and sides, and solid mahogany neck. This gives you overtone-rich sound that projects beautifully. The GK Pro Negra is also a well-appointed guitar -- it has an ebony fretboard, a rosewood bridge, and beautiful premium gold tuning machines.

Our Star Rating

We think this one is the best flamenco guitar on the list, and we give it five out of five stars.

Cordoba Mini II Flamed Mahogany -- Best Mini Guitar

Important Features

  • Flamed mahogany top and flamed mahogany back and sides make it a visual standout
  • All-laminate body withstands humidity and temperature fluctuations
  • The C-profile mahogany neck is slim and playable
  • Satin nickel tuners and satin finish give it a high-end look

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The smaller size makes it easy to play for children and smaller adults
  • Its affordable price makes it a great first classical guitar
  • The flamed mahogany build is uncommon and beautiful
  • Fan bracing supports a surprisingly rich tone

Cons

  • The all-laminate build doesn't sound as good as a solid-top guitar
  • Some players may not like the feel of the composite fingerboard

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

People of all sizes start learning classical guitar every day. And for smaller people, a mini classical guitar body makes playing easier and more comfortable. Even if you're an experienced player, a smaller and more durable classical guitar is a great choice for travel. While this version of the Mini II is made of all laminated woods, it's uncommonly beautiful -- it has a flamed mahogany top and flamed mahogany back and sides. A mahogany neck adds even more warmth to its tone.

With a scale length of 22.835", the Mini II still plays similarly to a full-size classical guitar. The very scaled-down body is made with fan bracing, so you get the same rich tone and projection you hear with bigger Cordobas. The fretboard and bridge are both made of composite material, but the NuBone nut and saddle do a lot to improve the tone.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best mini guitar on the list, and we give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Cordoba Protege C1 Matiz -- Best for Beginners

Important Features

  • It's a great option for beginners with a limited price range
  • Bright color and intricate rosette make it a great-looking choice
  • Slim, C-shaped neck is comfortable even for new players
  • Classic tonewood combination offers an impressive tonal balance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • For a full-size acoustic nylon string, it's very affordable
  • It comes in Coral as well as other unique and bright colors
  • High-quality Cordoba tuners help eliminate tuning issues
  • The beautiful rosette gives it a high-end look

Cons

  • It's made of all laminated wood, so it won't sound quite as good as a solid-top classical guitar
  • It isn't made with fan bracing

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Most of Cordoba's classical guitars have traditional, natural finishes. But this new offering breaks the mold with a beautiful coral finish. While it's a full-size nylon-string guitar, it can be yours for a very affordable price. This makes it an ideal beginner guitar. It's made of all laminated wood, which you would usually expect at this price. The spruce top is paired with mahogany back and sides for a balanced tonal response.

The mahogany neck is C-shaped, making it highly playable for beginners. The fingerboard is maple, which is somewhat uncommon. But the light look of maple goes well with the C1 Matiz's ghost soundhole rosette. As with most Cordoba models, this one has a hand-inlaid rosette, which is remarkable in this price range.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best classical guitar for beginners on the list, and we give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Cordoba Friederich -- Best High-End Option

Important Features

  • Solid Canadian cedar top is a warmer alternative to spruce
  • Hand-inlaid wood rosette and carved headstock give it a high-end look
  • Solid rosewood back and sides pair beautifully with the cedar top
  • Ultra-thin polyurethane finish doesn't damper the guitar's sound

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The C-shaped mahogany neck is fast and playable
  • Cordoba Master Series tuners provide exceptional tuning stability
  • It comes with a hardshell case
  • Traditional body shape is ideal for serious classical guitar players

Cons

  • It may be out of the price range of many players
  • Some players might prefer the brighter sound of a spruce top

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Cordoba makes classical guitars for players of just about every ability level. The Friederich is modeled after designs by famous luthier Daniel Friederich, and it's made by hand in small batches. It has a solid cedar top for a wonderfully rich yet mellow tone, and the back and sides are solid rosewood. This is a combination that offers perfectly defined lows, sparkling highs, and present mids.

Part of what really sets this guitar part, though, is its truly unique bracing pattern. Like many classical guitars, it has a seven-fan bracing pattern. However, those braces are made with hand-carved spruce for even greater resonance than you'd usually see. The C-profile neck is capped with a slick, playable ebony fingerboard, and the bone nut and saddle help create a breathtaking, vintage-inspired tone.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best high-end classical guitar on the list, and we give it five out of five stars.

Cordoba C5 -- Best Value

Important Features

  • As part of the Iberia Series, the Cordoba C5 is a great-playing classical guitar that's still affordable
  • Solid Canadian cedar top provides incredible resonance
  • Standard classical nut width is ideal for helping new players get used to playing classical guitar
  • Hand-inlaid rosette and Indian rosewood binding are high-end touches

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The Cordoba C5 is an excellent value
  • Fan bracing gives you great classical guitar sound
  • Bone nut and saddle support great sustain
  • Cedar top is ideal for players who like a mellower sound

Cons

  • Laminated back and sides won't sound quite as good as solid wood
  • Some buyers mention having intonation issues

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Cordoba certainly makes some high-end classical guitars, but they also make several impressive value models like the Cordoba C5. This full-size classical guitar has a solid cedar top, which is remarkable for the price. The laminated mahogany back and sides and solid mahogany neck provides solid midrange support. And even though the Cordoba C5 is inexpensive, it's made with the same quality fan bracing as most other Cordoba guitars.

The Cordoba C5 is part of the brand's Iberia Series. It comes with a truss rod, and the rosewood fingerboard and bridge give it an impressive high-end touch.

Our Star Rating

We think the Cordoba C5 is the best value classical guitar on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Cordoba Fusion 12 -- Best Orchestra Model

Important Features

  • Solid cedar top delivers a rich and warm tone
  • The combination of an orchestra body and nylon strings creates a unique sound
  • Built-in pickup includes a tuner to make it easy to tune up anywhere
  • The slick ebony fingerboard is fast and playable

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's a great acoustic nylon string for players of many different genres
  • Incredible playability makes it great for gigging musicians
  • Maple and ebony purfling adds a touch of elegance
  • Fan bracing gives you nuanced classical guitar tone

Cons

  • Some buyers have complained that Fishman electronics burn through 9V batteries very quickly
  • The laminated back and sides won't sound quite as good as solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You might not think of orchestra-style guitars when you think of Cordoba. But occasionally, the brand reaches beyond classical guitar builds and makes something like the Fusion 12. This is a supremely playable guitar --its single-cutaway body gives you great fret access for easy leads. The solid Canadian cedar top gives you a wonderfully warm tone, and the laminated rosewood back and sides lay a solid tonal foundation.

This is a great guitar for performers as well-- it comes with the Fishman Presys Blend system for easy live sound. The orchestra body is incredibly versatile and offers balanced yet focused sound.

Our Star Rating

We think this guitar is the best orchestra model on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Cordoba F7 Flamenco -- Best Budget Flamenco Guitar

Important Features

  • As an all-solid classical guitar under $600, it's an incredible value
  • Spruce and cypress create a powerful, balanced tone
  • Fan bracing supports great projection
  • Bone nut and saddle add sustain and improve tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's ideal for serious flamenco players
  • Fast, low action is ideal for playing leads
  • A solid mahogany neck adds some warmth to the tone
  • Responsive European spruce top offers highly detailed tone

Cons

  • Some players may prefer a more traditional tonewood than cypress
  • Pau ferro isn't as good of a fretboard material as rosewood or ebony

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Along with their many classical guitar models, Cordoba makes a range of flamenco models. This one is part of the Iberia Series of relatively affordable instruments. But like most in the Iberia Series, the F7 flamenco is designed to offer impressive value.

Not all Iberia Series models are all solid, but this one is -- the top is solid European spruce, and the back and sides are solid cypresses. Fan bracing works with these classic tonewoods to create a perfect flamenco tone. The C-shaped neck is highly playable, and this guitar has high-end touches like a hand-inlaid rosette, Cordoba gold tuners, and pau ferro binding.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best budget flamenco guitar on the list, and we give it 4.5 out of five stars

Buying Guide: What Should You Look for When Buying a Cordoba?

Think About Tone

When you're buying a classical guitar online, you don't have the option of playing in person. However, by listening to audio and video demos, you can get a pretty good idea of what a guitar sounds like.

A lot of a classical guitar's tone is shaped by its soundboard wood. Many Cordoba guitar models have European spruce tops. European spruce is a little similar to Sitka spruce, but it produces richer overtones -- an ideal feature in classical guitars.

Many other Cordobas have cedar tops. A solid cedar top will sound slightly darker and mellower than spruce. Neither wood is necessarily "better" than the other -- it just depends on which sound works better for your music.

Bracing and Body Style

Many of these guitars are built with fan bracing. Fan bracing gives you a warmer sound, and it also has a powerful bass response.

While most Cordoba guitars have fan bracing, the brand makes a variety of body styles. Some Cordoba models are made with the traditional classical shape with no cutaway. If you play traditional classical music, you might prefer this design. If you play flamenco or more modern music, Cordoba also makes Thinline models equipped with cutaways for easy playability.

Do You Need Electronics?

Historically, classical guitarists perform in front of a microphone and do not have onboard electronics. But if you play with other instruments or want a simpler live sound solution, plenty of these guitars come equipped with quality onboard electronics.

In Conclusion

We think any of these impressive Cordoba guitars would make an excellent investment. But our top choice from this Cordoba guitars review for non-classical players is the C10 Crossover. This all-solid guitar is designed to be as playable as a steel-string acoustic, but the fan bracing gives you a classical tone.

Our top choice for classical players is the meticulously crafted Friederich. Few guitars are made with the precision of this one, and the hand-carved spruce braces give it a tonal edge. And our second runner-up is the GK Pro Negra. This all-solid guitar has excellent electronics that make it ideal for live performers, and its fast playability makes it well-suited to flamenco and other genres.

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