Fusion 12 Orechestra CE SP/IN review by Cordoba

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 0 (0 votes)
Cordoba: Fusion 12 Orechestra CE SP/IN

Price paid: $ 500

Features — 9
The Cordoba Fusion guitars have slightly narrow and thinner (front to back of neck) necks closer to an acoustic. Mine is 51mm width at nut and an acoustic is about 48mm. 'SP/IN' denotes European spruce top and Indian rosewood back/sides. Ebony fretboard. 12 frets to the body/neck joint (other Fusion models have 14) and some have cedar tops and different side/back woods.

Fishman electronics are nice and current (2016 guitar from China). Tuners are ordinary type for a classical and well finished nickel colored metal rather than gold coated somewhat 2nd rate look. VERY smooth and precise open gearing and wooden dark rosewood buttons for the tuners. Best tuners I have seen or had on a Cordoba (I had a C5/CE and a GK Studio Negra). Gloss all over is very well done and no buildup or errors anywhere at joints or smooth areas. Cordoba silver/gray padded bag is a good one padded inside and comfortable handle and generous outside pocket. Nicely lined with a movable neck rest inside. Rated a '9' since is has all one needs to make the jump from electric/acoustic, yet play classical guitar.

Sound — 9
'9' rating since I had a few top level classicals and a Marlon Navarro flamenco blanca and an early Vicente Carrillo blanca. I have played and handled pro caliber guitars and this Cordoba is not one. But the cost is 1/10th of a new real luthier built top notch classical. So for 90% of guitar players (and the few who went to intermediate level classical play or beyond) this is plenty of guitar. I happen to have a Jaspan Takamine C132SC (*cedar) and my ear and hands tell me the Cordoba feels barely 'firmer' and sounds better... deeper and 'darker' with rosewood and spruce versus a cedar top. Fairness is that a ToneRite was used on my Cordoba by the seller to make it 'open up', so it is louder and more complex tone that anything from Cordoba in a store.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
'10'... for a factory guitar, this is as close to perfect as I have seen in wood choice looks, finish, tuners, workmanship, and feel and design. It's about $700 new and $500 or so barely used. So, unless you demand a true classical for advanced level study and performance, skip Ibanez and Taylor and other makers and get a 'crossover' type Cordoba for very well made and outfitted nylon string. The nylon string market has few players and Cordoba has taken it over. I believe the smart move is go with a good used Cordoba with electronics. If you only play nylon occasionally, look into the Fusion line for the narrower board and thinner neck thickness.

Reliability & Durability — 9
For a classical type, these are as sturdy as any. They are likely a bit overbuilt since they are not for concert stage and serious classical or flamenco work. So rely on the excellent tuners and rugged, yet handsome finish over good woods. I would rate it '9' since the woods look good as well as sound quite good. The European spruce is the best (Sitka is usually on steel string acoustics from Taylor and similar) when looking at a classical top. Cedar is ready 'right now' but spruce gets better over time... especially the first 2 years and the more it is played all over the fretboard, the better.

Overall Impression — 9
'9' rating since it does fill a gap between acoustic steel string and real classical guitars. Few people ever really took classical lessons and stayed with it. Cordoba is 'good enough' when you get up to and beyond the C5 series for nearly all guitarists. And you can get a lot of Cordoba used for $500-800 with a padded bag that fits perfectly. And they are resellable since they are a known brand or quality guitars. I'm one of the few guys who can play electric and acoustic pretty well and made it into intermediate classical/Renaissance tunes. So I have had and do have all 3 types of guitars. The Fusion 12 or 14 series from Cordoba are well-priced and very well made guitars. Do not be afraid to get one and to resell it when the time comes. They are much like a Toyota Corolla... well-made, perform well, resell well and are affordable and a 'known quantity'.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Update on strings: I had a set of medium gauge strings and they sound fine and are easy to play. I think since 'high-tension' classicals are just a bit more tension than mediums, this guitar will do better with them. I got 3 X $7.50 sets  (delivered) in the purple Augustines and those are hard to beat for quality regular strings. So, for a Cordoba... get high-tension strings for a slightly more precise and 'pretty' sound. The Cordobas with rosewood back/sides  ( I have owned 2 ) need a bit of brightness. At $500 barely used with Cordoba case... this is a guitar hard to beat if you play electric and acoustic all the time as well. I prefer a classical sound, but this Fusion series really does 'split the difference' for most guys.. 
    I like your Toyota Corolla analogy. It's very appropriate with Cordoba guitars. They're one of the few brands that each example plays like you would expect them to, for better or for worse. 
    the radius is 16.... that is very flat. Fenders in the old days were 7.5-9.5 or close to that. 12 is pretty flat like an SG and 16 feels rather flat to electric players. But a nylon string guitar is a different instrument and feel and action than a steel string acoustic or electric. Some guys never learn to like it and I would sell all the electrics and acoustics to keep one good Cordoba A/E. It revolves around the music you prefer and I grew up on classical piano (older brother was concert caliber pianist), so my view of guitar is not mainstream.