In this Cordoba Iberia C5 review, we’ll have a look at what’s considered one of the best nylon-string guitars for beginners or first-timers to this style of instrument.
Cordoba Is Known for High-End Acoustic Instruments
Since 1997, Cordoba has been a leading maker of nylon-string guitars in the Spanish tradition. Their range of instruments includes ultra high-end Luthier Select runs, affordable nylon-string guitars for beginners, and everything in between. Cordoba Guitars is a division of Cordoba Music Group which includes the likes of Guild, Savarez, Aquila, and other respected names in the industry.
Cordoba Iberia C5 Review: How Does It Rate?
The Cordoba Iberia C5 is a beautiful entry-level nylon string guitar and one of the brand’s flagship models. It’s perfect for beginning players interested in classical or flamenco guitar, as well as longtime players who may have never owned a nylon-string before.
Body & Neck
The body consists of laminated mahogany back and sides and a solid cedar top, and the C-shaped neck is solid mahogany with a rosewood (or Pau Ferro) fretboard and 19 frets. Despite its price, the instrument has high-quality tonewoods and feels solidly constructed overall. The laminated back and sides, while not as tonally rich as solid pieces, actually give the guitar more stability. Beginners don’t have to stress too much about humidity and environmental factors throwing it out of whack.
On the inside, you’ll find traditional Spanish fan bracing. This lends the instrument a characteristic sound that’s perfect for flamenco but equally great for classical as well. A lightweight adjustable truss rod supports the neck and isn’t a feature frequently found at this price point.
Guitars in this price range, whether they’re acoustic or electric, almost always use cheap hardware. It’s one of the biggest ways manufacturers cut costs to introduce affordable instruments into their lineups. That said, the Cordoba C5 actually has pretty nice hardwire.
On an acoustic instrument, we look at the nut and saddle, which are both bone — a very nice touch on a beginner guitar. Next, we’d investigate the tuners. In this case, we have Cordoba’s own standard Gold series machines with pearl tuning pegs. They offer enough stability to where they don’t feel like an afterthought.
This is a highly playable nylon-string guitar. It’s lightweight as a whole, and the neck carve is surprisingly comfortable and fast for a classical instrument. Some players who have purchased the Iberia C5 have mentioned issues with fret buzz and intonation; however, it would be easy for a beginner to overlook these potential problems.
Cedar is a naturally mellow wood, though the guitar has a lovely splash of clarity for a nicely balanced sound. Thankfully, the cedar top doesn’t give it an overly hushed or muffled tone which would spoil the instrument for a lot of players. It also has an impressive amount of resonance and sustain for a guitar at this price.
Plug In with the Cordoba C5-CET
The C5-CET is similar to the regular C5 with additional features for cross-genre players. Firstly, it’s amplified by a Fishman Presys II preamp so you can plug it in and rock — “rock” being subjective here, as the nylon tone will still be warm and mellow. Secondly, the body is thinner than the standard C5 to reduce feedback, and it also has a cutout on the lower bout for easier access to the upper frets.
The Cordoba C5 Is Unparalleled in Its Quality & Price
For a sub-$500 guitar, the Cordoba Iberia C5 is a bargain. It certainly leads its class of entry-level nylon-string guitars for beginners or first-time dabblers in the flamenco/classical tradition. While not entirely without fault, we think most players would be thrilled to own an instrument of this quality at this price.