Advice for purchasing next guitar

Kolfinna
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Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:14 am

Hi everyone!

I’m in the market to add a second guitar to my collection; I currently have a Yamaha CGX171-CCA and really love the sound. It’s a solid cedar top, Indian rosewood back and sides, and has a cutaway and electronics. It’s warm, rich, and all around lovely.

I’m pretty well limited to what I can find at MusiciansFriend or Sweetwater (not necessarily a bad thing). I bought my Yamaha sight unseen off of e - b a y and haven’t regretted it.

So far, I’ve landed on getting a Cordoba for my next guitar—and leaning toward a spruce top to change up tonality—based off a playing test in a C7 at a Guitar Center (it was far and away the best guitar in the quiet room). I want solid construction and Spanish style, but what I can’t truly assess from sound recordings are bass presence, resonance, projection, playability, action height, reaponse through all the strings, and all that. The C7 was, all in all, pretty nice—so a C12 must be better, right? ;)

I guess another consideration includes genres of playing; I’d like the next guitar to not only do classical well, by also be versatile in a variety of fingerpicking pieces e.g., Americana, classic pop/rock, jazz, new age, and so on.

Does anyone have any thoughts or has directly compared the Cordoba Limited 45 v. C12 SP? Are there other/better brands at which I should be looking available through the above vendors? Additionally, do you have any recommendations on guitar body size for a smaller-framed person? Sometimes the Yamaha almost feels too big, if that makes sense.

Thanks!

Scott Phillips
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Scott Phillips » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:38 pm

I would go with the limited. The C12 has an elevated fingerboard, and is also lattice braced, neither of which appeals to me.

Also, I don't the the C shaped neck of the C series Cordobas.

Kolfinna
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:08 pm

Thanks so much! Since this post I’ve also learned the Limited is more of a workhorse that can play a wider variety of genres. :D

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souldier
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by souldier » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:57 am

I've played a tonne of Cordoba guitars and personally I'd prefer a C7/9/10 over a C12.The difference with the C12 is the lattice construction. I am not against lattice guitars, but in this case I find the C7-C10 more natural sounding and tonally pleasing. The C12 has a bit more dynamic range, but I personally feel it is at the expense of complexity/beauty of tone. I've played several C12s and I just felt it didn't have an alluring sound.

In the end preferences are really personal, but I would be careful not to make the assumption that the higher model number and price tag = better.

As for the espana series like the Limited 45 and others... I was just underwhelmed by them. You pay more for them because they are made in spain, but I feel they perform behind the Luthier series. I just felt they lacked the dynamic range and responsiveness of the Luthier series... like they sounded overly thick and heavy in comparison.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

Kolfinna
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:01 pm

souldier wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:57 am

As for the espana series like the Limited 45 and others... I was just underwhelmed by them. You pay more for them because they are made in spain, but I feel they perform behind the Luthier series. I just felt they lacked the dynamic range and responsiveness of the Luthier series... like they sounded overly thick and heavy in comparison.
I may look into the C10; I ended up trying out a 45LTD and while I have only had it for a day or so, it’s like you said—a little underwhelming. I do appreciate that it is handmade, and I have read elsewhere on the forum that it takes a couple weeks of consistent playing to help a guitar’s sound bloom.

I ended up getting the 45LTD because I thought I didn’t want more of what I already have, which is a Yamaha CGX171CCA. It’s a solid cedar top with Indian rosewood laminate back/sides. Its tone is warm and sweet, the neck is thin, and is very playable. It’s also about 10 years old at this rate so comparing to a brand-new guitar doesn’t seem fair. What I’m finding is the 45LTD has a thicker neck and tonally doesn’t seem to be vastly superior—but I understand that could be changed significantly with different strings. I do like the spruce top, though. Thing is—I generally prefer light tension strings and I’m researching now what the best options might be.

Years ago someone told me to “never purchase an instrument that doesn’t make you smile.” I want to give the 45LTD a chance, but right now it’s just not alluring (yet). But man, is it ever a gorgeous-looking guitar...

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souldier
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by souldier » Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:04 pm

Kolfinna wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:01 pm
souldier wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:57 am

As for the espana series like the Limited 45 and others... I was just underwhelmed by them. You pay more for them because they are made in spain, but I feel they perform behind the Luthier series. I just felt they lacked the dynamic range and responsiveness of the Luthier series... like they sounded overly thick and heavy in comparison.
I may look into the C10; I ended up trying out a 45LTD and while I have only had it for a day or so, it’s like you said—a little underwhelming. I do appreciate that it is handmade, and I have read elsewhere on the forum that it takes a couple weeks of consistent playing to help a guitar’s sound bloom.

I ended up getting the 45LTD because I thought I didn’t want more of what I already have, which is a Yamaha CGX171CCA. It’s a solid cedar top with Indian rosewood laminate back/sides. Its tone is warm and sweet, the neck is thin, and is very playable. It’s also about 10 years old at this rate so comparing to a brand-new guitar doesn’t seem fair. What I’m finding is the 45LTD has a thicker neck and tonally doesn’t seem to be vastly superior—but I understand that could be changed significantly with different strings. I do like the spruce top, though. Thing is—I generally prefer light tension strings and I’m researching now what the best options might be.

Years ago someone told me to “never purchase an instrument that doesn’t make you smile.” I want to give the 45LTD a chance, but right now it’s just not alluring (yet). But man, is it ever a gorgeous-looking guitar...
For the 45 LTD you're really paying for the looks of the black and white ebony and the "made in spain" label. The back and sides are not even solid but laminated. If the sound/playability doesn't impress you much in the first 5 days of regular playing, I'd definitely return it. In time there is a chance that a guitar may improve to the point that you like it a lot more, but this is the rare exception and it is quite a gamble holding on to a guitar thinking you'll eventually like it. I've also found that changing strings only provide a subtle difference once the strings are settled after a few days, but it will never radically change the inherent voice of the guitar, so I'd probably not even bother doing a string change unless the current ones look worn. Otherwise you might just put a lot of time into putting a fresh pair of strings on a guitar that you'll end up returning.

I think you'll find the C10 a decent step up from the 45 LTD, having greater responsiveness, dynamic range and tonal complexity. I also personally find their neck shape/thickness to be a lot more comfortable. Price really doesn't always determine how a guitar will perform. I mean the Cordoba Solista is almost 2k and I've found that it really under performs for that price. Then again, everyone has their own preferences.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

AB3
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by AB3 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:23 am

Interesting. I love my 45 ltd. But I would like to get an awesome upgrade. Any recommendation other than the C10? And frankly, a cedar top would be fine!

Kolfinna
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:05 am

souldier wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:04 pm

I think you'll find the C10 a decent step up from the 45 LTD, having greater responsiveness, dynamic range and tonal complexity. I also personally find their neck shape/thickness to be a lot more comfortable. Price really doesn't always determine how a guitar will perform. I mean the Cordoba Solista is almost 2k and I've found that it really under performs for that price. Then again, everyone has their own preferences.
Thanks so much for your thoughts on this; I have reached out to the sales rep and have asked if they can have a C10 in spruce at the ready when I visit their shop next week.

What do you think about smaller scale guitars e.g., a 7/8 size? I’m kicking around the idea of looking into something a little smaller (such as the C10) as I have a small body/frame. I love the sound I can get from a bigger guitar, but they’re really not that comfortable. I’m going to play as many guitars as I can while I’m there and will bring my Yamaha along so I can objectively compare/contrast any future guitar.

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David Norton
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by David Norton » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:35 pm

AB3 wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:23 am
Interesting. I love my 45 ltd. But I would like to get an awesome upgrade. Any recommendation other than the C10? And frankly, a cedar top would be fine!
Hello AB,

I am in Salt Lake City as well, and have a cedar guitar you may be interested in, for a very fair price. Private message sent.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

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souldier
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by souldier » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:51 pm

Kolfinna wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:05 am
souldier wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:04 pm

I think you'll find the C10 a decent step up from the 45 LTD, having greater responsiveness, dynamic range and tonal complexity. I also personally find their neck shape/thickness to be a lot more comfortable. Price really doesn't always determine how a guitar will perform. I mean the Cordoba Solista is almost 2k and I've found that it really under performs for that price. Then again, everyone has their own preferences.
Thanks so much for your thoughts on this; I have reached out to the sales rep and have asked if they can have a C10 in spruce at the ready when I visit their shop next week.

What do you think about smaller scale guitars e.g., a 7/8 size? I’m kicking around the idea of looking into something a little smaller (such as the C10) as I have a small body/frame. I love the sound I can get from a bigger guitar, but they’re really not that comfortable. I’m going to play as many guitars as I can while I’m there and will bring my Yamaha along so I can objectively compare/contrast any future guitar.
I also have small hands and really loved a C10 Spruce Parlor I've played. Very comfortable to play yet seriously wasn't lacking at all in sound.. could easily compete with and surpass many full sized guitars I have played. If I could turn back time, I would have purchased that C10 for its sound and playability. For the price, you're not going to find a better 7/8 guitar since such are quite rare. It seems that Cordoba discontinued the Spruce C10 Parlor for some reason, so you'd have to go used. Though I'd imagine the Cedar is just as good, but I prefer Spruce for the C10 for sure as I'd expect it to have a bit more clarity and complexity in the sound.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

Kolfinna
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:07 am

souldier wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:51 pm

I also have small hands and really loved a C10 Spruce Parlor I've played. Very comfortable to play yet seriously wasn't lacking at all in sound.. could easily compete with and surpass many full sized guitars I have played. If I could turn back time, I would have purchased that C10 for its sound and playability. For the price, you're not going to find a better 7/8 guitar since such are quite rare. It seems that Cordoba discontinued the Spruce C10 Parlor for some reason, so you'd have to go used. Though I'd imagine the Cedar is just as good, but I prefer Spruce for the C10 for sure as I'd expect it to have a bit more clarity and complexity in the sound.
I’ll definitely look into seeing if I can get my hands on one. :)

For giggles (and I probably should have done this to begin with) I decided to look into the tech specs of the Yamaha to figure out why I like it so much; the TL;DR of it is, it’s a crossover neck with a lower string action and shallower body than what a traditional classical guitar brings to the table:

Yamaha CGX171CCA:
  • Nut Width = 48 mm
    Body Depth = 3.4” - 3.62”
    Neck Shape = ? Probably a C or variation thereof.
Cordoba C10 Crossover:
  • Nut Width = 48 mm
    Body Depth = 3.6” - 3.8”
    Neck Shape = Crossover C shape
Cordoba C10 Parlor:
  • Nut width = 50 mm
    Body Depth = 3.6” - 3.7”
    Neck Shape = C shape
Cordoba 45LTD:
  • Nut width = 52 mm
    Body Depth = 3.75” - 4”
    Neck Shape = U shape <— I have learned I am not a fan
So if I reeeeeally wanted more of what I already have, I could just find a Yamaha 171 S—the non-electronic, non-cutaway, spruce-top equivalent to the CGX171CCA.

I do think, however, the C10 parlor will be a nice bridge into a “truer” classical neck (if there even is such a thing) and will provide some variety I don’t currently have with a single guitar. Plus, it’ll generally be more comfortable to play.

Kolfinna
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Re: Advice for purchasing next guitar

Post by Kolfinna » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:08 pm

So—surprise plot twist, I tested out a few guitars and fell in love with the C10 crossover for its ease of playability and simply gorgeous tone.

I’ve been called upon to teach ukulele lessons so I’ve had to divert my focus for a while to beef up my teaching skills, but I’m itching to play the C10 more. :D

Thanks, everyone!

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