When it comes to classical guitars, the Cordoba brand rests comfortably in the top tier. Their instruments are usually crafted with the closest attention to detail and with premium materials, giving them a sound and look that any classical guitarist would instantly recognize.
And in their catalog, one of the models that stands out is the Cordoba C9, a sub-$1000 classical guitar that is arguably one of the finest in its price range. In this Cordoba C9 review, we’re going to take a close look at the feature and specifications of one of the premier models in the Cordoba Luthier Series, and whether this model is the right one for you.
Keep reading to learn more.
Key Features Of The Cordoba C9
- Solid Canadian cedar top
- Solid mahogany back and sides
- Hand inlaid Mother-of-Pearl "Esteso" Rosette
- Rosewood fingerboard and Indian rosewood bridge
- Includes Cordoba Polyfoam case
The first thing we’ll have to talk about is how this guitar is built. It is handmade in China, which makes it a very detailed and well-crafted instrument that isn’t as expensive as other handmade instruments. But rest assured that the luthiers making the guitars in China are just as skilled as anyone else in the world, and the guitars in the Luthier series should be a testament to that.
Just like all the other models in the Luthier Series, the Cordoba C9 is made with a Spanish Heel construction. This means that the neck of the guitar is the first component that is built, then the rest of the guitar is built around it. This is different from a lot of other guitars where the body is built first, then the neck is attached. The result of this is a very stable and well-balanced guitar that is an absolute dream to play.
If you take a close look at the body of the instrument, you’ll find the fan-bracing. This is something that is common with classical guitars, as it makes for a killer combination with the lighter tension of the nylon strings. It also allows the guitar to vibrate and resonate more freely, making for a fuller tone (but we’ll dwell more on that later).
If you take a good look at the guitar, you’ll instantly notice that it was constructed and designed like a traditional Spanish classical guitar. It has a hand-inlaid mother of pearl rosette that is reminiscent of the classical guitars from the 1950s. It has very premium purfling, which is a very welcome detail, especially in this price range. The body also has a PolyUrethane finish, which isn’t as glossy and pretty as Nitrocellulose, but it is much more resistant to scratched and still gives off a very polished look.
- Neck & Body
The neck and body of this guitar are made of all-solid wood, which is one of the reasons it has its price tag. On the top of the guitar, you will find Canadian Cedar wood, which gives it a very nice brown look. It also makes for a great tonewood, but we’ll be taking a close look at the tone of this guitar later, so stay tuned. And if Cedar isn’t exactly your style, there is also a Cordoba C9 Spruce top version available.
The back and sides of the body are made of Mahogany, which is a very standard wood used by a lot of guitars. All the woods have a high-gloss finish which gives the guitar a very premium look.
The binding of the guitar is made of Indian Rosewood and the neck is made of Mahogany. These are just about standard materials for premium instruments like this, and they give the guitar a very aesthetic look.
Next up, we’ll be talking about the hardware that comes with this guitar. One of the most premium features of this guitar is the Cordoba Premium Etched Gold Tuning Machines. They have black ebony-style buttons that give the guitar a great look. The gear ratio on these tuners is 14:1, which makes them easy to turn and makes tuning a much easier task.
The guitar has a bone nut and saddle, which makes the tuning of the guitar very stable. It also has a dual-action truss rod that will allow you to adjust the guitar to the comfort level you’re looking for. Just remember to have a professional or an experienced person guide you through adjusting the truss rod and relief of your guitar.
The C9 comes with Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ strings, which may be a bit tough for beginners to get used to, but the sound is almost unparalleled, which makes it very worth getting used to.
Another extra of this guitar is it comes in a polyfoam case, which makes it very easy to bring the instrument around safely.
- The Tone
Now it’s time to talk about one of the most important aspects of any instrument: the tone or timbre. Regardless of what size guitar you get (the C9 is available as a full-sized guitar and a parlor sized ⅞ guitar), the tone will more or less stay the same. However, there are slight differences in tone when you compare the Cordoba Spruce vs the Cordoba Cedar tops.
Since this instrument is crafted by experts in China, the tone is very full, with a very active low-end response. However, some guitarists have said that a bit more low-end would have made this guitar much better. The Cedar top Cordoba will have a very flexible tone which is ideal for beginners and professionals alike. This is because the deep richness of the Cedar’s tone can help mask faulty notes, while the flexibility of the tone allows for more expressive and dynamic playing.
The Cordoba Spruce, however, will have a pretty different sound. Instead of the deep and rich tone of the Cedar top, Spruce tops will have a brighter, almost bell-like tone. This is more recommended for experienced guitarists as it can be pretty tricky to get the hand of the guitar’s tone.
But while it isn’t as flexible as Cedar, it resonated much more and you will be able to hear notes much more clearly with a Spruce top.
Cordoba C9 Review: Pros & Cons
A Buying Guide For Classical Guitars – What To Look Out For When Buying A Classical Guitar
The first thing to consider is what size guitar you plan on getting. For adults, it’s best to get a full-sized guitar. Children aged 5-8 are encouraged to use ½ sized guitars while kids aged 9-12 are encouraged to use ¾ or ⅞ size guitars.
However, it’s always best to use a guitar that you’re most comfortable with. Some adults and teenagers have found that ¾ sized guitars fit them and their playing style the best.
The next thing to consider is the tonewood used in making the guitar. This involves the top wood, side, back, bridge, and neck material. There is no objective way of picking the best tonewood out there as they all have different characteristics. And at the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re looking for from your guitar.
But a general way to look at things is darker woods will sound warmer and fuller, while lighter woods sound brighter and more bell-like.
Once you’ve figured out the tonewoods you want, you’ll need to check out what kind of design you want. Ideally, you’d want a guitar built with purfling and binding as they look much better and sound clearer and fuller.
Certain brands and companies also have signature Rosettes that all have a unique look. The design of the guitar is a very subjective thing, and different people will have different opinions, so make sure to really take a good look at the design of the instrument.
The last aspect we’re looking at is probably the most important one of any instrument: the sound. Different guitarists will want different tones from their guitar. However, warmer and darker tones are recommended for beginners as they can easily mask mistakes.
Also, darker tones can allow you to be more expressive in your playing. However, if you really want a guitar that will be bright and ideal for melodies, then we recommend you get one with a lighter tonewood.
Are Cordoba Guitars Good?
Yes, these guitars are considered some of the best that you can get on the market. They are handcrafted with close attention to detail and made of fine and premium materials. While they may be on the more expensive side, they are well worth the investment.
Where Is The Cordoba C9 Made?
The Cordoba C9 is handmade in China, just like all guitars from the brand’s Luthier Series.
What Is Cordoba Known For?
The Cordoba brand is well-known and respected all around the world for making high-quality and premium classical guitars.
Who Owns Cordoba Guitars?
The Cordoba brand is owned by its founder, Tim Miklaucic, who created the company with the vision of making the classical nylon guitar accessible to anyone.
Which Cordoba Guitars Are Made In Spain?
Cordoba has a line called the Espana Series, which consists of guitars that are handmade in the traditional fashion in Spain.
So is the Cordoba C9 worth the money?
Well, it depends on what kind of guitarist you are. If you are a serious classical guitarist on the hunt for the best sounding classical guitar under $1000, then this might be the right one for you. However, dropping that much money on a guitar might not be ideal for beginners.
That being said, if you believe that your journey into the world of music will be a long one, then investing in a good classical guitar is a very smart move.
Either way, if you decide to spend and buy a Cordoba C9 for yourself, you can expect a great tone, great feel, and an overall great guitar that is well worth the investment.
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My name is Demarcus M. Greiner and I was born and raised in the mid-seventies on the flat country near Stamford.
From the age of twelve, I received classical lessons from the guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Two years later, I work on playing the electric guitar on the side and self-taught and is part of various rock band constellations.
Since 2004 I have been giving private guitar lessons and since 2005 I have been a lecturer for classical and electric guitar at the New York Guitar Academy. In the years 2006-2010, I study at the New York City Guitar School in the subject “classical guitar”.
After completing studies and obtaining a diploma as an instrumental teacher, I completed a further training course in the field of jazz guitar, similar to a course of studies, with the – beyond this scene – renowned guitarist Chuck Berry.
Later I was addicted to dark metal. Years later Carter USM, Pop Will Eat Itself, Jesus Jones followed. Then the electronic stuff. Techno, Warp stuff, Ambient. Today I listen mainly to Indie, Shoegaze, Dream-Pop, Folk, Post-Rock and Electronica.