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-   -   Cordoba Guitars... (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184068)

Eric.Hope 05-07-2010 04:19 PM

Cordoba Guitars...
 
Hi.
I'm curious what everyone's thoughts are on Cordoba guitars in general. I've never owned one, but now that I'm in the market for a crossover classical, I don't want to overlook them if they need to be considered. Any thoughts?

GuitarVlog 05-07-2010 04:55 PM

In a nutshell, for the Iberia and Fusion series ...
  • Their tone and volume are usually better than Yamaha - at least the old CG series (111, 131, 151, 171 and 201) which is being discontinued. Don't know how they compare to the new CG series (122 through 192).
  • Their quality can be inconsistent. Examine closely and play before you buy.
  • You'll need to file and round the fret ends. Somebody in the China factory is not doing their job. If you don't know how to do it yourself, this will cost you a bit more.
  • Unlike Taylor, Martin or Yamaha, they're usually included in the the large-percentage (15%-20%) sales at the big retailers. If you can, wait for a sale.
Find a good one at a sale price and it's good value.

That's my opinion based on playing a lot of samples and shopping with and for friends.

Can't comment on the Espana or Loriente line. Haven't had played a lot of samples - just 2-3 from each.

gerardo1000 05-07-2010 07:17 PM

If you are looking for a crossover, the new Cordoba GK (Gipsy King) Studio is excellent. Better than the new Yamaha NTX 700 (better neck and better neck width). However, as other members already said, play one before buying it because Cordoba guitars could be a little inconsistent.

capefisherman 05-07-2010 07:56 PM

Just returned one to MF - a Fusion model that needed the fret ends filed and the electronics were AWFUL - noisy and the overall sound was thin, nasal and absolutely useless in a gigging or performance situation. There are probably decent ones out there but as has been said here, TRY before you buy!

Bob Womack 05-07-2010 08:07 PM

The one I have is built in Spain. Basically, Cordoba is a German firm that built a network of apprentices in classical guitar shops in Spain who would build their guitars in their off-time. Since then they've added some other locations, but my experience is with their Spanish guitars. Yes they can be about as inconsistent as Gibson guitars, meaning you want to audition the guitars and look for a good one. I happen to have come across a guitar with balance and projection that far exceeds its price class, to the tune of sounding more like guitars twice its price. The other examples of the same model I tried were not nearly as powerful or balanced.

There is a chance a Cordoba might need to be set up right out of the box. I find most guitars I buy do. ;)

http://www.in2guitar.com/cordoba/rosesm.jpg

Pix of mine HERE.

Bob

cpmusic 05-07-2010 09:04 PM

Cordoba's lower-end models have a good pedigree, having been designed by Kenny Hill and possibly one or two other high-end luthiers. However, consistency is an issue, at least among the models built in China. When I bought my Fusion 14 RS there were three at the store, only one of which had a decent setup and enough saddle material to indicate that it had been built properly. I'm happy with the one I bought, but I would have passed on the other two.

BTW, the fret ends were fine on all three, but in my opinion the string spacing at the nut was too narrow for the neck width. I had a new nut made for a very reasonable price whiich improved the guitar's playability considerably.

I also owned a C5-CE briefly that was very good, with a somewhat richer tone than my Fusion and nice workmanship, but since I'm plugging that guitar in most of the time the crossover is the better choice.

cpmusic 05-07-2010 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by capefisherman (Post 2219056)
Just returned one to MF - a Fusion model that needed the fret ends filed and the electronics were AWFUL - noisy and the overall sound was thin, nasal and absolutely useless in a gigging or performance situation. There are probably decent ones out there but as has been said here, TRY before you buy!

Not to be argumentative, but I have a feeling you had a defective set. B-Band has an excellent reputation for acoustic pickups, and the system Cordoba uses in the Fusion produces a tone which to my ear is very close to natural. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have returned the one you had, but while acknowledging the QC problems with the Chinese-built Cordobas, I don't expect the electronics to be a widespread issue.

GuitarVlog 05-07-2010 09:22 PM

As far as acoustic-electrics go, I would spend my money on a Yamaha with the new ART system. Yamaha seems to have it together when it comes to A/E guitars.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Womack (Post 2219063)
Basically, Cordoba is a German firm that built a network of apprentices in classical guitar shops in Spain who would build their guitars in their off-time.

That's different from what I had heard but perhaps you know better than I do.

It was my understanding Cordoba is a brand managed by an American firm known as Tornavoz Music down in Southern California that sub-contracted the building of their instruments to Spain, China and Portugal. They got into China through Kenny Hill.

Tornavoz also imports some major brands from Spain (Ramirez) and Japan (Kohno) and owns the Loriente line (which has now been moved under the Cordoba label). It was my impression that they also owned or managed Guitar Salon International.

Bob Womack 05-08-2010 06:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuitarVlog (Post 2219111)
As far as acoustic-electrics go, I would spend my money on a Yamaha with the new ART system. Yamaha seems to have it together when it comes to A/E guitars.


That's different from what I had heard but perhaps you know better than I do.

It was my understanding Cordoba is a brand managed by an American firm known as Tornavoz Music down in Southern California that sub-contracted the building of their instruments to Spain, China and Portugal. They got into China through Kenny Hill.

Tornavoz also imports some major brands from Spain (Ramirez) and Japan (Kohno) and owns the Loriente line (which has now been moved under the Cordoba label). It was my impression that they also owned or managed Guitar Salon International.

As I recall, the info I got was from the old Cardoba website, before the latest update. I have no doubt that by now they are a subsidiary of some other large outfit. Your info doesn't really seem at odds with mine at all.

Bob

Play2PraiseHim 05-08-2010 08:35 PM

I have fond memories of an all Koa cutaway a/e Cordoba that I played at Guitar Center about 2 years ago.

ProgGtr 06-17-2010 01:29 AM

Just bought a GK Studio! I was @ the Guitar Center in San Marcos and there were two GKs to choose from but only one was set up properly... in fact, it was the best playing nylon in the store. Sound is bright and punchy with a bell like sustain through the A-B-E strings in higher frets (I'll be adopting a mute technique to balance this out). Quality is excellent! I would consider the GK Studio a great bargain.

ewalling 06-17-2010 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Play2PraiseHim (Post 2219925)
I have fond memories of an all Koa cutaway a/e Cordoba that I played at Guitar Center about 2 years ago.

Me too! I sometimes wonder about pursuing that model. As far as classicals go, it was pretty comfortable to play, had a good sound, and was drop dead gorgeous. It came with a humicase and didn't cost an arm and a leg, relatively speaking. I never tried the elctronics on it.

mahler 06-26-2010 11:23 AM

I own the Cordoba Dolce and LOVE it! Not as good as my old Martin was of course but splendid value and a very good instrument for the money.

http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h9.../Cordoba-2.jpg

Jim

dekutree64 06-26-2010 06:21 PM

I love my FCWE :) I also played some good 55FCE's when shopping around, which are the closest current model to FCWE, I think.

However... those are the only two models I've played that I liked. Their cheap classicals are awful, and I don't like GK Studio either. I played one at GC a couple months ago and it was rather bland sounding. I'd stick with the Spanish made models, and make sure you get to play it before buying.

rko 06-28-2010 05:42 PM

I have to respond in 2 steps:

1. I bought an Ibanez thinbody nylon for about 300 bucks. All laminate and the neck was a touch thinner than the standard 2 inch classical neck. LOVED it and still do. But I decided I wanted a thin body classical with a solid top which leads us to step

2. Bought a Cordoba thin body classical, full width neck, about 500 bucks. It's ok, but since I almost always play them plugged in, I like the Ibanez better. It has a better plugged in sound, and I dig the slightly narrower neck.

The quality on the Cordoba is fine, but it just never sang to me. My daughter wanted a classical and I gave it to her. The Ibanez is sitting right next to me at this moment, waiting to play some more.

LadyPicker 06-28-2010 09:52 PM

When i was looking for my classical I went to Guitar Center and played several within my price range. I played a Cordoba, I forget the model but it was about 450.00 and had the B-band electronics. The tone was okay but I did not like the neck since I was looking for a cross over and the Cordoda had to wide of a neck for my taste. Then I looked at an Ibanez GA6 CE and was amazed at its playability. Plugged in very rich and true to tone. My only complaint was the sharp frets, but for 299.00 with a road runner soft shell case thrown in it was a great deal. :D

Jaygits 07-29-2010 11:45 AM

Correction
 
Hi Folks,

I know this thread is a bit stale, but I wanted to correct a couple of things. Cordoba Guitars is a division of Tornavoz Music, located in Santa Monica, CA. We manufacture and import guitars from China and Spain. The company is majority owned by Tim Miklaucic who also owns and operates Guitar Salon International, a high end boutique retailer of classical guitars. We are housed in the same building here in SM.

Tim's design partners are luthiers Kenny Hill, Santa Cruz, and Edmund Blochinger, Germany. Perhaps that is where the German reference comes from?

Regarding some of the comments and experience above, the Q/C of Cordoba Guitars is quite consistent considering the volume of guitars we make and sell to dealers. In fact, the quality of the Chinese made guitars in the Iberia Series is outstanding. There were some Fusion Guitars that had an issue of sharp fret ends. This was related to our partner factory not properly drying the fingerboards on a particular run. We have since purchased a new kiln for that factory to address the problem. It will disappear once the effected inventory cycles through the retail channel. Unfortunately our only choice is to service the guitars as they come to our attention - this is part of the nature of manufacturing in general. Sometimes you don't know, until you know.

One last point --- quality control is always a challenge, but it's not a static event. The guitars are always getting better over time as we continue to grow and reinvest in the company. None of this is to excuse a Q/C problem on any of our guitars, rather it is to say there may be a much better guitar right next to, behind, or near the one with the issues. Also, quality control on value priced instruments is a challenge that cuts across all categories and all brands. That's just part of the nature of the game as evidenced by the posters here - for every bad experience, there tends to be 10 good ones, except negative tends to win when it comes to feedback.

Thanks for listening, thanks for playing.

Jay - Cordoba Guitars

Bob Womack 07-29-2010 12:19 PM

Ah-hah! Thanks, Jay.

GuitarVlog 07-29-2010 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaygits (Post 2299604)
One last point --- quality control is always a challenge, but it's not a static event. The guitars are always getting better over time as we continue to grow and reinvest in the company. None of this is to excuse a Q/C problem on any of our guitars, rather it is to say there may be a much better guitar right next to, behind, or near the one with the issues. Also, quality control on value priced instruments is a challenge that cuts across all categories and all brands. That's just part of the nature of the game as evidenced by the posters here - for every bad experience, there tends to be 10 good ones, except negative tends to win when it comes to feedback.

Hello Jay. It's good to see a Cordoba rep here.

I should mention that my cautionary note on Cordoba QC is not based on an isolated incident but on six guitars that I had examined (one C5, two C7's, two F7's and one C10) over a five month period October '09 to February '10. I help friends shop for guitars or I set them up. The instruments were from one independent dealer, Guitar Center, Amazon and MF. Six for six cases of poorly-finished or sharp fret ends and other minor build flaws across four models. At least two of those that I examined should have been B-stock.

I myself was eagerly in the market for an F7 after hearing of its introduction, but I decided on another instrument after seeing the ones my friends had bought.

Having said that, I will note that I had not experienced this issue with any of the Iberia C5's I played since you began importing them from China in 2007. I assumed that the issues I saw were growing pains - Cordoba had expanded the Iberia line very quickly.

I do think the Cordoba Iberia line is an excellent value and it will get better as QC stabilizes. It sounds like Cordoba is headed in the right direction on this.

My general impression has been that Cordoba has better tone potential but still cannot match the quality consistency of a Yamaha. I still recommend Cordoba guitars to my friends, but I advise them to have me inspect the guitars first. I hope that you will make it possible for me to recommend them without reservations.

Jaygits 07-29-2010 01:24 PM

GuitarVlog,

Thanks for your feedback. I understand - 6 for 6 is really not a good score. It's not acceptable for us either as Q/C is a major concern here, rest assured.
That said, I could go on and on about fully hand made Nylon/Classical guitars and Q/C .... the unknown that will vary from end-user to end-user, guitarist to guitarist, is where the designation A stock ends, and B stock begins. There's no way around subjectivity when it comes to grading, and that gray area grows wider as you go down in price point. There is no perfect, I can assure you of that .... this is true especially in the nylon/classical world where traditional Spanish construction methods rule the game, as opposed to American factory made (read: Taylor and Martin) which is often the standard applied by dealers and customers here. Anyone who does that, and I'm not presuming you do, needs to readjust their standards so they are appropriate to the nature of building nylon guitars in China and/or Spain. I can tell you this from first hand experience having worked at Taylor Guitars for 5 years - if I applied that standard to any guitar I put my hands on here, I probably would have left the company by now. There's alot to learn here on the inside and I'm happy to share what I know.

One more note, of the guitars you mention, the C7's, F7's, and the C10's, everything with the exception of the C5, based on the time frame you mentioned these were all first run, new models from our factory. We kill ourselves to get it right the 1st time, but the 2nd time is usually much better as we dial in closer to the right, albeit imperfect build.

Thanks for letting us know when we don't hit the mark. We are a relatively small company with limited resources, we try very hard every day to get it right, and we won't stop trying. Hopefully we can win back your confidence in the near term.

Best,

Jay

GuitarVlog 07-29-2010 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaygits (Post 2299720)
That said, I could go on and on about fully hand made Nylon/Classical guitars and Q/C .... the unknown that will vary from end-user to end-user, guitarist to guitarist, is where the designation A stock ends, and B stock begins.

I understand that. I made that remark based on what I have observed from one of Cordoba's price-tier peers.

LaPatrie (aka Godin) which sells guitars in the sub-$500 street price level has marked instruments as "blems" for imperfections that were truly difficult to detect. Based on what I've observed, the C10 and F7 that I examined wouldn't have passed their standards and, IMHO, should not have been offered for regular retail. The C10 sells for $1k.

I read somewhere that "seconds" from Yamaha exist but I haven't yet come across one. They seem to control these very well.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaygits (Post 2299720)
One more note, of the guitars you mention, the C7's, F7's, and the C10's, everything with the exception of the C5, based on the time frame you mentioned these were all first run, new models from our factory.

That's as I suspected. The time frame was the run-up to the Christmas shopping season and the post-Christmas inventory liquidation sales.

Of course, there are two ways of thinking about first runs: they're either the worst or they're the best. I had hoped that the newly released models would have come out strong to generate lots of good buzz and build marketing momentum. From my experience, these first runs curbed my enthusiasm.

In any case, I'll still be looking forward to what progress is made in the Iberia line. You can bet I'll be invited to accompany friends again to shops as November approaches.

Jaygits 07-29-2010 02:03 PM

I agree, we need to do better.

Thanks again ...

Jay

cpmusic 07-29-2010 07:19 PM

Jay, I appreciate your comments here. They show respect for us guitarists and a sincere concern for the quality of your company's guitars. However, I have to echo GuitarVlog's comments in regard to the Fusion models I sampled. As I noted earlier, I'm happy with my Fusion and felt that the C5-CE I owned briefly was also built well (I returned it solely to get a crossover).

However, I bought my Fusion about 6-8 months ago. The other two Fusions I looked at were both brand new in the box, and both had a neck angle that was less than satisfactory. Such a problem is not uncommon in loss leaders, but as you know, the Fusion is no loss leader. I understand that those two Fusions could have been aberrations that just happened to appear in the same store, but Fusions aren't easy to come by except online, and had it not been for the third one (which was a floor model) I'd own something else today. I believe you're sincere about addressing QC problems, but if it hadn't been for that third Fusion, I'd own something else today.

I'm not intereted in dog-piling and hope my post here doesn't come across that way. I just want you to know that my experience was real, and it was not influenced by comparisons to other, more expensive guitars.

Jaygits 07-30-2010 10:45 AM

duly noted Chris .... thank you for your feedback. You shouldn't have to sort through guitars like you sort through the apple or orange bins at the supermarket. Our Q/C guys should tackle any issues prior to the guitar leaving us. Our goal is Q/C overseas before the guitar leaves for the US, Q/C when the guitar arrives to our warehouse, then final Q/C before the guitar leaves for the dealer/customer. There are systems, procedures and processes in place to assure all of that is happening. BUT, the world is an imperfect place --- we have to rely on our people at every step along the way, and guitars can and do change and react over time. Also, please bear in mind aspects like "improper neck angle" are often subjective.

We also keep detailed notes and stats on all the guitars that are returned. As soon as we indentify a problem trend, we go about solving that issue. We also recently hired another dedicated Q/C person for our warehouse - prior to his arrival, the guy Q/C'ing was also picking and handling other duties. Our new guy is a guitar builder by trade and an awesome set-up guy ... none of this excuses less than ideal Q/C at the dealer level, but I hope it does give you some confidence that we do care, we do take action, and our quality is always getting better as we grow the company.

Best,

Jay

cpmusic 07-30-2010 02:19 PM

Thanks, Jay. As before, I appreciate your feedback, and I feel confident that your company is addressing these problems. Although I add the caveat to play before buying, I feel comfortable recommending the Cordoba brand below the $1k level despite my experience. (I have yet to see any of your European models.)

However, while acknowledging that neck angle is somewhat subjective, I'd like to note that the problem, as I saw it, was that those two Fusions had fairly high action with what I consider proper neck relief, and neither had enough saddle material above the bridge to lower the action without also altering the bridge. Of course, it's possible that the guitars were a little "wet," but my Fusion had the same action and neck relief with a considerably taller saddle. Again, this is just FYI.

guitpl4evr 08-11-2010 08:42 PM

Cordoba C-10 Dissapointment
 
Well, I ordered a C-10 and was highly dissapointed in the lack of tonal qualities it had. It was very thin sounding, certainly not an 899 dollar guitar, but that is not to say that someone else may not like that kiind of sound. It just did not grab me, you know? Well, I guess it is finiding the right one.

I also tryed a Yamaha CG192S, one of their newer series and was fuilly impressed. I have got to say that Yamaha has their quality control down, and I will not ever be hesitant to buy one of their classicals. Cordoba seems to be too inconsistant at best.

The C10 I received did not have a glossy finish, but sort of like a semi gloss look to it??? As well, you could actually see the different color of the wood where the top meets in the middle of the bridge. I dod not think that was attractive at all.

Well, that is my take on the C10, not impressed, but it could take just the right one I guess, but from now on, no more cordobas for a long ime.

dwalton 08-12-2010 07:28 AM

I'm both surprised and not surprised at your Cordoba C10 experience.

The spruce C10 I had here for a little while was IMO really quite nice. Fit and finish were spot-on - usual gloss finish, clean construction, very nice materials. Part of me wishes I'd kept it.

But it doesn't surprise me too much that a dud or two could come out of the factory. Too bad - I talked to Kenny Hill about them, and got the clear impression that he's working really hard to make this work. Maybe in the rush to get more nice C10s built once they were intro'ed to the market, some things slipped.

Also, great to hear that the Yamaha was so nice. I guess I should take a look at one of these new ones sometime.

Thanks for the reviews!

Eric.Hope 08-12-2010 02:01 PM

I was just on Musician's Friend, and it appears they won't have any Yamaha CG-192S's in until OCTOBER. Don't know what's up with the delay. I'm still interested in both the Yamaha AND the Cordoba. Haven't played either one of them yet, though. My area is really bad for classical guitars. Might have to buy online, get it here, make my assessment, and either keep it or return it. It's a much longer-winded process, but I'm afraid it's all I have in most cases.

guitpl4evr 08-12-2010 08:27 PM

Eric, Samash.com has more than one Cordoba C10, you might want to try them as well.

Play2PraiseHim 08-16-2010 03:26 PM

I played a Cordoba GK Studio today at my local GC. I must say that I was surprised and impressed. This guitar was very well made, the projection and playability were equally nice. The tonal colors were impressive. I only wish I had the opportunity to plug it in. Unplugged, it was a winner.


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