The Cordoba 12-Natural is the hallmark guitar of its Fusion Series, aimed at bridging the gap between nylon and steel string guitars. Its crossover design captures the make and tone of a classical guitar, with an appealing feel and a responsive output for guitarists of the steel string persuasion. This particular model is a full-bodied and generally smooth introduction into the world of nylon strings from one of its leading manufacturers.
The European spruce top and mahogany back, sides and neck, make for a compact build that is lightweight and easy to handle. The trimmed dimension of the neck, which has a nut width 48mm and 12 frets to the body, along with a 16” radiused rosewood ngerboard, ensure that the guitar sits nicely in the hand. The slight curvature of the finngerboard – the middle at and each end tapering off – does a good job at organically recreating the feel of a steel string. When bending higher strings there’s little need to fight the neck, while engaging with the 12th fret and beyond is generally smooth transition.
The cut-away obviously encourages greater use of the higher frets, however, it is the consistent resonance and sustain that truly makes it worthwhile. With the use of the B and high E string, in particular, the full-bodied sound radiates warmth where it could easily lack body. Here the spruce top really pays dividends, accentuating higher frequencies for a brighter sound where the alternatively manufactured Canadian cedar top emphasises the low end. There’s definitely reward for effort here.
ICING ON THE CAKE
The 12-Natural offers a host of additional features that complement its Spanish method of construction. The Fishman pickups, for one, are a major selling point. The volume control and three-band EQ deliver on the extra tonal control necessary with a crossover and cater to live performance. The phase switch establishes a clean signal when playing plugged in, while the inclusion of an in-built tuner is always a valuable feature. Beyond the electronics, this guitar is easy on the eyes, the spruce top and mahogany back and sides provide a glossy exterior, matched in subtlety by the hand-inlaid wood ring rosette.
MAKING THE CROSSING
Nylon string guitars are made great through perfecting simplicity, and for that reason alone is the perfect way to get back to basics. It’s an opportunity to craft your playing style and pro ciency. As the base model of Cordoba’s Fusion series, the higher action is evident, but so too is the richness in tone that can only be found in a classically built acoustic guitar. With the added Fishman electronics, there is more than enough here to make the transition worthwhile.
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Hits and Misses
The cut-away and compact build makes it comfortable to play
Fishman Electronics add versatility
Higher action takes some getting used to
Top: Solid European spruce
Back & Sides: mahogany
Fingerboard: rosewood radiused/ Fusion Crossover style
Width at Nut: 48mm
Electronics: Fishman Presys, three-band EQ, built in digital tuner