Review: Cordoba C12 CD

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Review: Cordoba C12 CD

Cordoba C12 CD
Words by Christopher Hockey

Cordoba C12 CD | Zenith Music | RRP: $4499 AUD

The Cordoba C12 CD is an incredibly fine instrument that exudes craftsmanship and excellence. Timelessly beautiful in every way, the luthiers at Cordoba have outdone themselves with this gorgeous, high-end piece of work. Visually stunning and effortlessly playable, the sheer projection of this guitar is a marvel in of itself, even before one begins to analyse its timbre. A combination of the finest materials, expert design and tastefully subtle execution make this one of the very best classical guitars available today; truly an instrument that needs to be played to be believed.

Founded in 1997 by Tim Miklaucic, Cordoba Guitars is the outcome of Miklaucic’s mission to salvage the classical guitar, which, in modern times, has been all but buried by the acoustic steel-string and the electric. Residing in sunny Santa Monica, CA, Cordoba continue to take inspiration from late 19th century Spanish luthiers, while always looking to push the instrument forward. Using only the finest tone woods, Cordoba have an unparalleled passion for their products and an eye for detail that is a true rarity in the world today.

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The first Cordoba to feature modern, lightweight lattice bracing, the C12 CD, has a deep and rich tone with plenty of top end presence. Available with either a solid Canadian cedar or European spruce top, either option has a beautiful eye-catching grain and strong, balanced sound. The guitar also features Indian rosewood back and sides, which not only provide a beautiful visual contrast to the lighter top wood, but also perfectly round off its exceptional tone. Another strong visual feature of the C12 is found in the form of a gorgeous flamed maple wedge, separating the two pieces of rosewood that form the back of the guitar. What’s more, all of this is protected by the humidified archtop case that the C12 CD arrives in.

Cordoba C12 CD fretboard

Something that really sets this Cordoba apart is its raised fretboard. Constructed from the finest ebony, the elevation of the fretboard allows for easier access to the higher frets, ensuring that the C12 CD is playable well past its neck joint. A smooth mahogany neck that feels full but sleek in the hand ensures that this instrument is as exceptionally playable as it is beautiful. Featuring a classic C-Shape and a glossy finish that never feels sticky, the neck is perfectly proportioned with a 25.6” scale length and a 2” nut-width.

The C12 CD is remarkably loud and resonant, boasting a deep, balanced tone. The secret to the C12’s incredibly resonant sound, aside from its exceptional tone-woods and construction, lies within its unique lattice bracing.

Lattice bracing has a more intricate, criss-crossing pattern than traditional bracing, giving it superior strength. This strength of the bracing allows it to be made extremely light, as well as allowing the top of the guitar itself to be constructed lighter too without sacrificing sturdiness. The lighter materials of the guitar allow it to be far more resonant, giving the instrument a more lively sound and a huge dynamic range when compared to heavier, traditionally braced classical guitars.

Players will notice how sensitive this makes the C12 to picking dynamics. The range of this guitar is quite astounding, incredibly useful for fingerstyle guitarists who don’t have the benefit of a pick to increase their projection. From a player’s lightest touch up to their heaviest, they will notice a far greater range of volume when compared to many other classical guitars on the market. This allows for greater subtlety of performance and the ability to build up effortlessly to dynamic crescendos. This is a particularly appealing feature for solo artists who don’t have other musicians adding dynamics to their arrangements.


While lattice bracing is not known for its sustain, the increased volume and almost banjo-like tonality truly sets the C12 CD apart from its competition, making it the perfect choice for fingerstyle guitarists who can afford to reach for the top shelf. 

Overall, the C12 CD is visually stunning, exhibiting the subtle detail work and passionate design that Cordoba are known for. The construction of the guitar is incredibly thoughtful and player-friendly, features such as a raised fretboard and improved, innovative bracing give the guitar a modern edge despite its ornate old-world charm. From its dark, rich Indian Rosewood back and sides, to its mahogany neck and Ebony fretboard, the C12 CD’s tonewoods are perfectly selected to both visually and sonically compliment its Cedar/Spruce top.

The full, warm low end of the C12 CD is perfectly balanced with its explosive midrange and bell-like top end, retaining its brightness and balanced timbre at even the lowest of volumes. The incredible dynamic range alone makes it worth every penny and creates a truly invigorating playing experience, one that is likely to take the player aback upon first experiencing it. Perfect for fingerstyle players who need a strong, loud and clear sound to be heard over a crowd or band, the C12 CD is a great choice for anyone in the market for a truly beautiful classical guitar with some innovative modern features.

So if you’ve got the budget for a top of the line instrument that you’ll never want to part with, the Cordoba C12 CD is well worth checking out. Complete with a deluxe, humidified hard case, this is a truly premium classical guitar that doesn’t sacrifice on quality, allowing you to play at your absolute best, regardless of the circumstances.

For local enquiries, visit Zenith Music.