My very first guitar was a nylon-string classical instrument. Since then, I’ve bought well over 100 other guitars, but none of them was a classical.
I’m not disinterested in classical guitars—in fact, I’ve often wanted to study classical like Randy Rhoads or play the intro to Rush’s “La Villa Strangiato” properly—but every model I’ve ever found for less than $5,000 had a neck like a baseball bat and a fingerboard wider than Kim Kardashian’s backside.
With the introduction of Cordoba’s C10 Crossover, I may have finally found the affordable classical guitar I’ve been looking for, and I’m sure many other electric and steel-string players will feel the same way.
Features: The Cordoba C10 Crossover is based on the same materials and design as the company’s outstanding regular C10 models, but the neck’s dimensions are similar to those of a steel-string acoustic designed for fingerstyle players. The nut width is 1.89 inches and the profile has a slim, comfortable C shape instead of the deep U commonly found on classical guitars. The fretboard also has a slightly curved radius instead of the flat radius of a traditional classical guitar.
Beyond that, the C10 Crossover has all the refined elements of a great classical guitar, including a solid European spruce fan-braced top, solid Indian rosewood back and sides, a 19-fret mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard, and a bone nut and saddle. It is tastefully decorated as well, with a gorgeous ebony-and-mother-of-pearl rosette inspired by a 1920s design by master builder Domingo Esteso, as well as Indian rosewood binding and three tasteful mother-of-pearl inlays on the headstock.
Performance: Thanks to the C10 Crossover’s nut width and radiused fretboard, it’s very easy for steel-string players to make an instant transition to this nylon-string classical instrument. The playability is phenomenal and compares quite favorably with flamenco guitars I’ve played that are 10 to 20 times more expensive. The strings are also spaced wide enough apart to facilitate clean fingering of complicated classical passages and chords.
The C10 Crossover provides the rich resonance, well-defined bass and full, sweet mids and treble typically only found on much more expensive classical guitars, and its volume output is impressive as well. The materials, craftsmanship, tone and playability are comparable to those of considerably more expensive handmade instruments, making the C10 Crossover an incredible bargain.
List Price: $1,305
Manufacturer: Cordoba Guitars, cordobaguitars.com
Cheat Sheet: With its slender C-shaped profile, 1.89-inch nut width and radiused fretboard, the neck is designed with similar specs to a fingerstyle steel-string acoustic.
The ebony and mother-of-pearl rosette is based on a 1920s design found on instruments made by fabled Madrid luthier Domingo Esteso.
The Bottom Line: With its slim neck profile, narrower nut width and radiused fretboard, the Cordoba C10 Crossover is the perfect choice for electric and steel-string guitarists looking for a familiar feeling classical guitar.