Manufacturers such as Fender have changed how we look at the beginner acoustic guitar for good. Instruments such as this quite superlative CD-60S All-Mahogany are recalibrating our expectations, offering a playing experience that can only inspire today’s beginners.
This is a big deal. There was once a time when even the very prospect of the entry-level acoustic would send shivers down the spine – and not tingles of pleasure. How much more fun would learning the guitar have been if the CD-60S had been around… And the option of a solid mahogany top on a 200-dollar guitar? That’s progress.
Part of the Fender acoustic guitar Classic Design series, the CD-60S All-Mahogany switches up typical beginner’s fare with a dreadnought acoustic that pairs that very attractive solid-mahogany top with laminated mahogany on the back and sides.
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Build and playability
An all-mahogany build? In the tonewood menu that might read “warm,” “mellow,” “pronounced midrange with caramel aftertaste,” but first we must draw your attention to the neck. It is what Fender describes as its “Easy-to-play” shape, and what we’d probably call a thin C shape. Potatoes, pot-ah-toes, it is slim, easy fit, perfect for players with smaller hands or those with a bit of growing to do. The walnut fingerboard is a flattish 12” radius, with the edges rolled off for a smooth feel. It’s exceptionally comfortable for the fretting hand.
This, of course, is the name of the game. Your guitar shouldn’t offer too much fight – fretting your first barre chords is challenging enough. Compared to smaller-bodied acoustics such as orchestra or parlor models, the dreadnought shape can feel cumbersome, and that is something to bear in mind if you have a smaller frame, but you will be rewarded with a deeper tone. Dreadnoughts are typically loud, and the CD-60S doesn’t hold back.
If you’re using a pick, there’s a very musical balance to its voice that skews towards the organic woodiness of Delta blues, yet with an abundant presence and clarity to make the CD-60S All-Mahogany a good fit for fingerstyles, too. The bass notes bloom nicely, and here we are getting the benefit from that resonant solid top. Under the hood, Fender has opted for a tried-and-tested scalloped X-bracing pattern.
You could alternatively spring for Fender’s spruce-topped CD-60S. It has a little extra sparkle in the top end. But there’s something very alluring about the All-Mahogany dread’. It has an old-school charm and a new-school feel, with a very respectable factory setup that promises to repay your practicing efforts in tone.
Crucially for a beginner’s acoustic, Fender gets the neck profile bang on. The CD-60S is a joy to play, and backs this up with an impressive tone, making chords sound full and wide, yet with a detailed midrange and a vibrant top-end that adds a little magic to the mix.
- Price: $199/£189
- Origin: China
- Shape: Dreadnought
- Body Top: Solid mahogany
- Body Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
- Bracing: Quarter-sawn scalloped “X” pattern
- Neck: Mahogany, Easy-to-play shape
- Scale: 25.3” (643mm)
- Frets: 20, vintage
- Fingerboard: Walnut
- Hardware: Plastic nut, walnut bridge, chrome die-cast tuners
- Options: Range includes the CD-60S (same price) with a solid-spruce top, and CD-60SCE with solid mahogany or spruce top ($329, £259) and features a Venetian cutaway and Fishman CD Preamp
- Contact: Fender