Cordoba Fusion 12 Orchestra and Fusion 14 Rose

September 1, 2010
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gp0910_cordoba_1853THE FIRST CORDOBA FUSION MODEL to offer a full body is the Spanish-made 12 Orchestra . It’s a sweet looking nylonstring guitar with an onboard B-Band electronics system that provides quality amplified sounds with little for the player to fuss with other than a Volume control mounted inside the soundhole. The rosewood body wears a honey hued Canadian cedar top that is tastefully trimmed in multiply wood bindings and a handmade wooden rosette. The back is also edged with binding and sports an attractive wood center strip that extends up through the endpin jack. The light colored mahogany neck joins the body at the 12th fret, and the ebony rosewood grips 19 lightly polished frets with neatly trimmed ends. The fretboard extension on the treble side technically allows you to finger 20th-fret notes on the E and B strings, though the lack of a cutaway pretty much rules that out. The slotted headstock has a set of open-gear Der Jung tuners with ebony buttons, while at the opposite end, the strings terminate at a simple but elegant rosewood bridge with a straight saddle and a tie block that’s topped with a piece of ivory colored plastic.

gp0910_cordoba_1855The 12 Orchestra intonates well and plays easily despite the action being a bit on the high side. The were no string buzzes however, and the factory setup allows chords to sound clear and sweet, and single-notes lines to pop out with excellent definition.

This guitar has a warm, lively sound and it produces a good amount acoustic of volume without a lot of effort. Plugged into a Genz-Benz Shenandoah acoustic amp and also a new Fryette Memphis 30 guitar amp, the 12 Orchestra was easy to dial in, requiring only the most minimal EQ tweaking from the amps to deliver sounds that well represented its acoustic voice. Feedback resistance is impressive too, which is good news for those who plan to use the guitar onstage.

The 12 Orchestra is a great choice for electric players and casual classical and flamenco types who want a full-bodied nylon-string guitar that can be plugged into an amp or P.A. system. This guitar is affordable and well made, and it sounds great too. As of press time, we’ve learned that a higher-end version called the Orchestra Pro with solid rosewood back and sides and slightly different cosmetics will soon be available at a price of around $1,200 street.

CORDOBA FUSION 14 ROSE

gp0910_cordoba_1857Designed as a “crossover” nylon-string guitar, the Fusion 14 Rose is designed to be more finger friendly to steel-string players, and features a slim neck with a low action, as well as a cutaway in the laminated rosewood body that makes it easy to reach the high notes. The 14th-fret neck joint also gives the Fusion 14 a feel that is more familiar to non-classical players. The 14 Rose is a nicely made guitar with a clean gloss finish and perfectly rendered wooden bindings around the top and back. The solid Indian rosewood top is an unusual feature of this instrument and it looks stunning with its abalone rosette (a spruce top is also available). The dark body contrasts well with the light mahogany neck, which also has a peghead overlay of rosewood.

Playability is excellent on this Chinesemade guitar, and the intonation is musically in tune as you finger chords in various positions on the ebony fretboard. The frets are properly crowned and reasonably well polished, though their tips could stand to be a touch smoother. Sonically, the 14 Rose sounds sweet and open, with tight bass and a punchy set of upper mids that help make chords and single-note lines ring out clearly and with superb detail. It’s a lot of fun to just bask in the acoustic side of this instrument, and the B-Band A6T preamp/ pickup system does a good job of translating that acoustic sound to the amplified realm.

The A6T is decked out with 3-band EQ, Notch Frequency and Level controls, and a slider switch that blends the AST (acoustic mic) and UST (under-saddle transducer) signals in any ratio needed for optimum tone when driving an acoustic amp (such as the Genz-Benz Shenandoah we used for testing) or a P.A. system. Other features include a chromatic tuner, a phase switch, and a low battery LED. The single 9-volt battery is accessed via a hinged door near the endpin jack.

With the AST/UST in the middle position, the Fusion 14’s amplified tones are clear and open sounding, with good low-end girth and a well-detailed top. I also used some attenuation in the Midrange, and kept the Bass and Treble Sliders right around the mid point. The hiss level becomes noticeable when boosting these frequency ranges, but it wasn’t necessary to do that to elicit satisfying tones from this guitar. Getting rid of feedback at higher volumes was easy too: Just dial in some cut on the Notch Level control and sweep the Notch Frequency knob until the problematic frequency goes away.

Playing the 14 Rose though a Fryette Memphis 30 guitar amp also yielded some very cool sounds, which points to the quality of the instrument’s natural voice and the flexibility of its onboard electronics. The Fusion 14 Rose is an excellent choice for electric-oriented players who want an easy playing nylon-string acoustic. This guitar feels inviting from the moment you pick it up, which highlights the design, components, and quality workmanship that Cordoba has put into the Fusion 14 Rose. Note that as of press time we’ve learned that all Cordoba Fusion models except the Orchestra Pro will be equipped with Fishman electronics beginning in September of this year. The Fusion 14 Rose will have a Fishman Presys system with blendable transducers, and will also be available as a 12 fret-to-body model.

SPECIFICATIONS

CONTACT Cordoba, dist. by Tornavoz Music, (877) 304-0909; cordobaguitars.com

FUSION 12 ORCHESTRA

PRICE $755 retail/$600 street

NUTWIDTH 1 7/8"

SCALE 25 1/2"

TUNERS Der Jung Silver w/ebony buttons

NECK Mahogany w/16"-radius ebony fretboard

FRETS 19 (12 clear of body)

TOP Canadian cedar

BACK AND SIDES Laminated Indian rosewood

BRIDGE Rosewood w/under-saddle pickup

ELECTRONICS B-Band A1.2 system

CONTROLS Volume

FACTORYSTRINGS Savarez Corum Alliance High Tension

WEIGHT 3.5 lbs

KUDOS Excellent sounding. Plays well. Nicely made.

CONCERNS None.

FUSION 14 ROSE

PRICE $915 retail/$750 street

NUTWIDTH 1 7/8"

SCALE 25 1/2"

TUNERS Engraved gold w/ebony buttons

NECK Mahogany w/16"-radius ebony fretboard

FRETS 22 (14 clear of body)

TOP Solid Indian rosewood

BACK AND SIDES Laminated Indian rosewood

BRIDGE Rosewood w/under-saddle pickup

ELECTRONICS B-Band A6T

CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Mid, Treble; Notch Frequency and Depth controls, mic/piezo blend control, phase switch, chromatic tuner

FACTORYSTRINGS Savarez Corum Alliance High Tension

WEIGHT 4.1 lbs

KUDOS Warm and detailed sounding. Solid Indian rosewood top enhances punch and clarity. Flexible electronics.

CONCERNS Preamp hiss when boosting frequencies.

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