Every guitar player should own a nylon-string guitar, and this is one that players of all stripes can afford and appreciate.
Clever crossover design
Rough bridge edges
No strap buttons
Some fret noise
No case or bag
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Cordoba’s Fusion 5 line is aimed at steel-string acoustic guitar slingers transitioning to nylon, and this model sports a sleek Jet Black finish that gives it a distinct appeal. Its full body features a cutaway and a solid spruce top with laminated mahogany back and sides. It’s also available in Gloss Natural as well as Gloss Sonata Burst with flamed mahogany back and sides.
Laced with white bindings and a pearl decal rosettem, the Jet Black is a bold beauty. Its thick high-gloss finish makes a pick guard unnecessary, and the whole thing reflects light like a dark mirror. Plated metal strips support unsealed tuners with black buttons on a slotted headstock. The aesthetic brings to mind black-hat good guys like Eric McFadden, so the style should appeal to acoustic rockers as well as outlaw country and classical/flamenco types.
Rather than a flat fingerboard, as in the classical tradition, the Fusion 5 has a 16-inch radius similar to a traditional steel-string. And instead of a nut width of about two inches, like a typical classical, the Fusion 5’s nut measures 1 7/8 inches, which is slightly larger than what you find on a typical steel-string.
This crossover is clearly designed to accommodate steel-string guitarists while being not too uncomfortable for electric guitar players, all while retaining a distinctly nylon feel and appeal. We thought that Cordoba hit that goal with the Fusion 5.
Overall playability is fine. The factory action is satisfactory for most plucking approaches, although we did encounter a bit of fret buzz and some splat when using a strong attack.
The Fusion 5 obviously encourages fingerstyle chord progressions. Songs such as “House of the Rising Sun” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” flowed naturally. This is a good guitar for single-note runs as well. It’s interesting to play a nylon-string with 12 frets to the body plus a cutaway for extending the playing range. We enjoyed playing meandering electric-style melodies, such as “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” as well as rocking quick flamenco-inspired lines in the vein of Angus Young’s “Thunderstruck” intro.
That thick finish surely comes at a cost of some top resonance, but the slightly shaded tone sounds appropriate for the Jet Black Fusion 5. It’s deep and chunky, and present enough without the overabundance of treble common to many instruments in this price class. Plugged into a Fender Acoustic Junior GO, its amplified tone was representative of the acoustic tone and notably well balanced from string to string.
Craftsmanship is mostly exceptional. Attention to detail is apparent in elements like the binding that rounds off the bottom of the neck, where it hits the body like a crescent moon, and the extra split fret at the end of the fretboard.
The main oversight is sharp edges at the back of the bridge where the strings attach. Raking a palm over that with a flailing flamenco-style attack could split the skin of player. It’s a bit surprising Cordoba didn’t design this guitar with ball-end strings, as we'd bet many players drawn to this instrument would prefer it.
Another oddity considering the target audience is the lack of any strap pins whatsoever. For most, that means a trip to the luthier to get them installed safely and securely, adding additional dollars for live performers or anyone wanting to use a favorite strap. That said, overall value is still strong. Every guitar player should own a nylon-string guitar, and this is one that players of all stripes can afford and appreciate.
- NUT WIDTH 1 7/8” bone
- NECK Mahogany
- FRETBOARD Pau ferro, 25.6” scale
- FRETS 19
- TUNERS Cordoba silver w/black buttons, 14:1 ratio
- BODY Solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides
- BRIDGE Pau ferro with bone saddle
- ELECTRONICS Fishman Sonitone Classical with sound-hole flywheel volume and tone controls
- FACTORY STRINGS Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ
- WEIGHT 3.6 lbs (as tested)
- BUILT China
Jimmy Leslie has been Frets editor since 2016. See many Guitar Player- and Frets-related videos on his YouTube channel (opens in new tab), and learn about his acoustic/electric rock group at spirithustler.com (opens in new tab).