Just bought this Cordoba Fusion 12 Maple guitar online, after weeks of deliberation trawling the Internet, and I have to say I'm really pleased with it. This is my first nylon strung guitar, and it represents a bit of a deviation for me as I've been playing only my two steel strung Harmony Sovereign guitars for the last 40 years.
I wanted a nylon strung guitar and nearly bought the classical style with wide fingerboard, but I am so glad I didn't, as the neck width of this Cordoba crossover is an easy transfer swap-over for me.
The guitar was very well packaged..... a large heavy duty outer box with an inner box inside. Inside that was yet another box, then the gig bag, and inside that a soft polythene foam bag with the guitar within.......ten out of ten for packing!
I was somewhat surprised when the guitar was eventually revealed as it appeared a lot smaller than the dreadnought size I am used to, but what a beauty!
Immaculately made and finished to perfection, with absolutely gorgeous flame figure on the solid maple sides and back. The wood purfling and sound hole inlays are beautifully executed, and there are mother of pearl or abalone inlays at the top of the headstock and side of the fingerboard to indicate fret positions. I immediately took a liking to the slightly smaller body size. The neck length un-capoed (325mm from nut to body) is just right for my reach (I'm just under 6'1", and my dreadnought guitars never feel quite at ease unless capoed at the second fret)..
The body size with a lower bout width of 370mm is very comfortable to hold in a variety of positions, the body cutaway gives easy access to high notes on the treble strings and upper harmonics, and the 48mm neck width at the nut with thin cross section is a delight to use, and so easy to play.
I was a little dubious about choosing a cutout style guitar, thinking this might adversely affect the tone or voice, but I needn't have worried, as the tone with the fitted Savarez strings is very sweet, super responsive, with good sustain and incredible acoustic volume that quite took me aback initially. The wire wound strings produce an exceptionally deep, rich, warm and powerful sound, not at all harsh or overly bright as can sometimes be expected from a spruce soundboard, but the trebles are perhaps a little thin tonally by comparison. I hope to improve on this by a string change later, but the sound sample on the Thomann website (a very neat feature I haven't come across elsewhere) doesn't do it justice, it's way better than that. Not yet tried the Fishman electronics through an amplifier, but through a headphone amp was very impressive with a range of controls available to vary tonal nuances. Not only does this guitar have a pickup under the bone bridge insert (the saddle), but there is also an internal microphone, and these two systems can be blended to preference using the Fishman panel controls.
This unit comes supplied with fitted PP3 battery and includes a tuner button which is a fantastically helpful feature, (particularly on a nylon strung guitar which I have found are very sensitive to temperature changes), giving you precise tuning, even for sharp notes, displaying a sharp or flat indication to guide you while tuning and shows the note letter. It is very sensitive, easier to use and much better than the clip-on type. An indespensible feature if you play with others or are into unusual tunings.
The top quality silver plated machine heads look good with their black knobs which have a slight texture and are smooth and positive in use, with little dead play.
The gig bag is a well made, good quality, weatherproof item, complete with a pair of backpack straps, and I was surprised to find an Allen key in the zipped front compartment. Looking into the sound hole I can see a socket for this, so yes, it's got a truss rod......yay!
Thomann didn't mention this in their Web description, and I nearly didn't buy this guitar because I thought it didn't have a truss rod. The included Cordoba owners manual states "All Cordoba guitars feature a two way truss rod", so the Thomann web description needs to be updated.
The action is set perfectly at the moment, so no adjustment needed, but it's good to know this is available as and when, and the neck balance with it is fine. There's also a lot of scope for lowering the saddle if needed. I'll need to learn to live with the "Spanish heel" though, aesthetically nice but rather vicious!
There were unfortunately a few faults with my guitar. One of the segments that form the LED tuner display positioned with the amplifier controls on the upper bout, failed to illuminate, and therefore the tuner didn't display properly.
The fret wire ends on my guitar were slightly exposed and a little sharp on the lower fretboard edge, and I could see the clip inside the guitar retaining the wiring was partly detached. I could detect a slight sympathetic buzz at some frequencies, I think caused by internal wires touching either themselves or the body, but all these minor problems would be easy to fix. I was somewhat gutted though when, less than a day after receiving it, Thomann decided these faults necessitated a return of the guitar. This was however very quickly organised by them with a pre-paid return label, and after I asked nicely they very kindly offered to despatch a replacement while the return was in transit.
I have to say a few words about this company.......I was somewhat hesitant about purchasing an item like this online, never mind from abroad, however the Thomann website, which really is in a class of its own, put me at ease, telling me this is a well oiled, slick, professional, and above all, caring company, run by people who are a real team, without the interdepartmental or customer care disconnect you often see elsewhere.
This has been born out in my dealings with them, as they are a delight to deal with, answering emails very promptly with absolutely no language barrier, and I would highly recommend them to anyone considering a guitar purchase. My only criticism would be they should have checked the goods more thoroughly before despatch, and this would have saved me a lot of heartache. These faults could have happened during transit though, with vibration and humidity changes, so maybe this criticism isn't fair.
They processed my order more or less immediately, gave me copious tracking and other information, and postage from Germany to North East Scotland was very quick, only 4 working days both times.
The replacement guitar wasn't packaged quite as well, as the heavy duty outer box was missing. It really needed this as the two box layers were punctured right through on delivery. Luckily the robust inner gig bag saved the day.
This guitar (which is made in China) also had a few minor defects. A small ugly scratch on the edging at the 12th fret, some light scuffing on the soundboard and a tiny piece of wood missing at the nut. The action wasn't quite as good, the fretboard unusually tapered down toward the sound hole after adjoining the body, (more visually upsetting than anything), the saddle wasn't properly formed (skewed underneath), and the fretboard ebony was streaky brown in places with light patches, unlike the first one which was uniform matte black. I notice much later the socket for the lead is drilled both off-centre and skewed. Both guitars strangely displayed heavy fret wear on the wire wound strings as recieved.
To be realistic you have to expect minor defects, nothing in life is perfect, and with hand made items in natural materials like wood, every piece is unique.
So in essence, I've had two of these guitars, both well constructed and visually stunning, easy to play and very good tonally, but slightly weak response on the trebles, mainly G string, and a few small defects due to either damage or lack of attention to detail.
The Thomann experience was excellent and I wold use them again without hesitation.