When it comes to the best parlor guitar, it’s hard to beat this nylon string offering from Cordoba. Check out our Cordoba C10 Parlor SP acoustic guitar review to see what this incredible guitar has to offer and whether it’s the right instrument for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Parlor Guitar
These guitars are largely associated with older musical styles, as they were popular in the 20s and 30s. The bigger, bolder sounds of early rock and bluegrass came later when larger guitar bodies became more popular.
Most modern parlor guitars feature steel strings and are geared toward blues and country players. The C10, though, is a classical guitar. Nylon string guitars perform well in classical music, flamenco, and jazz, but they aren’t widely used in more popular musical styles. Nylon string guitars are a bit less versatile, but you’ll need one if you want to play classical guitar or experiment with traditional Latin styles.
Since woods resonate differently, the choice of wood in a guitar will have a subtle effect on its tone. The rosewood used in the back and sides of the C10, for instance, produces a rich, warm tone across different registers as a result of its density. Other woods accent certain frequency ranges. For example, mahogany tends to produce fuller midrange tones, while Sapele, an African wood, has a noticeably strong low end.
Where Are Cordoba Guitars Made?
Cordoba makes some of its upper-end guitars at its factory in Spain. Most of the brand’s guitars, including the C10, originate from China. Don’t let the country of origin scare you away, though, as Cordoba takes great care to ensure the quality of its instruments.
The Cordoba C10 Parlor SP is a guitar that promises the best possible quality for the intermediate to the advanced acoustic guitar player. The C10 comes with a polyfoam case to protect it during transport or storage.
While its price point puts it a bit out of reach for some musicians, it’s hard to argue with the product you’ll get for your money. The Cordoba C10 SP could reasonably be considered as one of the best parlor guitars with nylon strings.
- Solid wood construction produces richer, warmer tones than cheaper laminate models
- Fan bracing for improved response
- 1920s-inspired aesthetics make this one of the most handsome parlor style guitars on the market
- Nylon string guitars are less versatile than steel string models
- More expensive than many parlor style guitars
- Lack of pickup makes direct amplification impossible
Features and Benefits
Neck and Body
The Cordoba C10 SP features a solid Indian rosewood body with a top made from solid European spruce. Together, these two kinds of wood give the guitar a warm and nicely balanced tone. The richness of solid wood adds both improved sustain and greater resonance, especially in an all-acoustic guitar like the C10.
The neck on the C10 is mahogany with an ebony fretboard. The mahogany neck adds additional strength in the midrange. With 19 frets, a slim neck profile, and a scale length of 25.6 inches, the C10 is perfectly suited to players who prefer a smaller and more comfortable guitar.
Inside, you’ll find the fan bracing that’s standard on almost all classical guitars. This bracing gives classical guitars more tonal response and allows them to project a greater volume.
As with the materials for the neck and body, Cordoba has selected only the best components for the C10. This guitar features a bone saddle and nut that provide good string stability while also being tough enough to last through years of playing. For tuners, Cordoba uses its own premium gold tuning machines. These tuners do an excellent job of holding the guitar’s nylon strings in tune.
Speaking of strings, Cordoba also selected Saverez high-tension nylon strings for the C10. While many manufacturers put less expensive strings on at the factory, Cordoba has done players a favor by using premium strings known for their bright, clear tone.
Sound and Tone
As one might expect from a guitar made largely from Indian rosewood, the Cordoba C10 Parlor SP Acoustic Guitar has a very warm tone. Both lows and highs are clearly defined, and the tone doesn’t seem to become either dull or tinny at any point. The highs are especially beautiful in this guitar and provide a bright, shimmering accent to an already impressive sound.
The Cordoba C10 SP is best suited to classical and Spanish flamenco styles, both of which it sounds as if it was made for. Surprisingly, this guitar has the projection and low-end strength needed for it to be passable in a jazz setting.
Action, Fit and Finish
When it comes to construction and finish, the Cordoba C10 SP’s quality is truly outstanding. The manufacturer takes great care in assembling the guitar, as it comes completely ready to play and with no discernible flaws or faults. The binding on this guitar is tight and seems ready to stand up to a long lifetime of use.
The C10 also looks the part of a truly premium guitar. The entire guitar is finished perfectly with a high gloss finish that appears to be completely free of blemishes. The builders have even carefully matched the pieces of rosewood used to create the back, producing a stunning visual effect. Capping off the guitar’s look is a mother of pearl rosette that, while subtle, still draws the eye nicely.
Reliability and Durability
The Cordoba C10 SP seems to be extremely durable. Thanks to its solid wood construction, we do not doubt that this guitar can stand up to even tough use by touring musicians. Quality components and attention to detail in construction make this a guitar that will perform reliably for years to come.
For all its strong points, the Cordoba C10 is no steal. This guitar isn’t cheap and was never meant to be. That said, it’s more than good enough to justify spending your hard-earned money on it.
The C10 is meant to be the best parlor guitar possible for classical guitarists, and it performs quite well on this count. The use of solid wood and the sheer attention to detail in its construction alone justify the price Cordoba asks for this high-quality instrument. You may have to save for a while to buy the C10, but the wait will be worthwhile.