If you’re on the hunt for a fantastic new classical guitar then you may just have found it.
Maybe you’re looking for a great upgrade or maybe you’re looking for your very first guitar.
Either way, the Cordoba C5 could be the perfect model for under $500 for you!
Let’s find out.
At a Glance…
✔️ What we like: Well-crafted with a good balance of warmth and clarity
❌ What we don’t like: Doesn’t have enough volume to be concert-ready
- Solid cedar top
- Two-way truss rod
- Real bone nut and saddle
- Comes with a gig bag and clip-on tuner
- Hand-carved headstock
Our Verdict: The Cordoba C5 is a gorgeous student classical guitar. It has been really well crafted with great attention to detail (and we all know I love a bit of attention to detail). If you’re working with a budget of under $500, I’d say the Cordoba C5 is definitely a great option!
Who is the Cordoba C5 Best Suited To?
The Cordoba C5 would be the perfect classical guitar for any student. It would make either a lovely first model for a beginner or a great intermediate upgrade. I struggled to find any limitations with this guy, to be honest!
The C5 would make the perfect gift for any budding guitarist! In terms of style, the Cordoba C5 is pretty versatile. It has traditional Spanish construction (with fan bracing) with a classically crafted neck, so whether you’re a flamenco player or a classical student, you’d love this model!
Features & Benefits
Body & Neck
For a relatively affordable guitar, the Cordoba C5 is pretty impressive. I love its rustic feel thanks to its gorgeous exposed grain. We all know how much I love wood grain (please tell me I’m not the only one who gets excited over these things)!
Also, let’s talk about this beautiful rosette. When a classical guitar under $500 has a hand-inlaid rosette, you know it must be pretty special. Usually, in this price range, you wouldn’t see the attention to detail like this (but that’s Cordoba for ya – I’m a pretty big fan).
Of course, we’ve got a solid cedar top which is also lovely to see. To be honest, when it comes to classical guitars (even if you’re a beginner) a solid top really isn’t something you should pass up on. The response solid wood gives will help you feel the music – as corny as that may sound!
We’ve also got traditional Spanish fan bracing which, again, is great at this price point. If you like playing a bit of flamenco it’s going to give you a great growl! Even if you just want to stick to classical or folk music, you’ll love the response and sustain fan bracing gives you!
The Cordoba C5 also comes with an adjustable truss rod which is pretty exciting in this price range. Classical beginners tend to use a lower action to get the hang of using pressure on the strings However, as you progress you will probably have to heighten the action so it’s ideal that you can adjust it without having to upgrade or take a trip to the luthiers!
Alright, in this price range the hardware is usually the first to go. By that, I mean companies don’t tend to put much thought into the tuners, nuts, or saddles because they aren’t really on students’ radars. However, they’re definitely on mine! So, don’t worry, I’ve taken a pretty in-depth look.
First of all, the Cordoba C5 has a real bone nut and saddle which is pretty impressive. You don’t see that often on more affordable guitars! They work wonders for your sustain and overall tone. I mean, this may not be something you’re thinking about right now but as you progress to a more advanced level, you’re really going to notice the quality of craftsmanship!
Second of all, the tuners are Cordoba’s standard gold thunders and, if you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know I think they’re pretty good. They hold intonation very well, plus they look pretty (and that’s pretty important to me too)!
As you’d probably imagine, the Cordoba C5 is a gorgeous, mellow sounding guitar. Although, if you’ve read any of my student classical guitar reviews before you’ll know I never recommend models that are too warm sounding.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a soulful guitar but, when it comes to students, I think it’s important to get a good balance between warmth and clarity. Luckily, the Cordoba C5 has exactly that (I hope I built a bit of suspense there)!
Obviously, the solid cedar top gives this model its beautiful warmth but I think the real bone nut and saddle allow you to really punch out the notes. All in all, this is a lovely sounding classical guitar. I’m really impressed by the Cordoba C5!
- Body Material: Solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
- Pickups: None
- Bridge: Rosewood
Unfortunately, the Cordoba C5 does have a few limitations. I’m nitpicking a little bit here but in a perfect world, the model would have a little more volume. It doesn’t sound stifled by any means but it hasn’t got the best projection.
To be honest, if the one thing I don’t mind compromising on when it comes to student models is volume. At the end of the day, you will need your classical guitar mostly for practicing and for using in lessons, so loads of volume isn’t exactly necessary at this stage.
That’s the only real limitation I can think of when it comes to this guitar. I wouldn’t say the C5 is a concert-ready guitar but if that’s what you’re looking for you might have to up your budget slightly. Check out my roundup of the best classical guitars under $1000 for something with a little more oomph!
Popular Questions about the Cordoba C5
The Cordoba C5 has a glossy finish. Although it’s finished with a lacquer, the guitar doesn’t sound tinny or stifled at all! If you’re not a fan of the glossy finish, you can always get the Cordoba C5 SP instead, which has a natural (semi-matte) finish!
The Cordoba C5 is a part-solid classical guitar, meaning it has a solid top and laminate back and sides. This is pretty standard for guitars under $500 and is a great alternative to pricey solid wood guitars!
Yes! All classical guitars have nylon strings. If you’re looking for a steel-string guitar, you can check out our reviews of the best acoustic guitars here.
A Beautifully Crafted Student Guitar
Whether you were looking for your first classical guitar or a brilliant new upgrade, I hope I’ve helped you to decide whether this model is the right one for you.
The Cordoba C5 is a surprisingly well-crafted model considering its price tag so I’m sure it would make the right learner very happy.
Thanks to brands like Cordoba, anyone can bag themselves a beautiful new classical guitar!
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Fiona is a musician and writer. When she’s not working, she’s either playing the ukulele or finding another instrument to add to her collection.