Ortega R200 Classical Guitar Review

Ortega R200 Review
Image Credit – Ortega Guitars

If you’ve been searching for a Spanish-made classical guitar, the Ortega R200 might make your dreams come true.

Maybe you’re looking for an affordable upgrade or your first classical guitar (yay, welcome to the club!).

Either way, if you’re looking for a great classical guitar under $1000, this one might just take the cake.

Let’s figure out whether the Ortega R200 is the perfect classical guitar for you!

At a Glance…

✔️  What we like: An affordable, part-solid classical guitar that sounds like a solid-wood model

❌  What we don’t like: If the playability was slightly better it would be suitable for advanced players

Standout Features:

  • Spanish-heel construction
  • Solid North American cedar top
  • 12-Hole bridge
  • Gig Bag included

Our Verdict: The Ortega R200 is beautifully constructed with a lovely, warm tone. It has pretty good playability but it’s not quite an advanced model. All in all, it is a great student guitar at an affordable price point.

Who is the Ortega R200 Best Suited To?

Although the Ortega R200 is a classical flamenco style guitar, its cedar top gives it a much warmer sound than most flamenco guitars. So, I’d say the R200 would suit plenty of different playing styles, especially jazz.

Part solid guitars like this one are ideal for both beginner and intermediate students. You’ve probably heard me say this before but if you’re shopping for your kids, I recommend making sure they’re serious about learning before you splash the cash.

I mean, the last thing you want is for them to throw in the towel after you’ve invested in their hobby!

Features & Benefits

Body & Neck

Usually, I would shy away from flamenco style guitars at this price point because they need to be very well-crafted to be worth the money. However, I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for the Ortega R200. This guitar is a part-solid guitar (cedar top) with a beautiful inlaid rosette.

Oh, and it was made in Spain, which always gives me peace of mind when I’m ordering online for some reason. I just have faith that Spaniards always make amazing classical guitars!

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Should I spend this much money on a part-solid guitar?” or something along those lines, right? The thing is, when you’re spending under $1000 on a classical guitar, the chances of finding a completely solid model that sounds great are pretty slim. Just because a guitar is completely solid, doesn’t mean its good quality.

I’d recommend a fantastic quality part-solid over a poor-quality but completely solid classical guitar any day of the week! Because the top of the guitar is the part that sound filters through, having laminate backs and sides is a fine compromise for a beautiful sound.

In terms of build, I’m super impressed. The Ortega Traditional series is pretty great altogether, to be honest. All of the guitars are made with traditional Spanish techniques but they’re still relatively affordable. The R200 is made with Spanish heel construction which is pretty unheard of at this price point.

I think it makes the R200 sound much more like a solid-wood classical guitar!

Hardware

Let’s talk about this 12-hole bridge, shall we?

If you’re not sure what the difference between a 6 hole and a 12-hole bridge is, I’ll give you a quick explanation (I dare you to take a shot every time I say 12-hole bridge). The main difference between the two is, of course, the number of holes, meaning the strings are tied on to each bridge differently.

This doesn’t have much of an impact on sound but it does impact playability. Basically, 12-hole bridges give the strings a heck of a lot more tension. Paired with the Savarez 500CRJ strings, the tension is real, my friend.

Sound

Okay, let’s leave the 12-hole bridge behind and move onto how the Ortega R200 sounds. This is my favorite part! The reason I thought the Ortega R200 would suit a jazz player is that it has a great dynamic range. The low register is strong and bold, the mid register is nice and punchy, and the high-register rings out beautifully.

In terms of tone… Hang on, I’m speechless… Just kidding (kinda). This guy sounds unbelievably gorgeous for a guitar under $1000. It’s warm, mellow, and just all-round lovely. In fact, it almost sounds a bit harplike, if you know what I mean? Ultimately, the R200 gets five stars from me for sound.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid cedar top, Palo-Rojo back & sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: None
  • Bridge: Rosewood, 12-hole

An incredibly mellow, well-built classical guitar, perfect for students

Limitations

Now for my least favorite part. As much as I love this guitar, the Ortega R200 does have a few limitations. First of all, let’s return to the 12-hole bridge for a second because, as much as I love it, I know it might have beginners freaking out. Don’t worry, if you don’t want quite so much string tension, you can always ignore the extra holes and tie the strings the traditional 6-hole way.

Moving on, I would love it if the R200 had a raised fingerboard. I mean, that would be the cherry on top. Straight necks are to be expected with student guitars like these (especially traditional flamenco ones), so I’m not too mad about it; it just means the R200 doesn’t have the playability for advanced players.

Looking for an affordable advanced classical guitar? This one’s probably not for you but the Cordoba C12 might be!

Popular Questions about the Ortega R200

Can I Tie the Strings on the Ortega R200 Traditionally Instead?

Absolutely! You can reinstall the strings with the traditional 6-holes if you’d prefer. Don’t worry, having extra holes on your bridge won’t change the sound. If you don’t like playing with high-tension strings, you might want to swap the strings themselves out as well. Savarez 500CRJ’s are very high-tension strings so, if you’re a beginner, you might want to try some D’Addario EJ27N’s to start off with! They’re about $5 and are ideal for students.

What is a Spanish Heel Neck Joint?

Spanish Heel Construction is the most traditional way of crafting a classical guitar. It’s when the sides are joined to the neck first, and then the body of the guitar is built around the neck joint. This sort of construction doesn’t use glue to attach the neck to the body of the guitar and provides a much fuller sound. That’s why I think the R200 sounds like a solid-wood guitar!

Is the Ortega R200 Handmade?

Yes! All of the guitars in the Ortega Traditional series (including the R200) are handmade in Spain.

Could the Ortega R200 be Your Next Upgrade?

I have to say, I enjoyed reviewing this guitar. As I’ve said before, it’s not often I find a classical guitar with an incredible tone under $1000. Usually, you’d have to compromise on tone for great playability or vice versa and, although this guy isn’t quite a pro model, it’s a dream to play. The Ortega Traditional series is slowly becoming one of my favorite collections of classical guitars! So, could the Ortega R200 be your next upgrade?

Further Reading: