Guitar Review: Cordoba Acero D10-ce

img_0467-1Quality and value: these are two traits that any consumer wants coupled together when considering a purchase. Sometimes this combo is elusive, but in today’s guitar market these two qualities are the norm in this “golden age” of modern lutherie.  In fact, you have to be most unlucky to buy a “lemon” of a guitar. So, I come to this review of the Cordoba Acero D10-ce, a guitar that fully embodies both quality and value in an all sold wood import package.

The Cordoba Acero line is steel string acoustic guitar made by a company known for manufacturing classical guitars. Their Acero (meaning “steel”) line takes classical guitar construction concepts and applies them to steel string guitars. Basically, there are two primary construction aspects which would differentiate the Aceros from the vast majority of steel string acoustic guitars (Cole Clark being the notable exception). First, this guitar — regarding the neck — has a Spanish heel construction where the neck is incorporated into the body of the guitar, rather than the neck being added to the body via a dovetail, or bolt-on joining of the neck to the body of the guitar. Second, the bracing of the Aceros is far closer to that of a classical guitar — there is a fan bracing modification to the typical steel string acoustic guitars’ bracing.

img_0470I recently purchased my second Acero dreadnought guitar from Calido Guitars in Texas. The first was an Acero D11-ce delivered July, 2015 (also reviewed).  Last month I purchased an Acero D10-ce, which is a cutaway model.  The D10 differs from the D11 in terms of woods. The D10 has a solid Engleman spruce top with solid rosewood back and sides — a more traditional dreadnought pairing of woods. The lower bout is 15.75 inches in width. The nutwidth is 1.8 inches — a bit broad, and a nod to Cordoba’s classical background.  The trim is of rosewood, and the fretboard is of ebony. The simple rosette comes from acacia wood. The woods in tandem with the construction techniques produces one powerful guitar!  The volume can be bold with an aggressive use of the pick, but a light touch produces a sweeter, delicate voice. Sustain is the second noticeable attribute — the top is alive and holds out the note or chord longer than many guitars. Further, the tonal quality of an Acero has a “texture” — there is wave and particle to sound, and the particle seems palpable to the ear. This quality is truly unique, and is perhaps possessed by a Cole Clark guitar as well.

The D10-ce comes with a combination of under saddle piezo pick-up as well as an internal microphone.  The controls of volume, tone, and blend for mic and piezo appear on the base side of the upper bout.  Engleman spruce adds a clarity, or focus (to my ear) that Sitka spruce might not give to the guitar’s tone.  This adds to the clarity and punch of rosewood.  Together, the guitar has a focus of tone that pulls together with the volume and boldness put forward by the unique construction.

img_0474Unfortunately, in December of last year, Cordoba discontinued the dreadnought body in its Acero line. Now, only parlor sized bodies are available in the North American market. There are a few D10-ces available online at reverb.com and ebay.com, but quite a few of its sisters the D11e and D11-ce (Sitka spruce teamed with acacai), and D9s (spruce teamed with magogany) can be found. If you find a new one, or great used one, snatch it up! I should launch a protest to Cordoba about their corporate decision — maybe a musical or Hollywood celebrity will take up my cause!
Keep on playing!
Fr. Irenaeus



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