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on August 26, 2012
I'm a few days in to my ownership of the Cordoba GK Studio Negra, and I'm feeling pretty good about it.

As noted in the specifications, this guitar has a solid European Spruce top, laminated rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck, and rosewood fingerboard. The neck is thinner and faster than a classical guitar, and feels almost as fast as an electric neck. Neck width is 50mm, which is narrower than a classical neck, but wider than the typical acoustic or "fusion" style nylon. I think this hits the sweet spot between comfort and having good string separation for fingerstyle playing. I also have a Fusion 14 model with a 48mm fingerboard width, which is a little tight for my tastes. The fingerboard joins the body at the 12th fret, and the cutaway allows for very easy access to the higher frets. A pair of nearly invisible golpeadors protect both sides of the soundhole.

The European spruce top appears unstained, and shows through the poly finish with a bright, touch-of-honey tone. The grain is a little irregular, very tight toward the center then variable toward the edges, with a hint of silking in spots. Keep in mind that even, tightly-grained European spruce is getting harder and harder find, and is usually reserved for top-end instruments in the several thousand-dollar range. The rosewood back and sides are stained rather darkly, still showing the grain of the wood, but providing a black-brown field of contrast to the lightly colored top that is quite attractive. The rosette is a simple design, which does not stand out in particular, but does not detract either. The gold tuners with black-relief "engravings" are rather stylish, and are tight and smooth, making for easy and reliable tuning.

Tonally, this instrument is good... real good... better than expected, enough to more than satisfy all but the fussiest of players. The low end is "darker" and more powerful than some of the cypress-backed instruments I tried. High ends were crisp, and everything in between seems about right. The Flamenco guitars are braced more lightly than classical guitars with the aim of providing a louder, more "percussive" tone than the more heavily braced classicals. This guitar certainly delivered on this premise.. rasgueado's sound like they should...crisp, punchy, and.. well, flamenco-ish. Surprisingly, the guitar has enough sustain and resonance to do a passable job with some classical repertoire. I think the instrument should perform quite well for a number of different genres, although some material may need a guitar with a softer touch than what this guitar possesses (and this folks, is the seed of "guitar acquisition syndrome". Google it).

The Fishman Presys pickup/preamp system installed on the Studio Negra seems like a pretty versatile arrangement. The system employs both an under-saddle pickup, which provides a bright, somewhat hard-edged sound, and an internal microphone, which renders a softer, warmers, but somewhat less distinct rendering of the guitar's acoustic tone. The presys system allows you to "blend" the undersaddle pickup with the microphone, allowing you to tailor the final output to your equipment, venue, and personal aesthetic. There is also a trim control on the inside of the preamp which permits adjustment of the microphone sensitivity. The built in notch filter allows you to cut frequencies that can contribute to feedback, and the three-band EQ gives you a little on-guitar control over tonal balance. The built in tuner, when activated, cuts output from the guitar, and is a useful tool. Although the output can sound fairly natural, I think it can benefit from the use of an acoustic modeling system to "naturalize" the tone a little more.

Downsides: Instrument needed a bit of setup, but the store broke this one out of the box for me, so that was to be expected. 15 minutes later, with a very minor truss rod adjustment and bridge-shaving, she was ready for action. Another issue, not uncommon in electro-acoustics, is a little body buzz from loose electronics. It's kind of a pain, but the elecronics can be secured in such a way that this is no longer an issue, and for the average Joe this is the kind of thing you'd leave to a technician.

Final note: I've noted a trend in these online reviews that there will always be someone who will pop up and tell people that these instruments are "not as good" (may also be expressed in less polite tones) as their $3K to $5K luthier instrument. Duh. It's a factory instrument, and is not as refined as a hand-crafted guitar. Comparison between the two is irrelevant. When comparing to factory instruments from some other manufacturers, the Studio Negra stands out. I tried out more than a few, the this guitar was, simply put, much better... and less expensive than about 80% of the other instruments I've tried.

Summary: As always, if you can, try before you buy. You need to make sure the guitar is a fit FOR YOU. If that is not possible, you can feel confident ordering this guitar. Cordoba has a good reputation in the industry, and they stand behind their product. This is my fourth guitar by them, and I've yet to have any serious issues.
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on May 10, 2013
I wanted to transition from my Martin steel string to try my hand at classical music. I first bought a traditional classic (wide neck) Cordoba for around $325 and then bought this model as an upgraded acoustic/electric. (This model has a thinner neck plus Fishman electronics like my Martin). The GK Negra plays like butter--in fact even easier than my $1,500 Martin. Doesn't get any easier to finger pick or strum your favorite songs/styles. I always do my homework (I own 13 guitars)---Amazon offered the best price over anybody--they even offered a 15% sales discount at the time with free shipping and no taxes. I literally saved about $150 less than everybody else. Perfect instrument if you are used to rock/electric acoustic but always wanted to try classical music. I dare you to find a better instrument for the price. In fact, I double dare you!
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on January 15, 2015
What more can I say about this guitar. It's is simply fantastic! Besides its beauty, the sound of it is so angelic. When I first got this, I spent more time just looking at the craftsmanship rather than actually playing it! I am a big fan of this specific guitar because it has a more robust or darker tone to it because of the dark wood. The contrast of the European Spruce, maple bindings, and Indian rosewoods sides/back makes everypart of the guitar just POP out. I have taken this out of my house already to a few places and people who have been playing guitars for 30 years plus have complimented on the beauty and sound of this guitar. I really do mean that this guitar is perfect for anyone. Even if your an acousitc player, the neck is not as thick and it feels he same. I went from owning a acoustic yamaha to owning this and it was worth the wait and money. The moment it i plugged into an amp, just wow... Using a fishman amp as well make it 100x more angelic that before. My favorite feature is the mic blend because you can here even the softest taps on the guitar from the amp and really adds to the flamenco feel of it! I recommend this guitar to anyone really. It almost looks like a custom guitar and not something made in mass production.
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on June 8, 2015
With more than 50 years of playing guitar, from the cheapest junk to some high-end instruments, this is one of the finest guitars I've ever played. Steel string acoustics are not in the cards for me anymore - old hands and arthritis problems.
Pros:
This is easy on the hands and I don't mean finger tips (although that is a plus as well) The action is low and doesn't require the strength of steel strings. No buzzing on the strings.
It is loud. Unless playing with a band there is little need for amplification.
It has the tone of a much more expensive guitar - hard to describe, something between steel and nylon.
The neck is just a little more narrow than a classical, therefore easy to go from steel to nylon and back with nary a problem.
I play jazz and it is beautiful for that, hence the tonal quality. Would be good for blues as well. Or even country. OK, just about anything.
Cons:
So far (about one month as of June 8, 2015) none.
This is the first guitar I've had (far too many to remember over the years) that I wouldn't change anything.
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on June 1, 2015
This guitar sounds and looks great, but make sure you know what you are buying. If you like classic guitars please think twice before buying this guitar. It sounds great, but if you have played classical guitars you know their is this deep bass that makes the guitar what it is. The problem I have with the gk studio negra is that the bass dies very fast, and ofcourse that is because it is more of a flamenco style guitar. Aside from that their is nothing else wrong with this guitar, it plays well but like I said in my opiñion lacks the rich bass. I would recomend you go to the store and try it before making a purchase, and please compare between the classic and listen to what I am saying to see if it is a problem for you.
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on April 6, 2016
I wanted to wait a bit before reviewing this guitar - this is the first guitar I've had since a cheapie guitar bought in Tijuana when I was 12 years old. I wanted a good guitar to learn on - something that would reward me for persisting and learning to play. But not a Martin or Taylor, and nylon string. This one is perfect. Great resonant sound, stays in tune once the strings adjust, just a really good guitar. Very rewarding to play. Mine came in great shape, perfect condition, ready to tune and play
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on January 22, 2015
I am a beginning guitar player (less than a year) and I had been playing only a Taylor GS mini mahogany steel string acoustic because the small size is easier for me to fret. That said, I wanted a nylon string guitar and wanted to begin stretching my hands for a full size guitar. I got this guitar here on Amazon just before Christmas 2014. It was on a huge sale and I am so glad I got it when I did. RIght now it is listed at $655.42 but I got mine for $500.02. It was listed at that time for $581.96 but there was a 17% off special....then add $16.99 shipping and you get my total purchase price. This guitar sounds beautiful right out of the box. I haven't even taken it for a set up. I have learned to play easy versions of Malaguena and Romanza and I am not really having a problem fingering the notes even though the neck is bigger than what I was used to. I highly recommend this guitar.....especially if the sale comes back!!!!
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on July 15, 2015
I have bought a Cordoba c5 ce and a Yamaha ntx700 which are great guitars , but this one is UNBELIVABLE
It plays so easy and is just a gift from heaven for Spanish or Classical guitar players. The only drawback is there is no strap button on the neck so you may have to buy one and install it. No big deal. In fact you can buy a strap with ties instead. Read some of the other reviews and make the right choice and buy this guitar. It is good for pros and beginners.
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on May 31, 2013
The nut and/or saddle on this guitar were not high enough and several notes on both the numbers 1 and 2 strings would not play. I am a new guitarist but have an experienced instructor. I showed him the guitar and he said he was very disappointed that Cordoba would not play every note for quality control before this guitar was sold. He told me to return it ASAP. Now, I will tell you, I live in a dry climate (Denver) but, I have humidifiers in the case at all times and if the guitar was not being played, it was in the case.
Aesthetically, I love the guitar. Beautiful wood and sound from the notes that did play correctly. The built in tuner works well. A real nice feature. I never plugged this guitar into an amp to see how that sounded.
Now for Amazon customer service: I contacted them on the evening I discovered the problem and told them I wanted to replace the guitar. To their credit, they sent me a replacement GK Studio Negra, free one day shipping. So far I love the new one, but am disappointed with quality control. One other concern: I believe this guitar came from Phoenix. I wonder how long it may have sat in a hot warehouse with no humidifier in the case, and could that have warped the guitar enough to make some notes unplayable? I will likely do a new review with an upgrade in rating after I've had the replacement for a few weeks/months.
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on April 7, 2014
I recently purchased the Cordoba GK Studio Negra. Wow, was I impressed with the great sound. I have played many mid to upper end flamenco guitars and this is right up there. I never thought you'd get this quality sound with this price guitar. Great Job Cordoba.

Jtferris
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