Pros: beautiful guitar to look at, beautiful sound, good volume and bass response
Cons: the wide neck can discourage playing
This is a review of the Manuel Rodriguez C-3 classical guitar made in Madrid Spain. A lot of people who collect guitars may have an interest in adding an authentic Spanish made classical guitar to their collection like myself or perhaps they have an interest performing with a classical guitar. It does seem the classical guitars from Spain get the most press.
Manuel Rodriguez guitars have been around since 1905 and they are a respected maker of guitars in Spain. The lower end models like the C-3 have the same dimensions as their high end models which run into the thousands of dollars.
The guitar itself is made of East Indian rosewood laminate back and sides and a Canadian cedar top. The top is beautiful to look at, a very high quality cedar top with a tight grain. The neck is sapele with an East Indian rosewood fingerboard. The nut and saddle are tusq graphite. The entire guitar has a thick gloss coat. The lower priced C-1 guitar has a satin finish but otherwise is identical and sells for 100 dollars less than the C-3 model.
The guitars quality is good. The only flaw on this guitar is a very small knot in the back of the neck that was filled with putty. It can't be felt while running a hand over it. The guitar also has putty to seal the very small wood pores in the rosewood. The overall finish of the guitar is VERY beautiful, it smells wonderful also when you open the case. The East Indian rosewood along with the thick gloss coat make for one impressive guitar.
What is unusual about most Spanish made classical guitars is that there are no fret dots or markers to orient a person as to where they are on the fingerboard while playing so it helps to have a good knowledge of the fretboard.
The guitar sounds very nice with standard classical strings. There are so many choices of strings to choose from with classical guitars just like a steel string guitar and they can affect the tone of guitar to a great degree. I would describe the tone of the guitar as dark sounding. The bass notes sound real nice and have very good volume. This makes the guitar sound really good for chords.
This is a full size guitar with a very wide neck as compared to a normal sized steel string acoustic. This wide neck makes it easier to pluck the strings. It's best to try the smaller 3/4 sized classicals before a purchase as the standard width of a neck for a full sized classical guitar may be to much for some people. The 1/2 sized classical models are also fun to play being about the same size as a steel string parlor guitar. However I would only recommend a classical guitar with a solid wood top as a purchase.
The smaller size of a classical guitars body makes them good for fingerstyle. However I'm not really into the classic style of playing and just strum it like a steel string guitar. Because the strings are nylon they are easier on the fingers than a standard steel string guitar.
Most of the better classical guitars from Spain start out at just over a grand but some makers like Manuel Rodriguez and a few others make them for a lot less money and they are still quality guitars. While I don't think this guitar can compete with a classical costing thousands it is a good entry level model for a person interested in a classical guitar.