Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fender CD60CE NAT Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This post features an affordable Chinese-made cutaway dreadnought-sized acoustic-electric by FMIC. For a mere RM1000+, you get a very playable instrument in a free Fender form-fit OHSC. Mark my words, this guitar sounds great both unplugged and amplified. So, if this isn't a bargain, I don't know what is. This particular guitar is designated "NAT," meaning that the finish is natural gloss.

The top is laminated Spruce, the neck is solid Nato (with a dual action truss rod); while the back and sides are laminated Nato. Now Nato, although considerably cheaper, closely resembles Mahogany in terms of both looks and tone. As it's been a choice tonewood for the likes of Yamaha since the 70s, I believe that Fender has made a smart move by jumping onto the Nato bandwagon.

Meanwhile, the Rosewood fingerboard features a 25.3" scale length, 20 frets and smaller-than-usual white dot position inlays.The bridge is also made from Rosewood and features a compensated urea saddle plus white plastic bridge pins.

Now we get to one of the more interesting parts of this review: the preamp. The CD60CE comes with a Fishman Isys III System featuring a built-in chromatic tuner, volume control, plus active controls for bass, mid, and treble.A single 9V battery powers the preamp, and is housed in a neat box that also secures the output jack. As previously mentioned, this guitar sounds equally tasty with and without amplification, which speaks volumes about the transparency of the Fishman Isys III System.

The nut looks like it's made from the same material as the saddle (urea), and features carefully cut string slots with no excess material left hanging around, so to speak. Then there's the tuners, which are of the unbranded die cast chrome variety. Die cast or not, they have a smooth feel and adequate gear ratio.

If that's the case, one might ask, what's this fine instrument doing on my workbench? Well, folks, to begin with, the guitar came in strung with a set of electric 009s. You can imagine the wimpy tone produced with this setup, especially with an unwound G string. Acutely aware of the situation, the owner wanted them replaced with the lightest set of acoustic strings I could find. No problem, I restrung it with a 010-047 acoustic set manufactured by a Guangzhou-based company.

The second issue was that the bridge pins had to be pushed way down into the bridge to be adequately secure. This made removing them with a bridge pin puller virtually impossible. I could see various scuff and gouge marks, probably caused by pliers. If you look closely at the pictures, you'll notice that the D string bridge pin is the worst of the lot. It's almost completely buried in the wood. The solution was to slowly reduce the diameter of the bridge pin holes by building up thin layers of rosewood dust mixed with superglue. I'm glad to say that this approach worked like a charm. Now, the bridge pins are not only seated properly, but can also be easily removed without resorting to pliers.

The third and final issue was the almost non-existent output from the low E string when plugged in. Turns out the section of the piezo element beneath the low E was not making adequate contact with the underside of the saddle. Pulling out the piezo element and resetting its position solved the problem, thank goodness.

Fender CD-60CE Acoustic/Electric - Natural With Case - Long McQuade Musical Instruments

Fender CD60CE Cutaway Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar | Guitar Center


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