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Phil O'Keefe

NGD and mini-review - Fender CN-60S nylon string

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Rather than continuing to sidetrack the other thread, I thought I’d start one specifically for my new nylon string, which was purchased direct from Fender. Retail price in the USA for the Fender CN-60S is $199.00.

The Fender CN-60S is available in two colors - black, and natural. I opted for natural.

It arrived a few days ago, and I waited a bit before I took it out of the cardboard box - which I hit rather liberally with bleach and water solution as soon as it arrived, and let sit for a day before opening it up. Such are the precautions we all need to take during the current coronavirus pandemic. Stay safe everyone!

It's actually nicer than I was expecting. The CN-60S is made in Indonesia. It has a mahogany neck with a 12" radius and is 1.69" wide at the plastic nut. It has a 25.3" scale length, and eighteen frets, and the neck meets the body at the 12th fret. It has decent looking laminated mahogany back and sides. Unlike many classical guitars, it came with a pair of strap buttons pre-installed. There is a pearloid  rosette around the soundhole, and a solid spruce top which has scalloped X bracing underneath. The gloss finish - apparently urethane - is well applied. The fingerboard has black binding on the sides with side dots on it, but there are no position marker inlays on the board itself. I've seen pictures of some Fender CN-60S guitars with small dot inlays, and I think it looks more appropriate without them. Those may have been used on an earlier version of the same model - apparently earlier versions of the CN-60S featured a rosewood fretboard. The fingerboard on mine has slightly rolled edges, which I think are quite nice - I've played some recent MIM Fenders that had rather sharp edges, which I didn't care for that much. The fretboard and bridge plate are walnut that appears to have a fairly dark stain on it. The bridge itself is uncompensated. There's a tiny bit of goop (or something...it’s kind of shiny looking) on the bridge plate, but that's the only cosmetic flaw that I've noticed so far.

The tuners are typical looking classical style units with open gears and amber colored plastic buttons. The strings stay in tune for a while, then tend to slip and stretch - especially on the unwound strings, and particularly if you leave the guitar unplayed for a while - which in my experience is fairly typical nylon string behavior, especially when they're new. The neck profile has a bit of that typical "squared off" classical shape, but it's actually quite comfortable for a nylon-string in my opinion and is pretty much just what I was looking for. I have short fingers so I specifically wanted a nylon string guitar that had a narrower than normal neck. Personally I don't think it's too narrow, although a person with larger hands or a lot of classical background might think otherwise. 

The tone isn't going to give Ramirez any sleepless nights, but it's fine for what I'm looking for, with more bass response than I was expecting from the concert-sized body. It’s reasonably balanced and will probably record well, which is an important consideration for me. The action and setup were both good, right out of the box. 

All in all, the Fender CN-60S is a nice little nylon string for $199, and certainly it would be more than sufficient for someone to learn how to play on, with the only real drawback being that they'd have to learn how to tune their guitar pretty darned quickly... but that's going to probably hold true for any nylon string, since they tend to go out of tune easier than steel strings do, especially when the strings are brand-new. 

I need to track down a case that will work for it. Fender makes a model that they recommend, which “streets” for around $115.00.

Pictures below. Click on the smaller ones to view larger versions of them.

Please feel free to ask any questions if I left anything out that you’re curious about. Thanks for reading my little mini-review of the Fender CN-60S nylon string guitar!
 

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Thanks for the review, Phil. It's a nice looking guitar. As I mentioned before I would find a neck width of 43 mm too narrow for nylon strings but for many people more accustomed to playing steel string guitars the Fender could well be a good option. 

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1 hour ago, garthman said:

Thanks for the review, Phil. It's a nice looking guitar. As I mentioned before I would find a neck width of 43 mm too narrow for nylon strings but for many people more accustomed to playing steel string guitars the Fender could well be a good option. 

I agree with you garthman... the narrower neck isn't going to be for everyone. 

Another consideration that might be an issue for some people is that it has no onboard electronics. Not a huge deal for me, but if you needed to use it with an amp, you'd have to add electronics to it. Probably the easiest way to do that would be with the Kremona KNA NG-1, which costs $69.

 

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NG1--kna-ng-1-detachable-nylon-string-guitar-pickup

 

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The thing is, between the $69 for the KNA NG-1 pickup and the $115 for the Fender multi-fit case that is the recommended match for the CN-60S guitar, you'll be spending nearly as much on the accessories as you will for the guitar itself. But I think I'm going to end up wanting / getting both accessories for it sooner rather than later. 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/0996224306--fender-classical-folk-guitar-multi-fit-hardshell-case-black-with-black-plush-interior

 

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1-11/16" is narrow but as a cross-over it should get some attention from people looking to expand into nylon without having to re-vamp muscle memory. Or, as mentioned, as an easier first step into playing guitar. I gave a Yamaha cross-over to one of my sons, that is similar to the Fender in neck geometry and dimensions, and it gave him the entry level ease he needed. And it certainly looks the part (uncharacteristic of Fender). I'm kind of surprised Fender would bow to a more traditional representation.

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13 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

The thing is, between the $69 for the KNA NG-1 pickup and the $115 for the Fender multi-fit case that is the recommended match for the CN-60S guitar, you'll be spending nearly as much on the accessories as you will for the guitar itself. But I think I'm going to end up wanting / getting both accessories for it sooner rather than later. 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/0996224306--fender-classical-folk-guitar-multi-fit-hardshell-case-black-with-black-plush-interior

 

I'd go for a well-padded gig bag type case. A 3rd of the price but fine.

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Congrat's Mr Phil! 

 

I thought about getting a classical too before deciding to go for a ukulele, finally!

It looks good! Have fun!

 

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2 hours ago, Misha said:

Congrat's Mr Phil! 

 

I thought about getting a classical too before deciding to go for a ukulele, finally!

It looks good! Have fun!

 

 

Thanks!

I still want to get a ukulele eventually too - either a tenor or a baritone - something with a bit longer scale length than the smaller ones. :)

What uke did you end up getting? 

 

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2 hours ago, garthman said:

I'd go for a well-padded gig bag type case. A 3rd of the price but fine.

 

I really prefer hard shell cases. Bags are fine for some things, but I generally like the added protection you get from something a bit more substantial. 

 

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That neck width would be fine for me.

 

I believe what Fender was thinking when they put this out is, it's decent student guitar for someone that might want to play standard acoustic guitar or electric down the road. The nylon strings are a bit easier on the fingers. Especially for starting students.

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15 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

Thanks!

I still want to get a ukulele eventually too - either a tenor or a baritone - something with a bit longer scale length than the smaller ones. :)

What uke did you end up getting? 

 

I kept the Makala (by Kala) MK-CE (concert) and also got a Makala-MK-TE (tenor). Both play very well, they sound good, they have a very good neck, nice low action, no buzzes. 

However, the MK-CE looks much better. The wood seems much nicer. At this price point, I guess it is normal to expect that they are not as nice from one to another! 

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At the last NAMM show they had some cute little tenor ukes that looked like Gibson Hummingbirds at the Epiphone booth. I've been tempted to order one ever since... at ~$199, they're priced the same as the Fender classical. To me, that's like buying a decent effects pedal - IOW, not really that big of a deal. If it works out and is a half-way decent instrument, then it's not too extravagant. But I really don't think I'd want to pay much more than that for a uke. 

 

750-EUHTFCNH_front.jpg.auto.webp

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EUHTFCNH--epiphone-hummingbird-tenor-ukulele-faded-cherry

 

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53 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

At the last NAMM show they had some cute little tenor ukes that looked like Gibson Hummingbirds at the Epiphone booth. I've been tempted to order one ever since... at ~$199, they're priced the same as the Fender classical. To me, that's like buying a decent effects pedal - IOW, not really that big of a deal. If it works out and is a half-way decent instrument, then it's not too extravagant. But I really don't think I'd want to pay much more than that for a uke. 

 

750-EUHTFCNH_front.jpg.auto.webp

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EUHTFCNH--epiphone-hummingbird-tenor-ukulele-faded-cherry

 

I was tempted by this one too before I went the Makala. I read good reviews! 

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2 hours ago, Misha said:

I was tempted by this one too before I went the Makala. I read good reviews! 

Good to know - thanks! I didn't actually even get a chance to try playing one at NAMM - I just saw it in my camera lens, took a shot or two and moved on since I had too much to try to cover and too little time at NAMM this time around. 

 

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On 4/4/2020 at 6:35 AM, Mikeo said:

That neck width would be fine for me.

 

I believe what Fender was thinking when they put this out is, it's decent student guitar for someone that might want to play standard acoustic guitar or electric down the road. The nylon strings are a bit easier on the fingers. Especially for starting students.

Nylon strings are definitely easier on the fingers than even the lightest acoustic steel string gauges, and that can take away one of the things that sometimes discourages new students - the "it hurts my fingers!" complaint. 

My only concern as far as that goes is the fact that nylon strings tend to have less tuning stability than steel strings do - especially when they're new. However, now that I've played them in a bit, I can report that the tuning stability on the Fender CN-60S is about as good as any other nylon string guitar I've ever played, and the strings are staying in tune reasonably well now. Still, if I was instructing a beginner who opted for a nylon string guitar, the very first thing I'd do is to make sure they had a good tuner (or a decent tuner app for their smart phone) and teach them how to use it - and the importance of using it regularly. 

 

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4 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

Nylon strings are definitely easier on the fingers than even the lightest acoustic steel string gauges, and that can take away one of the things that sometimes discourages new students - the "it hurts my fingers!" complaint. 

My only concern as far as that goes is the fact that nylon strings tend to have less tuning stability than steel strings do - especially when they're new. However, now that I've played them in a bit, I can report that the tuning stability on the Fender CN-60S is about as good as any other nylon string guitar I've ever played, and the strings are staying in tune reasonably well now. Still, if I was instructing a beginner who opted for a nylon string guitar, the very first thing I'd do is to make sure they had a good tuner (or a decent tuner app for their smart phone) and teach them how to use it - and the importance of using it regularly. 

 

 

I would definitely recommend nylon strings for a beginner. They do produce callouses over time but you don't get the deep grooves caused (mainly) by the plain steel trebles of acoustic strings.

And, although they do take longer to stabilize - often up to a week - I find then that they are as stable as steel strings, if not more so.

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