Fender doesn’t feel synonymous with acoustic guitars. When you hear the name Fender, most people think of their range of electric guitars. But Fender has been producing acoustic guitars for around 60 years. So how do they measure up? In this Fender CD 60SCE review we’ll take a look at Fender’s beginner to mid-range guitar. We’ll principally focus on the mahogany version but the guitar is also available with a solid spruce top. Ready to find out more? Let’s get started.
Background to Fender Acoustic Guitars
Having made a name for themselves with their range of electric guitars, Fender started to produce acoustic guitars in the 1960’s. The beach lifestyle was taking off in California and Fender wanted to break away from the traditional image of suited men playing the acoustic guitar.
They saw a gap in the market for a guitar that you could throw into a van and pull out around a campfire. Leo Fender was approached by an ex Rickenbacker designer, Roger Rossmeisl, who told Fender that he was going to work for him. Impressed by Rossmeisl’s self-confidence, Fender put him to work.
The first Fender acoustic guitars appeared in 1963, featuring flat tops they were very popular. In 1964 Fender opened a dedicated facility for manufacturing acoustic guitars. Throughout the 60’s dozens of model were produced, including Rossmeisl’s wild wood series, which featured dyed wood and came in a variety of colors.
Fender acoustic guitars have been used by big names such as Johnny Cash, George Jones and Elvis over the years. Interest in acoustic guitars waned over the 1970’s. In the 1980’s Fender survived a scare to be driven forward by it’s electric guitars.
In the 1990’s Fender breathed fresh life into it’s acoustic guitars with the release of the California, Gemini and F-Series’. Their popularity continued and at the turn of the century Fender began seriously producing mandolins and ukuleles too.
Overview of the CD60 SCE
The CD60 is one of the S series of guitars. The C denotes that the guitar has a cut-away and the E denotes that it’s electro-acoustic. The CD60 SCE is a full scale guitar at 25.3 inches. The back and sides of the guitar are made of laminate wood, rather than solid wood. That goes for both the mahogany and spruce versions of the guitar. The top of the guitar is however solid wood, producing better resonance. The guitar’s body is finished with gloss.
The mahogany gives warm and rich sounds but still has a clear top end. The resonance is further improved by the scalloped X bracing, which is something usually only found in higher end guitars. The dreadnought shape further bolsters the tone and resonance.
The neck and fret-board is designed for ease of playing with rolled fret-board edges and a gloss urethane finish to the neck. Pearloid inlays appear at the standard frets. Speaking of frets, there are 20 of them. The frets are “vintage” size. Effectively that means they’re pretty small. That means it’s much more comfortable for playing chords, but if you want to bend the strings to any sort of degree it’ll be a bit tougher to do so. That’s probably not that much of a problem for most acoustic guitarists.
The fingerboard is made from walnut on the mahogany version, reinforcing those deep, rich and warm tones. On the spruce top model it’s made from rosewood. It’s the same story with the bridge, walnut on the mahogany version and rosewood on the spruce top version. There’s not too much difference here, both are tough enough to do the bridge’s job. The nut is made from plastic rather than bone, but that’s to be expected for a guitar at this price point.
The tuning machines are chrome die cast and appear to work quite well. They’re not top end, but it’s not a top end guitar and they’re definitely functional and will help the guitar to hold it’s tune as far as is possible. The guitar comes with a set of Fender Dura Tone 80/20 bronze light strings fitted. They’re pretty good, but of course you might want to swap these out for your favorite brand and/or gauge.
The guitar is electro-acoustic and so comes with a Fishman CD pre-amp, which includes volume, bass and treble controls. There’s also an in-built tuner, which is a handy little feature. The pre-amp and tuner is powered by a 9 volt battery, which is housed close to the 1/4 inch output jack. The pre-amp is pretty good and sounds clear when plugged in. Of course the output will also depend on the amp or sound system that the guitar is plugged in to.
Pre-mounted strap anchor points saves you the headache of having a second anchor point fitted. Overall the guitar is well set up for beginners with a good low action to make fretting easier. It appears that Fender has made genuine attempts to set these guitars up so they’re good to play straight out of the box. However you still might want to have the guitar set up by a professional. That’ll depend on personal preference. The guitar will also suit the intermediate player or the pro who wants a decent backup guitar.
- Fantastic resonance thanks to design
- Integrated tuner
- Low action – great for beginners
- Laminated back and sides
- Plastic nut instead of bone
The CD60 SCE is well built, using middling to decent materials. The solid top combined with the scalloped x-bracing is great for resonance. The laminated back and sides is testament to where this guitar sits price-wise. It’s a good choice for beginners for a number of reasons. It’s designed in a way that makes it beginner friendly to play. The materials are good without being too good, which would surely push it out of the price range of most beginners. If you’re a beginner and opt for the CD 60SCE, you won’t need to replace it for a long time.
If you’re an intermediate guitarist this could still be a viable option for you. It’s a great guitar for the price, so if you need to upgrade from a really cheap starter guitar but don’t have a ton of money to drop on a high end guitar, this could work for you. Not sure you need an electro-acoustic guitar? Check out my Epiphone DR 100 review for a purely acoustic guitar suitable for beginners.
I hope you’ve found this review useful. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Please share this review with anyone you think might find it useful. As always, happy strumming!
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