Gear Review: New Affordable Classical Guitars from Peavey

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

If you are looking to add a nylon string option to your guitar collection or just delving into classical playing, you’ll want to know about four new additions to the Peavey Electronics Delta Woods series: CNS-1, CNS-2, CNS-CE (cutaway, acoustic-electric), and CNS-¾. Each model offers some interesting features and won’t break the bank. In fact, the price point is pretty remarkable.

First, let’s talk about what these guitars have in common with one another. The CNS-1, CNS-2, CNS-¾, and the CNS-CE (which is a cutaway, acoustic-electric version), each offer classical styling with truss rods and some surprising appointments usually associated with more high-end instruments. CNS models start with a classical body shape, okume neck, and a laminated spruce top finished in Natural Gloss and the models vary with wood choice. On each model, the hand-carved body bracing and minimal finish promotes the natural rich tonal resonance of select tonewoods needed for nylon strings. With these models, Peavey promises players not only a high-quality build but also that great playability and durability that other guitars in the Delta Woods Series are known for. 

An interesting appointment seen on all models is the five-ply black-white purfling that offers an extra touch of sophistication to these very affordable CNS models. In case you didn’t know, purfling is the multi-ply contrasting strip that runs around the edge of the top and back of an acoustic instrument. As seen on violins, it is an old-world touch that typically serves a dual role: practical and aesthetic. Practically, it helps keep an instrument together, acting as a binder that can prevent cracks from developing as the wood surfaces shrink and expand with changes in the weather and humidity. Equally important is the purfling’s aesthetic effect. It quickly catches the eye, establishing the outline of the instrument, much like a frame or more traditional edge binding.

Where the CNS models differ is in wood choice for the back and sides, as the CNS-1 and CNS-3/4 use linden (basswood), and the CNS-2 and CNS-CE feature mahogany.  The CNS-1, CNS-2, and CNS-CE are identical in body length and depth, measuring 19 inches long and 4.5 inches deep, with a 25.5-inch scale length and generous two-inch nut width. The naming of the smaller-framed CNS-3/4 offers a clue to its difference. Its three-quarter body size has unique measurements of a 22.83-inch scale length and smaller 1.89-inch nut width.

Another difference can be seen in the standout model for performing players, Peavey’s CNS-CE, the cutaway and acoustic-electric of the group. The CE features a three-band EQ and presence control for accurate tone-shaping and easy connection to any amplifier or larger sound system. An onboard chromatic tuner helps ensure the guitar’s proper intonation at all times. 

With the CNS models, Peavey has taken steps to ensure durability and performance. Built with a solid okume neck, stability and neck adjustment are supported by the inclusion of a dual-action truss rod not commonly used in nylon string guitars. The neck’s traditional C-shape, flat radius, and 19-fret composite fingerboard provide a familiar feel for classical-style players, and a comfortable surface for guitarists crossing over to nylon strings. The neck design is complemented by the reliable ABS nut and saddle with a walnut bridge. At the slotted headstock, gold tuning machines, appointed with mica buttons, ensure tuning stability. Strap buttons are included on each model to accommodate playing comfort and convenience. 

While Peavey’s Delta Woods Series debuted with traditional dreadnoughts, the introduction of these new Classical Nylon String models provides players several nylon options from which to choose at a notably low price just around the $200 mark and only slightly more with electronics.

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