Guitar Shopping: A Visit To Cordoba Guitars

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

There is a certain rock star feeling one gets when visiting a manufacturer’s artist lounge or showroom. There is a shock and awe factor seeing the company’s finest in an almost museum-like setting. Generally, the room is designed to help persuade an artist to endorse their wares or entice a buyer to stock their guitars in their music stores. When you visit here, you’re respectfully attended to: Yes, this is a rock star moment.

The Santa Monica, California, headquarters for Cordoba Guitars has the spaciousness and clean lines one would expect from a high-end architecture firm or art gallery. Since other aspects of the business are run in the same building, the artist lounge here is in one large conference room. This room is elegantly appointed with a leather sofa, club chairs, classy hard wood furniture and, of course, guitars. The aroma of leather and wood creates an old-world ambiance that is befitting of the nylon sting guitars that create the majority of Cordoba’s line.

Another aspect of the room that becomes instantly apparent is the quiet. There will be no competing for volume, no wanna-be shredder amping up next to you, and no sequestering yourself in what is laughingly suppose to be a sound-proof room in the back of a music store. Sadly, there is also no hiding from poor technique and the ensuing sonic flubs when trying the various guitars.

Unlike a music store which offers selected models from various manufactures, a showroom tries to feature that single manufacturer’s entire line. Of course, this is not always possible as a guitar is sometimes needed to fill a gap in a trade show collection, some lucky artist falls in love with one of the display models and inks a deal, or a humble visiting writer nabs an instrument to review. But, generally the collection is complete.

So, in the case of Cordoba’s instruments, if you wanted to hear a certain guitar model with rosewood back and sides instead of the cypress, or with a 14-fret neck instead of a 12-fret one, the instruments are instantly accessible. Many of this manufacturer’s instruments feature electronics, so there is a top of the line acoustic amplifier present to allow a guitar’s pickup system to be auditioned. And, out of a remodeling necessity, a few cases are stashed in the corner, the only visual blemish in an otherwise flawless scenario.

Since the manufacturer is a wholesaler, and not a retailer, the showroom is not open to the public, nor are the display instruments themselves for sale. There is no street traffic so the attention one experiences is unwavering. The feeling is totally rock star; at least until you walk outside and find yourself once again back in the real world.

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