While Fender is best known for their legendary electric guitars and basses, the company is no stranger to the world of acoustics, offering everything from a wide array of various ukulele models to the excellent entry level FA-100 and more. Today, we're taking a look at the CD-60, a dreadnought sized acoustic guitar that offers Fender's classic design aesthetics with quality construction, made to deliver great performance at a great price. While the CD-60 certainly won't replace your Martin or Taylor, the combination of price, build and sound quality make this the perfect "camp fire" guitar, an acoustic you won't be afraid to bring along on trips or a buddy's house.
While the $229 price tag might make some players out there a bit weary, the CD-60 doesn't look or feel like a cheap instrument. Boasting a laminated spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides, a 25.3" scale neck, 20 frets, rosewood fingerboard, scalloped X bracing, dual-action truss rod and sealed die-cast tuners, the CD-60 comes equipped with plenty of quality features not usually expected on guitars at this price range.
One of the first things that jumped out as soon as we had a chance to play the CD-60 was the amazing action; while many budget acoustics fall victim to less than optimal action that can't be fully corrected (making playing feel so rigid and stiff that they can make the instrument seem downright broken), the CD-60 is very comfortable on the fingers. This makes performing leads, pull-offs and other little finger tricks much cleaner and with less effort, an important aspect of a good guitar.
Aside from the initial re-tuning that is expected with a new set of strings, the tuning machines work great at keeping the instrument in tune and don't feel weak or stiff when used. The bridge pins also feel just as sturdy, although they were a bit tough to take out at first. Overall, the build of the entire guitar is solid with the inside in particular looking flawless. It's definitely a guitar that's built to last. The guitar’s polyurethane gloss finish is also surprisingly tough, able to absorb minor bumps and dings without any permanent damage to show for it.
The CD-60 comes in black, natural and sunburst finishes, and while it won't win any beauty awards, it does have a simple elegance to it that is definitely pleasing. And better still, the CD-60 also includes a hard-shell case at no extra cost, easily making this acoustic one of the best bang-for-your-buck guitars available. For a bit more cash, there is also the CD-60CE, an acoustic electric variant that of the CD-60.
While you won't be able to get concert-quality tone from the CD-60, its sound easily ranks among one of the best in its price range and even rivals that of acoustics that go for twice as much. The tone is full and rich, especially when strummed, possessing a unique character that should get better with age. With a good initial setup and a set of high quality strings, you can easily make the CD-60 sound downright impressive. Unfortunately, the CD-60 doesn't perform as well with finger-picking as it lacks a bit of definition and clarity of the individual notes that a higher quality acoustic can create. Overall, it's pretty amazing what Fender was able to deliver in terms of quality sound for less than $250.
Sure, no one is ever going to confuse the CD-60 for high-tier Martin or Taylor, but that’s not what this guitar was ever meant to be. But for those of you out there in the need for a great first guitar for a new player or worthy backup acoustic, you probably wont find a better value than the CD-60. With a quality build and an overall great sound, the CD-60 is a great indicator that you shouldn’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for a solid instrument. Definitely worth every penny!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What do you look for in a good backup or entry-level acoustic guitar?
Sound off in the comment section below!