Acoustic guitars are awesome. You can take them anywhere, and—let’s face it—people are impressed when you know how to play them.
But if you’re searching for one to buy on your own, you can run into some common questions:
- What should I pay?
- What brand should I buy?
- Is this model a good one?
- Why do they cost so much?
- What should I look for in an acoustic guitar?
I feel your pain. That’s why I’m doing this review of the Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic Guitar and bundle.
You don’t have to be an expert to find good acoustic guitars under $500. Read on to discover the features of the guitar, what it can do for you, customer reviews, and if this guitar is recommended.
About the Fender CD-60SCE
The Fender acoustic guitar bundle comes with the guitar, gig bag, clip-on tuner, strap, extra strings, instructional DVD, and polishing cloth. Fender tries to provide you with everything you need to start playing right away whether you’re a total beginner or intermediate player.
When Fender makes a guitar, you can expect it to be of good quality. Fender is legendary in the guitar-building world. Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen are a few of the famous guitarist that trusted Fender’s quality.
While this acoustic guitar is not one played by those rock stars, the CD-60SCE comes with several key features.
Single Cutaway Body Style
The dreadnought cutaway shape near where the neck connects to the body allows the guitarist to finger on the fretboard higher in pitch. This is common for lead playing (solo playing), but not as necessary for rhythm guitar (strumming chords in the background).
This feature—while useful—is not needed for beginner guitarists, but you can grow into it as your skill increases.
Fishman Low Profile Pickup and Preamp
The Fishman electronics system gives you the potential to plug your acoustic into an amp for a bigger sound. The small size of the pickup and controls don’t detract from the natural acoustic look of the guitar.
Solid Spruce Top
Spruce is the most common wood used in guitar tops. It lasts a long time, has a bright, clear sound, and sounds well with chords and solo playing. This is the king of versatile wood.
Mahogany Back and Sides
The back and sides don’t affect the sound as much, but the mahogany wood gives it a nice look that is still durable.
Easy-to-Play Neck with Rolled Fingerboard
The neck width is largely a matter of preference. Too wide and your hand gets tired but too close and your fingers block each other while playing chords.
The rolled fingerboard is nice. Many beginning guitarists have issues with their fingering hand; Fender tries to help this by getting the edges of the fingerboard out of the way to remove some discomfort.
Playing the Fender CD-60SCE Experience
Fender has built in all of these features, but do they pull it off? We checked it out and talked to others who’ve used it too. Here is what we found:
- The sound from the Spruce top is top-notch. Whether you’re strumming, fingerpicking, or playing lead, the guitar has a bright, clean sound.
- The dreadnought shape allows you to play close up the fingerboard without running into the body. Sometimes a dreadnought shape sacrifices some resonance in the sound but not in this case.
- The mahogany sides look nice but don’t do anything to add to the bass sounds like a richer wood could.
- The action of strings (how high off the fingerboard the strings are) is good enough. If you’re a beginner, you may wish the action was a bit lower, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you stick with it.
- The rolled fingerboard and neck width are actually a favorite feature of this acoustic. It’s very comfortable to hold.
- The Fishman low profile pickup/preamp system is nothing to jump up and down over. The pickup sounds fine when plugged in, but the preamp system has limited options for anyone looking to fine tune their sound.
What We Liked and What We Disliked About the Fender CD-60SCE
I took user reviews and combined them with my own expert opinion into a quick pros and cons list for you to refer to as you think about whether you want to purchase this acoustic guitar.
- The bundle is great and affordable
- The neck is comfortable to finger
- Switches from strumming to fingerpicking easily
- Bright sound
- Low string action
- Saddle and nut can come loose
- Pickup system only OK
After reading a lot of customer reviews at online retailer’s sites, here are some of my findings:
- This guitar is great for beginners. It has a great sound, feel, and it stays in tune. Often, lower-priced guitars don’t hold their pitch well, but that isn’t the case with the CD-60SCE.
- The neck and the rolled-edges make this guitar comfortable to hold which is important, especially when starting out.
- As a starter guitar, it doesn’t get much better than this. Most customers felt that it was well worth the price they paid.
- This guitar was often purchased as a gift for teenage kids or adult friends who had not played before.
It’s hard to find playable acoustic guitars under $500, but Fender has produced a good one. They’ve found a great cross-section of quality and affordability.
While anyone who bought this guitar should be happy with the value, this guitar is really for beginners and intermediate players. It doesn’t shine with any particular playing style, but it still plays well overall.
The pickup system is nothing special, but you don’t need that unless you play at least semi-professionally. It’s easy-to-play neck and clear sound make it perfect for those who are easily frustrated by how a guitar feels.
With all that comes in this bundle and the consistent good sound, beginners can trust that this guitar can help them get started. As you grow in skill, this guitar will still match your level.
If you’re already an intermediate or expert level guitar player but you still want an affordable, high-quality acoustic guitar, you may want to consider the CD-140SCE. For more money, you get rosewood sides, tusk nuts and saddle, and an upgraded pickup/preamp system.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate looking for an affordable acoustic guitar, buy this!