FENDER CD-60SCE-12 STRING DREADNAUGHT ACOUSTIC GUITAR
FENDER REVAMPS ITS CLASSIC DESIGN WITH UPGRADED FEATURES, NEW MODELS AND A DECENT AMOUNT OF LEFTYS. BY PETER HODGSON
Fender’s acoustic line has long been popular as an affordable, good quality option for budgetconscious acoustic players on a tone quest, and the Classic Design series has recently been introduced to give players the ultimate in wallet-friendly quality: there are eleven new models across the range plus various lefty options. Fender sent us four models to check out, and we’ll start with the CD60SCE-12 String Dreadnaught. New models launched in 2017 include the CC-60S in right and left handed versions (Mahogany back and sides, solid Spruce top dreadnought); the CC60SCE and righty and lefty (similar to the CC-60S but with a cutaway for better upper-fret access); the CC-140CSE (top-tier model with Rosewood back and sides, solid Spruce top and tortoiseshell pickguard); CD-60S in right and lefthanded (entrylevel dreadaught also available in CD-60SCE cutaway versions); CD-60SCE All-Mahogany (pretty easy to figure that one out from the model name); The CD-60SCE 12-string reviewed here; and top-tier CD-140SCE with solid Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides and a Fishman Presys preamp; CD-140SCE All-Mahogany (again, same specs but Mahogany back, sides and top); and the CD-140SCE 12-String. New models launched in 2017 include the CC-60S in right and left handed versions (Mahogany back and sides, solid Spruce top dreadnought); the CC60SCE and righty and lefty (similar to the CC-60S but with a cutaway for better upper-fret access); the CC-140CSE (top-tier model with Rosewood back and sides, solid Spruce top and tortoiseshell pickguard); CD-60S in right and lefthanded (entry-level dreadaught also available in CD60SCE cutaway versions); CD-60SCE All-Mahogany; The CD-60SCE 12-string reviewed here; and top-tier CD-140SCE with solid Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides and a Fishman Presys preamp; CD-140SCE AllMahogany (again, same specs but Mahogany back, sides and top); and the CD-140SCE 12-String.
12 REASONS WHY
This is actually the same basic guitar as the sixstring CD-60SCE, which means it has a solid Sitka Spruce top and solid Mahogany back and sides, and a smooth cutaway for upper-fret access – in fact it lets you get all the way up to the very highest fret with incredible ease. Upgrades as part of the CD line include a new black pickguard, mother-of-pearl acrylic rosette design, a new compensated bridge design for better intonation, white bridge pins with black dots, and smaller dot fingerboard inlays.
Perhaps the best upgrade found in this line though is the move to a new ‘Easy-to-Play’ neck shape, complemented by rolled fingerboard edges. Playability is important on any acoustic but especially so on a 12-string where you’re at the mercy of those extra strings and finger fatigue.
Other features include scalloped X bracing, a
20-fret Rosewood fingerboard, dual-action truss rod, die-cast tuners, Ivoroid nut, chrome hardware, Rosewood headstock veneer and a Fishman preamp and pickup system with tuner. It’s a pretty basic preamp - just volume, treble and bass controls - but it gets the job done.
It’s worth noting that the glossy finish of this model, combined with the comfortable neck and slightly sleeker dreadnaught outline compared to, say, a Martin, gives this guitar a definite modern feel. If you’re into acoustics that feel old, lived-in and earthy, this isn’t it (at least, not until you’ve played the hell out of it over many years).
GET REAL HIGH
The great test of any 12-string guitar is not how it performs on first-position cowboy chords, but how it handles barre chords or weird chord shapes higher up on the neck. Is your hand going to cramp? I’m happy to report that the Easy-to-Play neck does as advertised, and the factory setup is a dream to play from the first fret to the 20th. So you certainly don’t need to feel restricted to those first few frets. Having said that, if most of your playing happens down there at the open position you’ll find that even the notoriously 12-string-unfriendly standard F chord shape is easy to fret and hold.
As for the sound, this is a nice even-toned guitar, not too aggressive and not too sharp in the high end. The low end isn’t too boomy, which can be a problem with dreadnaughts sometimes, and the midrange feels a little scooped which allows individual notes to speak clearly within chords rather than mush together. It has a certain sweetness to the voicing which will work well in a wide variety of musical situations. The natural volume is reasonable, not mega-ultra loud but certainly loud enough to accompany powerful vocalists in an unplugged setting.