Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Which Should You Buy?

When it comes to making classical guitars, only a few do it as well as Cordoba does it. Today, our review will be between the Cordoba C5 Vs C3M. Come along, let’s find out which would tip the edge for you? Why don’t we find out?

Before we move on, it’s important to know that this “competition” is not to find which of these guitars is bad and which is good as both of these guitars are good. With over two decades in the business of making guitars, the wealth of experience Cordoba has is what enables them make some of the best guitars around.

That said, if you do not have the time to read through the full article, here’s a brief summary of the key points in the article:

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Comparison Overview

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M- Differences

We’re looking at Cordoba C5 Vs C3M. While the C3M is a single guitar type, the C5 is available in two different types. The C5 is available in a purely acoustic version, as well as, an electric acoustic version. This is the first major difference between these two in comparison today.

The electric acoustic C5 makes use of a Fishman Isys pick-up. It also comes with an onboard tuner.

The other unique feature that separates these two is the finish used in each of them. So, the C5 guitars have a high-gloss polyurethane (PU) finish, while the C3M has a satin finish. If you love your guitars glossier, pick up the C5. If you don’t like too much gloss, pick up the C3m.

What Are The Similarities Between The Cordoba C5 And C3M?

The first major similarity is that they both have a cedar top. Cedar tops have been known to create a warm, full sound. Check through the article to find a video to hear the sound.

Another similarity between them is the wood used to make the back and sides. Both these guitars have their back and sides made with Mahogany. Mahogany focuses on the treble and the bass of the guitar, creates tone coloration, and produces a warmer sound.

They are both full-sized guitars, each possessing 19 frets. 19 frets should be more than enough to run any scale, right?

Although they are full-sized, these are lightweight. We explained the details of why they’re so lightweight below, so, you can check that out. However, it has something to do with the strings used in making the guitars. Which brings us to the next similarity:

They are made with nylon strings. Nylon strings are a little less hostile on your fingertips, if you’re a new player. Also, nylon doesn’t rust, neither does it break as easily as steel does. However, be warned that nylon gets easily affected by humidity.

With that said, you can scroll through the article to find the videos with the different guitars just so you can hear what they sound like. That’s the ultimate reason you would get one or the other, isn’t it? Good luck.

Comparison Table – Specs And Features Of The Cordoba C5 Vs C3M

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M



Cedar top

Cedar top

Mahogany back and sides

Mahogany back and sides

High Gloss PU finish

Satin finish

Rosewood fretboard/fingerboard

Rosewood fretboard/fingerboard

19 frets

19 frets

Nylon strings

Nylon strings

4mm wide neck

4mm wide neck

There are two guitars in the C5 series, each selling in one package. The package includes the guitar, a gig bag, and other accessories.

The Cordoba C3m is available for sale in one package. This package includes the guitar, a gig bag (or a hard case), and a tuner.

There are two versions of the C5 available. One is an acoustic version; the other is an acoustic electric version.

There is only an acoustic version available.
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Before we move forward, we would like you to check out this video that compares the C3m, the C5, and the C7. Yeah, we know this review does not contain the C7 but this was the best video we could get that compared the C3M and the C5.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – What Situation Is Best For What Guitar?

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M

Both these guitars are beginner guitars, really. However, we all know that even at the “beginner” level, there are people who know a few chords, and others who have never held a classical guitar before.

So yes, this is a beginners’ guitar. However, it’s for the slightly advanced beginners, if you get what we mean.

You can easily deduce this from the fact that the guitar is also available in acoustic-electric. If you’ve never held a guitar before, we’re sure you won’t be needing it to be connected to blasting speakers the first time you play.

Finally, the guitar comes with a lot of accessories, including an instructional DVD which is great for beginners.
The Cordoba C3M is also an entry-level guitar. It’s probably slightly more entry-level than the Cordoba C5.

For one, the C3m is not available in an acoustic-electric version so it’s not meant for gigging, just for learning and practice.

The C3m also comes with as much learning guide and accessories as the Cordoba C5, making it great for beginners.

Both these guitars are made with good quality materials and are yet affordable for beginners especially when compared to the value they offer.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Which Features Do They Have In Common?

They’re both full-sized and lightweight.

They’re both made with Nylon Strings

They both come with a Rosewood fretboard

They’re made with Cedar tops and Mahogany back and sides.

Full-Sized And Lightweight

Both of these guitars are full-sized guitars, measuring at 40 to 41 inches like most full-sized guitars. They’re also lightweight thanks to their nylon strings. This is because the strings of choice, inadvertently, affect the type of wood used to make any guitar.

So, because nylon is a lot lighter than steel with a lower tension, it doesn’t require a strong wood behind it to hold it in place. On the other hand, steel is quite heavier than nylon and also has a very high tension. Therefore, it requires a tougher, stronger material, which is usually heavier too.

This is the reason nylon-string guitars are a lot lighter than steel-string guitars. Speaking of strings, we move on to our next similar feature:

Nylon Strings

The Cordoba C5 and the Cordoba C3M both come with nylon strings. Just like we’ve said earlier, nylon strings make your guitar lighter than steel strings.

Aside from the weight, there are a lot of things that nylon strings do better than steel strings. There are also minor drawbacks experienced as a result of using nylon-string guitars. Let’s look through these upsides and downsides.


Nylon strings are a bit softer on the fingertips. If you’re just learning how to play the guitar, might we just warn you that it will sting your fingertips a bit. Lol, don’t be scared, it’s nothing a little getting used to cannot solve.

Nylon strings are softer and produce less friction as you play which makes them less hostile to the fingertips. So, ultimately, they let you practice for longer in comparison to steel strings.

Nylon strings also produce a warmer, less coarse sound than steel strings. Hence the reason they’re used for genres like classical, folk, R&B, and other warm music genres. On the other hand, if you would like to play more coarse music like funk and rock, steel strings would be a better fit.

Again, nylon strings last longer if kept properly. This is because, unlike steel strings, nylon strings do not rust. They take a lot longer to wear out, and would probably only need to be changed when they cut.


Nylon strings cost more than steel strings. That means that you’ll have to spend slightly extra in a case where you need to replace your strings.

Also, steel strings cannot fit into nylon-string guitars. They would destroy it as steel strings have a much higher tension than nylon strings.

Another downside with nylon is with the genre you want to play. If you want to play genres that require a coarse sound, nylon might sound a bit too warm for you.

Finally, while you would be free from rust, nylon strings can get destroyed by humidity, whether it’s too low or too high. Because of that, you would need to store your guitar in place with well-regulated humidity.

Rosewood Fingerboard

The fingerboard, otherwise known as the fretboard, is the part of the guitar which you interact with the most. It is, therefore, necessary that this part of the guitar possesses great hardware as this would make the interaction better and a lot more enjoyable.  

Well, we’re glad to tell you that Cordoba realized how important this part of the guitar is and gave both the C5 series and the C3m nice rosewood fretboards. In making this particular part of the guitar, luthiers are left with very few options in terms of quality.

In fact, the only two that are considered equally superior in this category are ebony and, of course, rosewood. Furthermore, there are two types of rosewood which could have been used. There’s the exotic Brazilian rosewood, and then there’s the Indian rosewood.

Well, Cordoba decided to go for Indian rosewood for these two guitars as they are entry-level guitars. Indian rosewood works as well as its South American brother. The only difference is that the Brazilian rosewood is a lot more exotic, therefore, a lot more expensive.

Because Cordoba had your best interest at heart, they went for the less expensive one, without compromising on the quality. The Indian rosewood is considerably better than the ebony rosewood as it produces a warmer, softer sound.

Indian rosewood produces this warmer sound because it generally is a softer wood than ebony is. Also, the Indian rosewood has a much more natural feel than ebony. So, if you love your fretboard with a nice warm, natural feel, either of these guitars works just as well as the other.

Cedar Top

Most of the time, when you have two guitars going head to head, you usually have the big difference being the top of the guitar: that is, spruce vs cedar.

However, these two guitars come with the same top, the Canadian cedar top. So, why did Cordoba choose the cedar top for these two guitars?

Well, the Canadian cedar top is actually a very popular choice for Cordoba, more than the European Spruce top. While the European spruce top is the more traditional of the two, the cedar top began gaining increasing popularity since the mid-1960s.

From the mid-1960s till date, there has never been a consensus about which top is better than the other. It always comes down to the preference of the guitarist involved.

However, for there to even be a preference, it has to be agreed that there are slight differences in the sounds produced by the two tops. The cedar top produces a warmer, fuller, more mellow sound. Something that sounds a bit wholesome like you would hear in classical music or blues.

The sound from the cedar is also considerably calmer than that produced by the spruce top. The spruce top on the other hand, has a clearer sound. A sound that can be likened to the sharpness made by a bell. With the spruce top, rather than a full sound, it is distinct and each note is individual and clear.

Most times, beginners prefer the cedar top guitars because the fullness and the way each note blends with another makes it easy to hide minor mistakes. While on the other hand, any mistake on the spruce top will be heard clearly.

Mahogany Back And Sides

The back and sides of the two guitars we’re looking at today are made with Mahogany. Mahogany is a type of wood used, very popularly, by luthiers to make guitars.

The first reason why mahogany is so popular is because of its price. It’s one of the few affordable woods that can be used, that also do not jeopardize the quality of the guitars.

The second reason why Mahogany is great is because it accentuates both the bass and treble sounds that come out of the acoustic guitar. It also produces a real “woody” sound, which is what a lot of people look for in acoustic and classical guitars. Also, it produces great overtone coloration.

Mahogany back and sides make your classical guitar sound all the more acoustic. Making it rich in tone and flavor. If you love a natural-sounding acoustic guitar, you want a guitar with Mahogany back and sides.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M- What’s Unique To Each Product?

Features Unique To The Cordoba C5

The Cordoba C5 is available in acoustic and acoustic electric versions.

It comes with a High-gloss Plyeutherane finish.

There Are Two Guitar Types In This Series

The Cordoba C5 comes in two types: the acoustic version, and the acoustic-electric version. This is unlike the Cordoba C3m which is only available in one type (an acoustic version).

This is a huge difference between the C5 and the C3M and this could possibly be C5’s first punch in the Cordoba C5 vs C3M match. Being available in two different types means you can pick up the Cordoba C5 according to what you want to use it for.

If you want something just for practice, or say you’re still a beginner and would love something to get your fingers rolling, you can get the acoustic version.

On the other hand, if you want something you can use to play small gigs, or something you can connect to speakers to rehearse in a studio or something like that, you can get the acoustic-electric version. The benefit of having the same guitar type in these two types is that you’re sure that that’s the only difference between the two guitars.

You don’t have to go through the process of checking multiple reviews to find another guitar that allows you go electric. The electric guitar, the Cordoba C5-CE, comes with a Fishman Isys pickup.

The preamp system featured on the Fishman Isys is able to control tone shaping, volume, and phase controls. Phase controls include a pre-wired pick-up by Fishman, and some low-profile control knobs. The pick up comes with a battery box, as well as an indicator that tells you when the battery is low.

Lastly, the acoustic-electric version of the Cordoba C5 comes with an onboard tuner.

High Gloss PU finish

The finishing on the body of this guitar was done with Polyurethane. This material is really high-gloss, giving your guitar a really shiny look. The look of the Cordoba C5 is obviously glossier than that of the Cordoba C3m.

Just so you get what we’re talking about, here’s a video of a Cordoba C5 Demo. Check it out below:

Features Unique To The Cordoba C3M

You only get the acoustic version with the Cordoba C3M

It comes with a Satin finish.

There In Only One Guitar Type Available

Maybe to seal the fact that this is an entry-level guitar, we do not know. However, what we do know is that the Cordoba C3m is only available in one type, which is an acoustic version.

This acoustic version cannot be connected to speakers. Therefore, it will be difficult to use this to play gigs as nobody really likes the stress of pointing mics to the box of the guitar.

So, if you’re getting this, you know you can only use it for practice, and not to play gigs. On the bright side though, in the one package that this guitar comes in is everything you need to learn, including an instructional DVD, and a tuner.

Satin Finish

While this is not as glossy as the C5, there is no doubt that it is glossy. This is due to the fact that the wood used in making the C3m is finished with Satin.

When used as a finish for wood, satin gives you wood a non-glossy look and feel. Aside from the look and feel, satin-finished guitars are easy to clean and maintain. A simple cloth-wipe will do the trick, keeping it looking good always.

Alright! That’s about all concerning the C3m. Want to hear what it sounds like? Check out the video below:

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Unique Pros

Cordoba C5

  • It is available in two types: the acoustic version, and the acoustic-electric version.
  • It uses a Polyurethane finish which has a very glossy look and feel.

Cordoba C3M

  • It is more affordable.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Unique Cons

Cordoba C5

  • It is slightly more expensive. The acoustic electric version is way more expensive.

Cordoba C3M

  • Only one type is available.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Pros Common To Both

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M

Although this is slightly more expensive than the Cordoba C3m, it still sits under $500, making it a very affordable guitar for most people.

If you’re a beginner, and you want something that you would be able to use long-term, you want to invest in this guitar.
The Cordoba C5 is affordable, the Cordoba C3m is even more affordable. The fact that this is not available in any other version besides the acoustic version, makes it all the more affordable.

If you’re looking for something that is very light on the pocket, this is what you want.
This is a full-sized guitar.This is also a full-sized guitar.
It has 19 fretsThe Cordoba C3m also has 19 frets.
The fretboard of the C5 is made with rosewood which is really good hardware for such an important part of a guitar.The fretboard of the C3m is made with the same material as that of the C5.
This guitar is available in one package that includes the guitar, a bag or box, and other accessoriesThis guitar is also available in a similar package.

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – Cons Common To Both

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M

At 4mm, the neck of this guitar is quite wide for people who aren’t used to classical guitars.

As a beginner, it will take a little getting used to.
The neck of this guitar is the same width as the C5. Therefore, it will pose the same challenge for beginners.
Humidity is also a huge problem for this guitar. You would need to keep the guitar around average humidity. Too much or too little will potentially damage the guitarHumidity poses a risk to the C3m, as much as it does to the C5. Therefore, you would also need to keep this in a place with average humidity.

Check out these other articles

Cordoba C5 Vs C3M – General Feeling Amongst Users

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M

People who used the C5 really like the fact that they got great sound on a budget.

There are two groups of people: the ones who bought the acoustic version, and the ones who bought the acoustic-electric version.

Both groups really like what they got as we haven’t seen any major lashing at the product.
Very affordable, people really like the C3M. The fact that it’s so affordable is the biggest reason why people like it.

Aside from that, people also like the fact that it’s a cedar top producing a really warm sound.

Cordoba C5 vs Cordoba C3M – Our Verdict

Cordoba C5

Cordoba C3M

The Cordoba C5 is for a slightly higher beginner level and can even be used into your intermediate stage, especially if you get the acoustic-electric version.
Get the Cordoba C5 here.
The fact that this is so affordable, along with all the instructional materials and accessories that come with the guitar, make the C3m a great entry-level guitar.
Get the Cordoba C3m here

Cordoba C5 vs Cordoba C3M – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flamenco style guitar?

A flamenco-style guitar is a type of guitar made solely for the purpose of playing flamenco guitar music. Physically, It is quite similar to a classical guitar. However, that’s where the similarity stops with these two types of guitars. 

From the sound it produces to the construction, the flamenco guitar is not the same as the classical guitar. The Flamenco style guitar playing technique is also quite different.

Where are kremona guitars made?

Kremona guitars are made in the Kremona workshop that is located in Bulgaria.

The Kremona workshop has been existing and producing stringed musical instruments ever since 1924. Their supplies mainly go to Europe and Asia. The attention paid to every detail while building their work has made them gain popularity even in North America.

How can I make my classical guitar sound better?

Choosing a better angle before setting out to play is one good way of altering the sound of your classical guitar.

Playing perpendicular to the strings or by the right angle makes the sound very bright, thin or metallic.

However, playing 45 degree slanted to the string can give you a completely different tone. The sound becomes warmer and deeper if you take an angle greater than 45 degree.

Who makes the best nylon string guitars?

Cordoba – with their C12 SP nylon guitar string which is one of the most sought after in the market.

The C12 sp is a grand mix of modern and traditional design. It’s handmade from solid Indian rosewood and European spruce with a fretboard raised a little higher for easier playing from the 12th fret.

It has a commanding tune, beautiful design, and projection enhancing features.

What is the difference between flamenco and classical guitars?

The difference between flamenco and classical guitars is their construction, sound, and material.

Typical classical guitars are made of spruce or cedar tops, as well as rosewood or mahogany backs and sides. On the other hand, flamenco guitars are usually made with cypress or sycamore to improve volume.

Also, while classical guitars have deeper and thicker woods, flamenco guitars use a flat surface.

The flamenco guitar was created to cut through even the deepest sounds. As a result, the sound is usually a lot more percussive than a classical guitar which is designed to help the soloist with the tools for performing poly-timbral music.

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