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This article was originally published in issue #49
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In terms of its usability, the R180 is a versatile guitar - ideal to study the classical repertoire as well as play and record Folk, Brazilian music such as Bossa Nova, Samba, and fingerstyle in general, particularly as the sound, although very resonant, is not boomy in the lower register.
Left hand version available
Very good price
Only that you might want to add a pickup
A growing number of electric players seem to be flexing their fingers and adding a classical guitar to their musical arsenals. That's exactly the market Oretga is aiming at, as Giorgio Serci finds out.
Ortega is a relatively new name in the guitar world, having begun producing guitars in 1994, but the company now has quite an expansive range, including a wide variety of classical guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, 8-string classical models, with and without cutaways, and with a wide variety of prices and specifications. One of Ortega's stated objectives is to break barriers without losing focus on the important basics of classical guitar making, including making its instruments in Spain. It wasn't easy to decide which of the many Ortegas on the market we should start with but in the end we decided on the R180, which is quite an inexpensive instrument, though I have to say that was hard to believe given what turned out to be its impressive tonal and aesthetic qualities.
Straight from a price-included deluxe bag, this full size classical guitar has a stunning natural look, with contrasting wood colours and unique features: from the solid North American cedar top with a satin finish, to the bubinga back and sides, the mahogany neck, also with satin finish, and a rosewood fretboard. The body depth is 102mm.
With maple bindings and a rosewood bridge, its handsome instrument and clearly well made, also featuring a natural inlaid wood mosaic rosette. The mahogany neck, which meets the body at the 12th fret as on most classical guitars, benefits from a traditional Spanish heel, for enhanced tone and sustain. Both the 52mm nut and the saddle are made of cow bone for an improved sustain.
The neck is very comfortable to play, even with hard tension nylon strings. For the record, this model comes with D’Addario EXP46 strings, which are the recommended strings from Ortega.
To finish off the attractive styling details (and remember this isn't at all an expensive guitar) the North American solid cedar top features a colourful rosette, adorned with symmetrical patterns. Back and sides are of a beautiful bubinga.
This guitar doesn’t feature a built-in pick-up. This is could be a blessing in disguise sometimes, as the proud owner can than choose the most appropriate pick-up device if and when required. You might want to factor one into the price, though.
In terms of its usability, the R180 is a versatile guitar - ideal to study the classical repertoire as well as play and record Folk, Brazilian music such as Bossa Nova, Samba, and fingerstyle in general, particularly as the sound, although very resonant, is not boomy in the lower register. It’s worth noting that a left-handed option is available.
In conclusion, this is a great instrument from Ortega, especially considering its price. I strongly recommend finding a dealer near you and trying the R180. We're looking forward to trying other models within the Ortega family.