Part of Ortega's popular Family Series guitars, offering a wide variety of scale lengths, nut widths, configurations and colours. Nick Jennison takes the Ortega RCE125 SN-SBK for a spin.
It is my contention that every guitarist should consider owning a nylon string guitar. Aside from connecting you to the deep and rich history of our instrument, nylon string guitars offer so many things that steel-strung guitars can't. They're quiet, soft and warm, with no brashness or metallic qualities, even when played with a pick. They're also honest: if you play well, they'll reward you. If you don't, you'll know.
Unfortunately, between the neck profile, string spacing, action height and flat fingerboard, traditional classical guitars can be too alien for many players. They can also be unwieldy for younger players, or players with smaller hands. These barriers to entry mean that some players will go their whole lives without owning a nylon string guitar.
Ortega's RCE125SN is an instrument that put the nylon string experience within reach of every player: it's remarkably affordable without being "cheap" in any way; it's slimmer in the body and narrower in the neck than traditional classical guitars; it has a cutaway and electronics. As a genuine "entry level" nylon string guitar, it's perfect.
As someone who only occasionally dabbles in classical guitar, I found this guitar flattered my amateurish PIMA noodlings while still encouraging a certain discipline and precision in both hands. Plectrum lines were similarly rewarding, with a smoothness and warmth that you only get from a nylon string and a subdued pick attack that meant I could indulge my inner shredder without sounding abrasive. The same warmth and smoothness is perfect for jazz, and is actually surprisingly nice for songwriter-style chord strumming - especially if your singing voice is on the softer side.
Plugged in sounds come courtesy of Ortega's Magus Pro preamp. It's the kind of side-mounted, multi-featured system that I'm normally not a fan of, but in this instance, I was very impressed. The tuner is artfully nestled inside a stylised letter "O", and it's bright and accurate. The tone of this preamp is nothing short of exceptional either, with a staggeringly accurate representation of both the tone and dynamics of the guitar.
If you've ever considered owning a nylon string guitar, but you've been put off by either the neck, the price or anything else for that matter, you owe it to yourself to check out the Ortega RCE125SN. The joy this guitar will bring you for its modest price tag is a complete no-brainier.
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