Everyone has heard of fine luthiers and brands from Europe, including the many famed Spanish ones. But a classical guitar made in Bulgaria? The name Kremona Fiesta used to keep cropping up in my searches and forum discussions and I decided to research it out once and for all. A delightful surprise, for sure.
The Kremona Fiesta is popular. For one, buying it (or returning it) is easy. Online stores like Amazon stock the entire Kremona range. It is a different choice from the usual, a quality guitar hand-made out of solid woods. It offers a balanced sound at a good volume. And the price is surprisingly reasonable for its quality and workmanship.
To be clear, the Kremona Fiesta is not a concert grade instrument. Then again, not too many of us are concert grade players either. There is one mildly recurring user reservation about this model that we will come to shortly. Barring that, there seems to be every good reason to recommend it.
Start with the specs
|Top wood||Solid western red cedar|
|Back and sides wood||Indian rosewood|
|Nut and saddle||Bone|
|Tuning machines||Gold with rosewood buttons|
|Scale length||650 mm (25.6″)|
|Fingerboard width at nut||52 mm|
|Strings||Kremona Arete Medium-high tension|
|Hard case||Wooden arch-topped, locks with key set|
|Affiliate links||Kremona Fiesta FC at Amazon|
Kremona Fiesta FC at Guitar Center
The specs are pretty good for an intermediate level classical guitar. It is hand-made with traditional choices of all-solid woods. The fingerboard is of rosewood, not the mid-to-high-end favorite of ebony. That may or may not matter to you.
The thin polyrethane finish is believed to help the resonance and ‘throw’ of the instrument. It is a popular guitar not just with classical guitarists but also with the jazz, rock, pop crowd. The high volume as well as a great sound quality may have something to do with this wider appeal.
The company website does talk about its sound quality: “Fiesta offers a balanced sound with rich lows and focused midrange tones… “
How does it compare with the well known brands?
Once you talk of a good (factory-built) classical guitarists for early intermediate guitarists, you can’t not think of the well respected Cordoba C9. We have a C9 review here if you’re interested.
We can use the C9 for representing all ‘well known brands’ generally in this price category. It would be a fair representation of what a good standard is in popular, mid-range guitars.
The all solid wood construction is common between the two. So is the ‘hand made inside a factory’ bit, strange as that sounds. Both have their die-hard fans (as well as detractors). Both have a good loud sound. And both are light in weight (unlike, say, the Yamahas).
It appears the Fiesta makes use of thin wood for construction. Some users have commented on this, although the manufacturer does not refer to it in any way, so it may be conjecture. The point is the Fiesta is light and it is loud. That much is clear.
One happy user in an online forum went so far as to say: “One shocking note – the Kremona is loud. No, wait, let us say – the Kremona is LOUD! Very responsive, with a nice breathy, airy quality to it… “
I have seen a Fiesta (online) with a noticeable straight grain pattern on its back. It looked impressive. And made me think of a family artisan taking personal care while building it. Yes, there’s a Bulgarian family behind this guitar who’ve been doing it for 90 years or so. That counts, in my opinion.
So, taking into account all similarities and differences, the Kremona Fiesta FC certainly looks it can hold its own against the more well known model. I would expect either of these worthies to serve me years before I decide to outgrow them.
More to enjoy (and something to watch out for)
There is most probably a spruce variant, a Fiesta FS. I say ‘most probably’ because I’ve not seen much mention of it, not even on the company website. But it crops up in occasional forum mentions. With talk of the usual extra brightness that a spruce top brings into the picture.
On aesthetics, the Kremona Fiesta FC is a nicely finished, handsome guitar. The rosette is low-key and tasteful with the hand-inlaid wood work.
And there is something to be said about thoughtfulness and attention to detail when someone goes and makes the tuning pegs in wood. Not the usual metal or plastic, but proper rosewood. It is a fabulous touch, I think.
The sound, although always a subjective call, is well regarded. “The mids have great presence, and the bass notes are never muddy,” as one satisfied forum member said.
There is one recurring concern that I read about a bit more than usual. It is to do with the consistency of quality in individual pieces. Or, more to the point, the lack of consistent quality.
To some of us, who live in cities big enough to house a reputed guitar seller, it may not be much of an issue. We can try out different pieces and separate the kings from the dogs. To folks who buy online, this can be a nervous moment. You basically look for the feel-good consistency of a brand like Yamaha, for instance.
I wouldn’t fret about it too much, though. All reputed online stores have a good returns policy and being now sensitized to the issue, we can always make sure we put it through its paces in the early days.
Multi-model, family owned company
It’s good to remind ourselves that Kremona is not a one-model wonder from a one-model company. Far from it.
The near-entry level Kremona S65C, for instance, targets an advanced beginner. Among other things, it has a striking look I’ve never seen before or since. The purple heart wood fingerboard and bridge give off reddish hues in what must be one of the handsomest guitars in the world.
And at the other end of the price spectrum is the top of the line Kremona Solea. In vibrancy and overall sound, it is believed to have the energy, if not the construction, of a well made flamenco guitar.
And in the middle of the range are Kremona Sofia as also the Kremona Romida as well as the less expensive F65C and the F65CW.
Most of these have left-handed versions as also what the company calls ‘fractional guitars’. With reducing scale lengths of 620 mm, 576 mm, 560 mm, 510 mm etc.
This company sells a lot of guitars. It is not an upstart. And it has fairly good international distribution through the major online outlets.
Check out the price of Kremona Fiesta FC at Amazon.
And consider saying a big hello to a Bulgarian family.
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