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View Full Version : cordoba ukes any good?



shores&hammocks
07-03-2009, 12:10 PM
im in las vegas!! woo! so while there, i went to their guitar center and there nice uke made by a manufacturer called cordoba, and I've ne'er hear of them before. so i went to the hotel and quickly researched the cordoba ukes an it's customer reviews. and no one liked them! when i played the uke at g.c. it sounded like heaven! does anybody know if thy're any good? cause im confused. thanks.

Gcow55
07-03-2009, 12:29 PM
From what I've heard of them (I have yet to play one), they are hit or miss. If you inspect the instrument, and it looks solid with little to no flaws.... and sounds great, then go for it. If you enjoy the Cordoba you are playing, then it shouldn't matter what others say.

Ahnko Honu
07-03-2009, 12:40 PM
Cordoba is a Spanish company better known for their guitars but their 'ukulele line is made in Portugal. I too have also heard their consistency of build, and sound quality is lacking. They claim their 'ukulele is made from Koa but from I gather it's acacia, all Koa is acacia but not all acacia is Koa. I've read of some cracking issues in drier parts of the country. They are pretty and the one you handled may be a good one, there are some happy Cordoba owners in the forum I believe Pippin being one of them.

haole
07-03-2009, 01:12 PM
They're usually the only decent uke Guitar Center carries, but even then they're pretty inconsistent. The fact that they advertise their ukes as "Portuguese koa" bugs me; it's deceptive. There's no such thing as Portuguese koa. :p

If you really liked it, though, then forget the reviews and go for it. It's all about personal taste. Maybe you found a good one! Reviews are nice, but playing the actual instrument is always better.

Pippin
07-03-2009, 01:38 PM
Cordoba is a Spanish company better known for their guitars but their 'ukulele line is made in Portugal. I too have also heard their consistency of build, and sound quality is lacking. They claim their 'ukulele is made from Koa but from I gather it's acacia, all Koa is acacia but not all acacia is Koa. I've read of some cracking issues in drier parts of the country. They are pretty and the one you handled may be a good one, there are some happy Cordoba owners in the forum I believe Pippin being one of them.

Actually, I don't own one at all. I have played the new solid mahogany tenor with the cut-away that sells for $199 and it is a very nice uke. It is probably the best uke in their lineup. I agree with you on the Acacia. Yes, it is a sibling species of tree, but, the main difference is that it is not found in Hawaii. It sounds similar, but the wood is not identical. I prefer genuine Koa.

Cordoba is a Spanish guitar maker, true. They do have the uke operation in Portugal.

Here is a link to the factory website:

http://www.cordobaguitars.com/57.php

That is the page with their ukes.

They are somewhat like Oscar Schmidt... a little over-built. I have not heard of any cracking issues, but I don't doubt that there have been some as Ahnko says.

Ahnko Honu
07-03-2009, 01:51 PM
I have heard of cracking issues in all 3 Acacia 'ukuleles I know the Lehua, Cordoba, and Koa Pili Koko though my KPK soprano has been stable thanks to Hawai'i's consistent humidity. Nothing on the KALA Acacia yet though they are new on the market. Makes me wonder if whatever subspecies of Acacia being used is more prone to cracking, or the lumber used has not been dried long enough before milling down.

Pippin
07-03-2009, 02:03 PM
I have heard of cracking issues in all 3 Acacia 'ukuleles I know the Lehua, Cordoba, and Koa Pili Koko though my KPK soprano has been stable thanks to Hawai'i's consistent humidity. Nothing on the KALA Acacia yet though they are new on the market. Makes me wonder if whatever subspecies of Acacia being used is more prone to cracking, or the lumber used has not been dried long enough before milling down.

I think you are onto something there. It might be that it is not aged well enough. Still, when a tree is grown in a particular climate, then you take the wood and ship it halfway around the world, there have to be some issues. I am more inclined to believe your observation about the wood being aged too little after harvesting. Once the ukulele is manufactured it's too late.

Ahnko Honu
07-03-2009, 02:35 PM
Koa has been a popular wood especially with luthiers for over a century that you can buy 10 to 20 year aged Koa whereas other species of Acacia are just recently catching on as an alternative to Koa with these lumber stocks not even being around long enough to properly age and dry out in many cases. Some species of wood are also just more stable and resistant to cracking and checking. I'm a woodworker and like to experiment with local hardwoods and I noticed personally the the introduced Formosan Acacia, Black Wattle, and Australian Blackwood would dry out and check and crack much more quickly than the native Acacia Koa. Old growth wood is also supposed to be more stable than new growth forest woods these 3 introduced Acacias being all new growth trees from state reforestation efforts starting in the 1950s.
I'm curious as to what species this "Portuguese Koa" Cordoba uses actually is.

itsme
07-03-2009, 03:12 PM
I just acquired a Cordoba LaPlaya tenor uke (posted some pics here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15561)).

It's mahogany and lists for less than their standard line of ukes. It's my first uke, so I really have nothing to compare it to since I've never played a uke before, but it seems to be quite well made. :)

http://cordobaguitars.com/104.php

BTW, Cordoba is owned by Tim Miklaucic, who also owns Tornavoz Music, Loriente Guitars, and Guitar Salon International (one of the world's leading dealers in "high-end" classical and flamenco guitars). Different brand names for different niches, I guess.

DaveVisi
07-03-2009, 03:48 PM
I think I played that same Uke last night. My wife and I were there about 9:00 last night. You weren't with a group of 2-3 other guys at the time, were you? One was admiring the Cordoba and I picked it up right after he left.

I wouldn't call it "great" but it was nice. Neck was kinda thick compared to my Kala. They called it a Tenor, but it looked more like a Concert to me. I'm surprised they had no logo on the headstock. Looked pretty generic to me, although the wood and binding was pretty. The fret ends weren't that clean with some rough edges. That one's been there for a while. It's the one that motivated me to go Uke shopping and I ended up ordering my Kala from MGM instead for $100 less than what GC wanted for that one.

KC8AFW
07-03-2009, 04:17 PM
im in las vegas!! woo! so while there, i went to their guitar center and there nice uke made by a manufacturer called cordoba, and I've ne'er hear of them before. so i went to the hotel and quickly researched the cordoba ukes an it's customer reviews. and no one liked them! when i played the uke at g.c. it sounded like heaven! does anybody know if thy're any good? cause im confused. thanks.

That is the only thing that matters. If you like it...then it's the best there is.

guitharsis
07-13-2009, 01:04 AM
Had a bad experience with a Cordoba soprano. Great looking but . . .Much prefer my Kiwaya KS-1 at the same price point. Stays in tune, responsive, sounds great!

Richie Rich
07-13-2009, 04:51 AM
I have a Tenor Cordoba that I purchased at Guitar Center up here in Reno... I would not buy another one. I too went looking and it seemed to be the best I could find in town - not a lot to choose from... There are a number of buzzing frets... GC center sells them but I'm not sure anyone there really knows much about them, let alone how to set them up, etc...

From what I've read, it seems that the Mainland folks are very happy with their ukes.

Steiner
07-13-2009, 03:33 PM
bought a tenor cordoba and it buzzed too

Ahnko Honu
07-13-2009, 04:46 PM
Are the Portagee made Lehua 'ukuleles any better or worse than the Cordobas? The Lehua are very reasonable in price, and I like the Portugal connections with 'ukulele origins.

Pippin
07-13-2009, 08:43 PM
Are the Portagee made Lehua 'ukuleles any better or worse than the Cordobas? The Lehua are very reasonable in price, and I like the Portugal connections with 'ukulele origins.

That's a good question. I have not had a chance to play one. I'd love to get an opportunity to review more of these ukes.

WS64
07-13-2009, 11:30 PM
I was told Cordoba, APC, and Excelsius are more or less the same ukuleles. MAde at the same factory, just maybe equipped with different tuners and stuff like that.

I own an Excelsius Concert, made from this fake-Koa.

This ukulele is by far the best ukulele I have.
I play it on most of my newer videos, here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpm704XPs_I)'s one where you can see the instrument pretty well.

I once played a Cordoba Soprano in a GuitarCenter in Pittsburgh and wasn't impressed. It had a crack, too. I got my Excelsius later after I were back in Germany, so I can't really tell if it was the same brand since I just played the Cordoba for a few minutes.

I would not trade my Excelsius for another uke, it is really great!
Add to that that I got it brandnew from Ebay Portugal and all in all it did cost €120, way cheaper than you get those instruments in internet stores here right now.

guitharsis
07-14-2009, 12:24 AM
WS64
Great sounding and beautiful looking uke. Nicely played. Thanks for sharing.

Spooner
07-19-2009, 06:59 PM
I have played them.
I do not like them and would not recommend them...not even to a beginner.

Pippin
07-19-2009, 08:45 PM
I was told Cordoba, APC, and Excelsius are more or less the same ukuleles. MAde at the same factory, just maybe equipped with different tuners and stuff like that.

I own an Excelsius Concert, made from this fake-Koa.

This ukulele is by far the best ukulele I have.
I play it on most of my newer videos, here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpm704XPs_I)'s one where you can see the instrument pretty well.

I once played a Cordoba Soprano in a GuitarCenter in Pittsburgh and wasn't impressed. It had a crack, too. I got my Excelsius later after I were back in Germany, so I can't really tell if it was the same brand since I just played the Cordoba for a few minutes.

I would not trade my Excelsius for another uke, it is really great!
Add to that that I got it brandnew from Ebay Portugal and all in all it did cost €120, way cheaper than you get those instruments in internet stores here right now.

With your skills as a musician and the quality of your videos, that is a great endorsement! I will have to check out that brand and see how widely available they are.

As usual, wonderful playing. I also like the graphic treatment on this video (the frame edging is a nice touch).

BrineyEye
07-28-2009, 07:29 PM
I've played a Cordoba that one of our uke club members bought. It sounded good, and was reasonably well-made except for one thing - they left the ends of the frets VERY sharp. It badly needed twenty minutes of file and steel wool work.

ukulelearp
07-28-2009, 07:32 PM
I'm obsessed with Cordoba guitars, but have never played any of their ukuleles.

itsme
07-28-2009, 09:22 PM
I've played a Cordoba that one of our uke club members bought. It sounded good, and was reasonably well-made except for one thing - they left the ends of the frets VERY sharp. It badly needed twenty minutes of file and steel wool work.
Interesting... the fret ends on my Cordoba are all very nicely finished.

dandabomb
11-10-2011, 05:40 PM
I just bought a cordoba uke not to long ago and besides the dry wether making me tune the think every few hours it's not bad to play at all. It sounds great, feels very sturdy, and has a real nice fret board and good feel to it. All in all a good buy!

ukeeku
11-11-2011, 01:36 AM
I thought the UP110 was pretty good, the bamboo one needed work.
here are the reviews from my site (Sorry gotta do it)
http://ukeeku.com/category/brands/cordoba/

I will send people to Best Buy here in Normal, IL if the need a Uke RIGHT NOW, to get the UP110

ksiegel
11-11-2011, 02:43 AM
I've got a 20TM tenor. I like it. Sounds sweet, came with Aquila strings (although I'm going to change them to Worth strings to see what happens.)

Easy to play, comfortable, and intonation nearly perfect right out of the box.

Mine had bone nut and saddle - they have since gone to some kind of synthetic.



-Kurt

mr moonlight
11-11-2011, 03:17 AM
I've got a 20TM tenor. I like it. Sounds sweet, came with Aquila strings (although I'm going to change them to Worth strings to see what happens.)

Easy to play, comfortable, and intonation nearly perfect right out of the box.

Mine had bone nut and saddle - they have since gone to some kind of synthetic.



-Kurt
Are you sure your nut and saddle are bone? Cordoba made a mistake and had bone listed as the nut and saddle material early on with the 20TM and they corrected it recently.

I purchased one earlier this year but returned it. Construction was spot on as expected from Cordoba, but the tuners were cheap and I wasn't so pleased with the sound. I did really like the gigbag so I bought one of those for a Soprano. I also have a Kaces gig bag, but the Cordoba one is superior. It came with Aquilas, but looking back I think Worth's or D'addario's would have sounded better.

Nickie
11-11-2011, 12:08 PM
I've had my Cordoba concert 10CM for almost a year now, that should be long enough to judge whether it's any good or not. A (guitar) luthier swears up and down that the neck is warped, but three other people (a luthier, 2 ukulele dealers) say it isn't. It's been in the shop three times for buzzing. It has a classical guitar string on now for C, it still buzzes when played open or the first three frets, and the E string buzzes nice and loud when struck near or over the sound hole. I've never abused it (although some people think my playing is abuse) or allowed it to dry out. It's had lots of play, but good care, too, I even bought a hard case. I just restrung it, and it's no better. I don't think I'd ever buy another Cordoba.

guitarsnrotts
11-11-2011, 01:02 PM
Don't recall if it was mentioned but they are now made in China. Have played a couple of the 25CK concerts that sounded pretty good. Recently played a bamboo concert that sounded thin and the build quality was shaky. There has also been some issues concerning the website specs vs reality.
Over all, for the money I'd check out Ohana, Kala and Koa Pili KoKo ukes. Just bought a Koa Pili KoKo concet for about 2/3 the price of a comparable Cordoba.

Yume
07-05-2012, 01:56 PM
I just acquired a Cordoba LaPlaya tenor uke (posted some pics here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15561)).

It's mahogany and lists for less than their standard line of ukes. It's my first uke, so I really have nothing to compare it to since I've never played a uke before, but it seems to be quite well made. :)

http://cordobaguitars.com/104.php

BTW, Cordoba is owned by Tim Miklaucic, who also owns Tornavoz Music, Loriente Guitars, and Guitar Salon International (one of the world's leading dealers in "high-end" classical and flamenco guitars). Different brand names for different niches, I guess.



I too have just bought a Cordoba La Playa uke. The bridge on this particular uke is off-centered and the right side is 3+ mm higher than the left (it wasn't glued on horizontally!). The body is also cut unsymmetrically. Altogether, it is just not very aesthetically pleasing to look at. Quality control, Cordoba!

The sound of the La Playa is brighter than the Cordoba TM20-CE, but still deeper than the Ohana TK20. Yup, I bought 3 entry-level ukes and was testing them out simultaneously.

Disappointed, I'm returning this Frankenreiter uke, signature or no signature on the cool-looking gigbag. If I could, I'll keep the bag and return the uke.

stevepetergal
07-05-2012, 02:29 PM
I hear they're hit or miss. The one I bought was definitely a miss.

edstrummer
07-07-2012, 05:33 PM
I upgraded to a Cordoba 20tm-ce tenor in April after checking out many different ukuleles at local music stores. It is solid mahogany top at least and has a very rich sound and was wonderful when plugged in to a good amp. I changed the original Aquila strings to Worth clears and then just yesterday added a wound low G from another set. Sounds awesome. I have no complaints. I did take the one off the wall that I had played alot before deciding. A Kala archtop was the uke that lost the comparison test. I bought at Sam Ash store and employees were great to work with. Cant say same about GC.
Edstrummer.

katysax
07-07-2012, 09:01 PM
Recently I purchased a Donovan Frankreiter Tenor Model off of Craigslist. It's a pretty nice uke. My main issue with it is that the tuners (and these are the same ones Cordoba always uses) have too much give and when you tune them down, they slip considerably. Overall though the sound is quite nice.

Yestyn The Great
07-19-2012, 01:43 PM
I have a cordoba 25tk-ce. I love it it's my main performance uke. But when it came ( from Hawaii music supply ) the frets were terrible and the top was warping. Luckily it came with a warranty and my local family music sent it to cordoba to be repaired. It came back with a whole new top and perfect frets. So now I love it but as many have said cordobas are hit and miss and they should be tried before being purchased.

tieguy198
02-21-2015, 06:33 AM
I myself am an owner of a Cordoba tenor size ukulele and i am SUPER happy with it. It's got a nice crisp sound and a great look. I'm going to get another Cordoba soon, Baritone size. from my experience I'll tell you that MAN I love Cordoba.

Noreaster
02-21-2015, 01:54 PM
I have a 20-tmce. I got it GC last year some time. I have always though that it was the nicest "guitar" that I own. I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination but the nut and saddle appear to be bone and the top, back and sides all appear to be solid mahogany. The frets are nicely finished, the action is good and the intonation is pretty much right on. I recently picked up a Laniki LU-21t. The binding is nice and....... umm...... The frets are a little sharp edged and thin, as compared to the Córdoba. The wood it thin and clearly all laminate. Plastic nut and bridge. It is substantially lighter than the Córdoba. The Cordoba has a richer fuller sound than the Laniki which has a brighter louder sound. The one sounds like a small guitar the other like a big ukulele. I like the Córdoba so much that I am thinking about getting a tenor one but my next nice soprano will be something less "Spanish".

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02-14-2017, 01:20 PM
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Choirguy
02-14-2017, 01:37 PM
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librainian
02-14-2017, 02:06 PM
I'm a little surprised at the number of negative impressions people have had with Cordoba here.

My experience with them is limited to the two I have purchased and played
.
The first was a used 20TM-CE. I recorded quite a few videos for the seasons with it and was pleased with the playability after some minor adjustments. The neck was very comfortable and the frets were well polished and the sound was warm and balanced to my ears. I would agree it was heavier than a fine K brand tenor would be and did not project a lot but it sounded quite nice indeed plugged in with fluorocarbon strings. I sold that locally after two years for what I paid for it.

I bought a 24B solid cedar topped baritone used through the market here and have no complaints on that one either. The construction is top notch. The book matching of the laminated spalted maple back and sides looks really really nice. The padauk contrasting binding and rosette were also very well done. the solid cedar top combined with the larger baritone body gives it a brighter and louder tone than the mahogany tenor had. You can feel where the two sides are joined at the lower bout, that would be the only finish flaw I could find. overall I found it an excellent value as well for the price.

Kit Ciaco
09-06-2017, 11:39 AM
I've had my Cordoba tenor (20TM-CE) for over a year. It is one of my favorite ukes. Great bell-like sound, excellent detail work, a real joy whether I play it acoustically or with electric. I've just ordered my second Cordoba - a concert (20CM).

timmit65
09-06-2017, 02:11 PM
I have a Cordoba tenor (20TM-CE), which is my favorite uke! The pickup is great, in the price range.

Braddtastic
09-11-2017, 07:35 AM
I love Cordoba, personally, but I avoided some concerns when I bought mine from All Strings Nylon. They are the largest domestic dealer of Cordoba products, know them well, and have the clout to send back the lemons to the factory before they ever get to the customer. My instrument is a Mini-M, so not exactly a ukulele, but that's where I will go if I'm ever in the market for another Cordoba.

Maiden Uke
09-11-2017, 07:56 AM
I have a Córdoba 25TK acacia acoustic tenor ukulele. I've had it for 4 - 5 years. The tuners needed adjusting, but no other problems with it. Good volume, holds its own in a group. Have had a variety of strings on it including Martins and Oasis warm. Have been happy with it.