View Full Version : In praise of a Cordoba 20TM-CE

04-13-2012, 02:34 PM
After listening to lots of videos, I decided to buy a Cordoba 20TM-CE. I played a couple in Guitar Center and I liked the feel, and the tone was better than anything else they had. I saw that the synthetic bridge saddle wasn't seated, because it was setting on top of the big ol' pickup wire and I knew that had to be a tone killer.

I bought it and when I got home I went straight to the shop. First, I removed the saddle, UST pickup, input jack, and all the connecting wires. After removing the battery, I screwed the EQ cover back into it's hole. I put a plastic automotive pop-rivet in the input jack hole.

I've build many saddles, but this had to be the easiest of all. I cut my bone blank to the correct length and duplicted the height of the old saddle and UST combined. I sanded it until I had a snug fit into the saddle slot, then tightened the Aquila strings and I could already hear the difference before playing it.

I'm here to tell ya, this made one heck of a difference in volume and sustain. Of course, the Uke lost some weight and that's gotta be part of it, but I'm thinking that the bone saddle seated properly in the slot is the main reason for the sonic improvement. Also, these saddles are wide enough for compensation, so I will go back to the shop after it settles in and tweak the intonation.............on the middle 2 strings.

There's lots of good Ukes out there in the $200 price range and I just wanted to share my experience with my Cordoba.

I would call the new tone mellow, like most mahogany Ukes and I'm thinking that the cutaway allows it to retain some of that small box tone that you get from a soprano and a concert size. Strumming is it's strong point and it sounds as good to me as some of the real expensive Ukes. YMMV

04-13-2012, 05:36 PM
Nice post Jazzbo and I wish I could do mods like this without paying for it. I think I could take it apart, but you lost me when you started making a bone saddle...................I've heard that a cutaway makes you lose tone, but what you say about a small box makes sense. I like the Island sound of the small ukes and at the same time, I'm very fond of the playability of a tenor uke.

04-13-2012, 05:50 PM
I bought it and when I got home I went straight to the shop...
Did you even give it a fair trial for what it was before you altered it? Sounds like you really know what you're doing, but most of us don't.

My first uke was a Cordoba Donavon Frankenreiter signature model mahogany tenor. It's been awesome and I still play it a lot. :)

04-13-2012, 06:02 PM
I've got the Cordoba 20TM - non-cutaway, non-amplified.

It has a great feel and sound, came very nicely setup right out of the box - intonation is good everywhere on the neck.

Even if I knew how to do whatever it was that jazzbo did, I wouldn't have had to.