|Body And Neck:
Best known as one of the world’s leading classical guitar brands, the Spanish manufacturers Cordoba also make a pretty mean ukulele – as this 20TM-CE proves. Sitting comfortably in our chart on the best ukuleles under $200, this electro-acoustic tenor has huge class and a lovely tone to match. Let’s check it out!
Good looking? Indeed it is, although we’d expect nothing less from a Cordoba. With the tenor body, at 26.5” long, this ukulele makes great use of its tonewood – a thin, solid mahogany on the top with laminated mahogany used on the back and sides, all with a lovely dark grain that’s dressed with a refined satin finish. The herringbone rosette is also very eye-catching, and adds a little extra elegance to this already sophisticated ukulele.
The body features a soft cutaway on the treble side, allowing good access to the higher frets. Joined at the 14th fret, the slim neck is also made of solid mahogany, and sports a rosewood fretboard, with a total of 18 frets and simple pearloid dot inlays. Of course, it’s easy to play and the neck feels excellent in the hand. Even at this affordable price range the Chinese-made craftsmanship from Cordoba is commendable.
This electro-acoustic uke features a piezo pickup and a Cordoba UK2000q preamp, with a basic control panel on the lower bout, which contains a master volume control and 2-band EQ (bass and treble). There’s a rosewood bridge, with a composite saddle and nut, while at the other end you’ll find a set of silver open-geared tuning machines, with large pearloid buttons. Sadly, these tuners are a bit of a letdown in terms of operation – they felt a little loose and not as precise as some others in this price range. Finally, as with all Cordoba ukuleles, the 20TM-CE comes strung with a set of Aquila Nylgut strings – a great string.
Acoustically, the 20TM-CE is very pleasing and very well-balanced. In fact, for a mahogany body, it’s brighter than we expected, but still offers good warmth in tone. Acoustically, it projects quite well for a tenor, although it’s by no means the loudest we’ve heard. Still, when plugged into a guitar amp via the ¼” output jack, volume is no problem and the pickup projects the uke clearly.
Even with one or two negative points, for under $200, it’s hard to complain. The 20TM-CE still offers great value to any player looking to add a decent tenor uke to their collection. It looks and feels great – a very grown-up uke – and the bright tone is particularly good for fingerpicking.