|Body And Neck:|
Cordoba are known for making beautifully handcrafted ukuleles and the 23B is a prime example of what we have come to expect from the respected brand. This model is a baritone uke, so its larger body and tuning makes for an easy transition for guitarists. Today we are taking a look at what makes the 23B stand out as one of the best ukuleles under $300.
The body of the 23B is made from ovangkol (solid top with laminated back and sides), which is coupled with a sleek mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. Ovangkol is very similar to rosewood in its tonal properties, although it is naturally more resonant with a thicker mid-range. It’s also very desirable for its dark orangey-brown color with streaks of grey in the grain.
The mahogany neck has a 20″ scale length with 19 frets (14 in the open) which feels very comfortable to move around. The composite fingerboard is smooth with a nice playing action, finished with simple white dot inlays. It’s not a high-end boutique model, but it feels like a lot of attention has gone into crafting this instrument. Along with the gorgeous abalone rosette and natural matte finish, it’s a pleasure to hold.
The 23B comes with a composite bridge to match the fingerboard and has a compensated bone saddle. This bridge delivers very stable and consistent intonation which is a real credit to the craftsmanship of Cordoba.
The open-gear tuning machines are also Cordoba-made, with cute black buttons that – along with the bridge – keep the tuning in check. There’s no included bag with this one, but Cordoba do string it with a set of quality Aquila Nylgut 23U baritone strings with unwound basses.
As mentioned, the baritone uke shares some similarities to the guitar when it comes to sound. The standard tuning of a baritone is D-G-B-E, meaning that playing chords is very similar to what you would play on a guitar (minus the low E and A strings).
With this in mind, this uke has a very mellow tone. It’s rich, warm, and everything sounds silky smooth. It’s absolutely beautiful for fingerpicking patterns on the low-end, with a full mid-range that captures every bit of color in your chord voicings.
The larger body provides more natural sustain, which is assisted by the exotic ovangkol tonewood. Being more resonant means that notes ring out clearly with a natural decay, which again is perfect for a fingerpicking style.
It’s hard not to fall in love with this uke, when it feels like so much love has gone into making it. The matte finish on the ovangkol body offers a look of real quality that screams high-end without being flash. This uke would be great for both intermediate players or guitarists looking for a change to a smaller instrument, as it’s very comfortable to play and sounds superb. Even at the higher-end price (for a ukulele anyway), it’s worth the investment.