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Cordoba ukuleles are some of the most popular worldwide for their great combination of style, tone, and price. For players with a bit more to spend on a new instrument, Cordoba’s 25 Series offers upgraded construction, hardware, and sound in a budget-friendly package. Let’s take a closer look and find out why the 25T CE is one of the best tenor ukuleles available under $300.
The 25T CE is a tenor ukulele – larger than soprano and concert instruments, tenors offer more balanced sound and a sturdier frame than their smaller cousins. As one of Cordoba’s higher-end ukes, this particular tenor has all the premium appointments that make spending the extra cash feel worthwhile.
The body is constructed from acacia (solid wood for the top, and layered back and sides) with a smooth cutaway on the upper bout for easy access to the top frets. A close relative of koa, a classic ukulele tonewood native to Hawaii, acacia is known for its attractive, wavy grain and full-bodied, woody tonal range. The satin finish highlights that grain and makes this uke exceptionally comfortable to hold.
A gorgeous ebony and maple rope pattern binds the body, contrasting with the acacia and enhancing the uke’s visual appeal. A composite fingerboard tops the mahogany neck. With a 1 ⅜” nut width, this uke is thin yet still comfortable for players of all sizes.
This Cordoba features high-end hardware to match the construction. The bridge, like the fingerboard, is a composite, and the nut and saddle are both genuine bone. The headstock, finished in satin black, holds Cordoba nickel tuners with black buttons. Tuning on this model, like on most Cordobas, is exceptionally stable – the gears are fine enough to make minor adjustments for optimal sound quality.
Aquila New NylGut Tenor strings come standard on the 25T CE. These are some of the top strings on the market and offer great tones with premium durability. The herringbone soundhole rosette is another premium touch. Electronically, this uke comes equipped with a Cordoba active ukulele pickup hidden within the body. The 2-band EQ panel on the upper bout makes sure you can dial in your desired tone no matter what you plug into.
For its larger size, the 25T CE still offers a surprising amount of treble – soprano and concert players won’t miss much by switching to this instrument. It’s not the most bass-heavy of tenor ukes, but the sound remains warm and glassy across the neck, with the right amount of contrast to the chiming highs. Sustain is strong though not outstanding, and articulation is suitably clear, though strummed chords can blend pleasantly.
Acoustically, this uke sounds great whether strummed or plucked individually. When plugged in, the sound is tighter, with some extra presence and clarity. Unlike cheaper pickups, which can sound sterile and thin, the 25T CE retains its warm acoustic character with an added punch. This uke sits great in a mix with other instruments, making it perfect for amplified jam sessions or gigs.
The Cordoba 25T CE is one of the best looking and sounding ukuleles around. Its electronic capabilities only enhance this uke’s versatility and value. Without any major flaws, this model is a great recommendation for players in the market for a sub-$300 instrument. Beginners looking to learn on a more upscale model and pros looking for a beautiful gigging instrument can both get a lot out of this uke.