|Body And Neck:|
If you can rely on anyone to produce a professional ukulele for the serious musician, you can rely on Cordoba. And their high-end 32T – part of their premium 30 Series – is a handsome tenor model with some quality appointments that ensure it sits highly in our chart on the best ukuleles under $500. Let’s see how it stacks up against the others on our list…
On the face of it, the 32T is nothing extravagant, but the woods and subtle detailing makes this a very elegant instrument, which demands attention. It features a full-size tenor body, with an overall length of 26”. The top is made from solid Sitka spruce, while the back and sides are solid Indian rosewood. This wood combination is a classic pairing and offers that nice contrast between light and dark, while the mahogany binding, glossy finish, and sparkly abalone rosette add to the overall appeal.
The glossy mahogany neck joins the body at the 12th fret with a strong Spanish heel joint, and features a total of 18 frets, sitting on the rosewood fretboard. Comfort and feel are standard here, as the 32T really impresses with playability, especially with the slightly wider nut width (1.5”). Although made in China, the 32T is still completely handmade – like the other models in the 30 Series – and shows off superb craftsmanship.
An electro-acoustic version of the 32T exists (the 32T-CE), although today we’re looking at the standard acoustic model.
One thing Cordoba ukuleles have a reputation for is poor tuners, but the set of open-gear chrome Grovers sitting on the headstock of the 32T aren’t bad at all, and hold tuning well – as well as you’d expect for a sub-$500 instrument. Elsewhere the 32T gives you some solid components which keep things running smoothly, including Aquila strings, a rosewood bridge, and a black Tusq nut and saddle. Finally, you are also supplied with a superb Cordoba polyfoam case, which is very protective, looks great, and fits this uke perfectly.
Yes – it sounds great! The tonewoods really complement each other for a well-balanced sound, with the rich rosewood giving good warmth and the spruce keeping things crisp, bright and very ukulele sounding! As for being heard, the fan-braced top and solid wood construction ensures great projection, while the gloss polyurethane finish is kept very thin, so the resonance doesn’t suffer. Lovely.
For a ukulele over $400 you’d expect this to be pretty flawless, and thankfully it meets our expectations. The build is impressive, the choice of tonewoods excellent, and the hardware stands up to other ukes featuring in this category. Throw in that awesome case and a sumptuous sound, and we’re convinced!