Cordoba UP110 Ukulele Pack Full Review

12

December 28, 2010 by Tim


Full Frontal

Stop me if you have heard this one; A guy walks into Best Buy to purchase computer stuff and comes out with a ukulele. Funny? No? Don’t get me started about Best Buy selling musical instruments, that I could write a novel about, or at least a really long blog post.

Today I have the Cordoba 10CM, or what you will find on the streets and Google as the ukulele that comes in the UP110 pack. It is a starter ukulele from Cordoba Guitars. I think this is the lowest end instrument from them, and that says a lot as you will see as you read.

Yes you can get it from Best Buy, but there are plenty of other places that sell them like Ma & Pa stores in the burbs of Chicago to many online retailers. Funny thing about getting the UP110 pack from Best Buy was that they were offering it free with purchase of a $400+ guitar purchase as a black Friday deal.

I will tell you right up front this is a great starter uke. I would get this thing for any person interested in ukulele and has not purchased one yet.

So you know, I am comparing this to the likes of the Oscar Schmidt OU-2 and the Mitchell ukuleles that are in the same price range. Read on to get the full story.

Specs:

The Pack

Concert : 18 Fret (they say 19, I count 18)
Tuners: Open geared with Pearl Buttons
Bone nut & saddle
Top: Laminate Mahogany
Sides: Laminate Mahogany
Back: Laminate Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard
String Attachment: Tie
Finish: Matte
Case: Gig Bag
Other: Pitch Pipe (Really? who uses a pitch pipe?)
Full Specs:
http://www.cordobaguitars.com/up110

Looks

First look: (5) I have to say that it is striking. Very crisp and simple. The grain is nicely defined and it looks really well made. It is not all blinged out or anything. It has no binding, just a nice rosette around the sound hole. Super even finish that looks silky, not flat like most matte finishes

Dirty Fretboard

Fit and Finish: (5) I gave it a 5, but…and it is a minor but, it has glue marks around almost every fret. it looks chalking and bad. That is my only complaint and to fix it all I did was take a almost dry paper towel and clean it off to make it look perfect. It is the small things like glue marks that can turn some people away. This is a very well made instrument. it has a ton going for it. Since it is in lower range in price I do not expect that the bridge and sides of the nut are as smooth and rounded as they are. Also a small thing that shows that they care is the end of the neck, where it meets the body is flush with the back. The other thing that I don’t even see in some $300 ukuleles is the use of kerfed lining. most ukes in this price range use just a thin piece of wood for the lining. All in all it is solid and every other detail is spot on, even better than most ukes that are triple the price.

Kerfed Lining

Sound:

Sound Type: Bold and clear. Better than the Oscar Schmidt OU-2

Intonation: (4) It is not awful, but not the best. I noticed that if you play a G it is a little sharp. Most people would not notice. As with any uke in this price range it was not setup with the most care in the world. I am just happy that it has a nice low nut so you can play most any chord like an A or F without going completely out of whack.

Volume: (5) Loud for a laminate. Most laminates seem to muffle or mute the sound. This one lets it all hang out. I was very impressed

Sustain: (5)  Long and nice. I think the volume helps.

Feel:

String Height: (medium Low) Just right. You have a little travel but it is a nice height.

Neck Radius Depth: (3/4″) Average radius depth for a C shaped neck.

Fretboard Cleaned

Frets: (5) The smartest thing for an inexpensive uke is to bind the fret board. it makes it so there is no way to have frets sticking out the side. This ukulele has that and it is nice. beside seeing glue marks on almost every fret, the frets are dressed perfectly.

 

Tuning: (5) I have found very few sub-$100 ukes that have friction tuners. These are very nice and don’t make the head of the uke heavy and work really well.

EXTREME CLOSE UP OF TUNING MACHINEBody

Comfort: (5) I am so impressed with how smooth this ukulele is, and I mean like butter. The one thing that I check is if the body has rounded edges, and this has really well done edges. I find it really nice to hold and it is pretty light and balanced.

Sound Hole Smell: Nothing, I blew my nose to make sure. It has practically no smell. Just weird. I don’t know if I would buy a uke that smells like nothing, Just joshing, it is weird though.

Final Thoughts

I hope that all the ukes that are being sold out there are as nice as the one I received. I do have my reservations about a uke that you can buy at Best Buy, but on the flipside I see that it is at least available in places that may not have ukuleles.

The Cordoba 10Cm in the UP110 pack is one of the ukes that I recommend for people just starting out for so many reasons. One is that you can get it at Best Buy. The others are that it is a really nice ukulele for the price and plays well. I pulled some out at Best Buy here in Normal, IL and found that they are all like mine in every way. The only thing that I think is funny is that they put a pitch pipe in with it, WHO uses a pitch pipe anymore? That is why we have electric tuners. Just saying.

All Rating on a scale of 1-5
Click here for an explanation of reviews

First Look 5
Fit and Finish 5
Sound Type Bold and Clear
Intonation 4
Volume 5
Sustain 5
String Height Medium Low
Neck Radius Depth 3/4″
Frets 5
Tuning 5
Comfort 5
Sound Hole Smell Nothing

HD Audio Clip

Places to buy on the web:
Best Buy $99
Amazon $99

Honestly, if you find it for less than $99 it would be weird. I think that is the static price that everyone is told to sell it at.

Gallery

 

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12 thoughts on “Cordoba UP110 Ukulele Pack Full Review

  1. Good review. They even have Cordobas at the Best Buy at the Mall of America, although I think they were the more expensive ones the last time I went in to look. I’ll have to go in next time I’m there. I just like to show them there is uke interest…..

  2. Paul Cote says:

    I checked out that Ukulele at BestBuy too and really thought it was pretty nice. I won a hundred dollar Best Buy gift certificate in a drawing at work and almost bought that ukulele. What is stopping me is there is a Guitar Center next door and I also went in there. They have a 15CM for the same price as the 10CM. I compared the 15CM to the Lanakais and Fenders and the Mitchell and it was better than all of them.

    So I basically liked the 15CM at the same price as the 10CM a little better but still did not get it yet. I wish my gift certificate worked at guitar center. But BestBuy carries the 15CM too but they just don’t have any in stock! That may be the Concert I get.

    I got a makala tenor online and just got it today. It is pretty nice! I put some Martin Fluorocarbons on it. If I bring home yet another uke, my wife will kill me! I do like the Cordobas.

  3. Nickie McNichols says:

    I bought the kit, too. I really love this ukulele. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I already had a baritone from Hilo, and I never touch it anymore. I also have a Makala Dolphin soprano, and it’s much harder to play than the Cordoba. I’m hanging that one on the wall.

  4. Desiree says:

    I have this uke and I really like it. Mine is a little more reddish in color than the one you have, but it has the same subtle vertical stripes in the wood grain. The finish is definitely silky as you describe and since all edges are nicely finished it is very comfortable to hold.

    I was also able to try a Cordoba 25SK and loved it too. It’s on my ukulele wishlist 🙂

  5. franck3d says:

    I found this uke for $75 at my local BestBuy! I saw it on the website for $99 and checked to see if they had it in my store and they did, but when I got there it was $25 less!
    I couldn’t be happier with this ukulele. It was such a step up from my first “beginner” uke. I fell in love with the wood and the finish as soon as I held it.
    The only issue I have with mine is that the 6th fret is a little high, so I get a buzz when playing any note at the 5th. Not terrible but worth mentioning I suppose.

  6. Leah says:

    I’m looking to buy a ukulele, and had Cordoba recommended to me – this review is extremely helpful, thank you so much!

  7. Triduana says:

    I use a pitch pipe, or a tuning fork, or the piano, …

  8. Eric Bye says:

    Thanks for this helpful review. I currently have a bid in on an eBay Cordoba concert uke, and your comments validate my choice. I have been noodling with an antique banjo uke for a while, and it looks like the Cordoba will be a good move for me.

  9. Bojo says:

    I ended up with the UP110 just this week and it is awesome for the price. My friends have the 15CM and I really do not know what the difference is aside from the abalone rosette. They are both loud for such small pieces but tend to somehow sound closer to classical guitars more than ukes. But I’m just a beginner so what do I know?

    My 10CM came with Aquilas and have so far kept in tune but I only get to use it around an hour per day so far. Hopefully, it lives to its reputation as one of the best beginner ukes out there. I’m excited to learn! Thanks for the review.

  10. C. O. Jones says:

    I have one and it is a beautiful instrument both in construction and sound, but it is one of the older ones that was hand made in either Spain or Portugal. I don’t think there is a way to tell in which country each particular one was made. Now they are made in China, so you need to look and try out carefully before you buy, as they are factory made and regardless of where and who made it, they are not as ‘identical’ as they used to be… The glue on the fret-board is a tell-tale sign of the difference between the Spanish/Portugese made instruments and the Chinese ones– the end-care and quality control is not really as good any more, but is still much better than others also made in China– they have terrific sound that I attribute to the fact that they do come with a better class of strings. This is much more important than the wood they are made of…

  11. Larry Tuck says:

    Thanks for the great review. It helped me make the decision to buy the Cordoba UP100 package. I paid $89 for it at a local music store. After about a month, I’m very happy with it as a starter uke. That’s not to say that I’m not already thinking about an upgrade, but for now I’m learning at lot and having fun with it.

    I want to give a few updates, since the package I bought is a little different than the one described here.

    First, the ukulele is similar, but not identical. Most obviously there is no rosette, so it looks pretty plain. I have to admit, I do kind of wish I’d sprung for a few bucks more to get the fancier-looking 15CM. The wood looks very much like your picture, darker in color than the one shown in Cordoba’s promotional pictures. Nice looking wood with interesting grain. Looking inside, the label says UP100, not 10CM. The corner bracing is not kerfed like the one in your picture. It appears to be a strip of the same laminate material used for the body.

    The strings are not Aquilas, unlike Cordoba’s other models (I e-mailed Cordoba to confirm this).

    That said, it sounds pretty nice to me. Mellow and rather guitar-like with the factory strings. Sustain was not great and there was a slight problem with intonation on the C and E strings past the 8th or 10th fret. I replaced the factory strings with Aquila New Nylgut a few days ago. They make a noticeable difference: The sound is brighter and seems a little louder, sustain is better, and the intonation is improved. I want to try some other strings but I can recommend the Aquilas. That’s not to say the factory strings are awful — they’re actually okay — but the Aquilas do sound better.

    As for the rest of the package: It now comes with an electronic tuner, which works well, and the gig bag is decent for a package at this price point. They include two guitar picks, which is odd for a ukulele — I wish they had at least put felt ukulele picks in there.

    All in all, this is a great starter set. For the price, if I lose interest in a couple of months and never play again (which seems unlikely, but it could happen) I won’t feel bad about the amount of money I spent. If I keep playing, I’ll be better-prepared to make an intelligent buying decision when I go to pick out a higher-end uke, and I’ll keep this one to take camping and let the grandkids play on.

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