December 28, 2010 by Tim
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.
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
Case: Gig Bag
Other: Pitch Pipe (Really? who uses a pitch pipe?)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Fit and Finish||5|
|Sound Type||Bold and Clear|
|String Height||Medium Low|
|Neck Radius Depth||3/4″|
|Sound Hole Smell||Nothing|
HD Audio Clip
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.