Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

11 Sept 2022

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

It's been a little while since I featured this brand on Got A Ukulele, but the looks of this one drew me in for more than one reason. This is the Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele


Cordoba are a pretty well known brand that have been around for a long time in ukes and longer than that in guitars. I've looked at a few and whilst they are always pretty well made and consistent, it would be fair to say that none have 'wowed' me. They are not bad instruments as such, just.. well I've found them a bit bland to be honest. And then something coloured like this comes along... Well, actually, it wasn't just the bright colour that caught my eye but it was the, dare I say 'rather lazy' similarity with the aNueNue Color series (coloured top, wooden back and sides, binding, maple fingerboard..) Ah well, there isn't a place for laziness in my scoring so we will leave that point there... Let's get into it.

The 15CM Matiz (also the name of a car model that used to be sold over here by a South Korean company).. sits along side some of their other lower end instruments in their value line. In fact there is already a regular 15CM Concert which I reviewed, although this comes with a few notable changes. They are available in a range of colours, including Classic Blue, Mango, Mint and this one 'Chilli Red'.. (remember that aNueNue comparison? - I find them a bit too bright and prefer the pastel look of the UC10). They are all full laminates, which of course the aNueNue was not - that has a solid top.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele body

So a laminate construction concert it is, in a very traditional double bout. it looks like two pieces on both the back and sides laminate mahogany, but I can't speak for the laminate mahogany top on account of the paint job though I suspect that's two pieces as well. The back and sides are left open pore satin showing off the look of mahogany, whereas the top has a flat colour paint job. I prefer the thinner paint on the aNueNue Color models, whereas this is totally opaque and looks a bit thick. There are no flaws I can see though around the body and it all feels smooth and tidy.

The bridge is a tie bar made from maple and whilst it is tidy it really is just bare wood and could have done with a coat of clear oil to smooth it off - it just looks unfinished. Sitting in that is a composite straight topped saddle. Spacing here comes in at 40mm.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele bridge


Decoration is limited to cream binding strips around the back and sides which work well and a painted white soundhole rosette. It's a nice enough detail I guess, but looks a bit on the cheap side to me.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele decor


Inside is pretty standard - tapered braces and notched linings. It's largely tidy but with a bit of glue excess here and there. What is noticeable though is that the laminate top is very thick.


Cordoba Matiz Ukulele inside


The neck is specified as mahogany in three pieces with joints in the usual places and the heel joint looking obvious. It's finished in satin too and tapers down to a profile rounder than I would personally like and a generic nut width of 35mm, 30mm G to A. 

That is topped with a maple board with some end shaping, but like the bridge feels bare on the hands and needs some treatment to smooth it off - that is the real benefit of maple after all. Interestingly it's edge bound in cream hiding the ends of the 18 frets joined at the 14th. There are no sharp edges which is nice to see. Position dots face out in black at the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th with dots in the same places on the side. 

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele neck


Beyond the composite nut is the same headstock shape as on other Cordoba ukes faced in more maple. The logo, a set of black squares in an arch, is one I can't place as it doesn't form any part of the Cordoba logo, so I am not sure what it is. I think it looks a bit childlike, but I suppose it's not life or death.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele headstock


The tuners are extremely generic cheap open gears, but thankfully, THANKFULLY after all these years, they have stopped using the enormous rectangular buttons that look so ugly. These are smaller cream ovals. They are pretty jerky to use though and not great quality.

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele tuners


Finishing things off are a set of Aquila strings and a padded gig bag in matching colour to the uke which is really nice quality, though not as cool as the aNueNue in my opinion. And you will be able to grab one for about £130 or so (or less if you shop around). So.. similar to the aNueNue Color then... but of course..

Cordoba 15CM Matiz Concert ukulele back

So largely positives here I guess, even if I do think the design is a bit lazy and, if I may say so, somewhat 'forced'. Some areas need work I think such as the finish to the bridge and fretboard, better tuners and I'm a little worried about the thickness of the top. But there are no glaring problems in the build and it feels well put together. It's not heavy at 490g and balances ok too. Setup feels a little high for me though, particularly the bridge which is at the top end of my taste and, to my ear, is throwing off the intonation played up the neck. That is easily adjusted though.

The volume and sustain are both in the good, but not stellar category. I have played far worse and it's perfectly acceptable in both counts. What it doesn't have is the 'melt your face' attack that the aNueNue has though!

Tone wise this is 'acceptable' too and it works as a ukulele. Strummed or picked it is pretty enough (bar that intonation needing dialling in up the neck), but my issue here is that it sounds a little bit muddy or strangled - kind of like there is a bigger barkier ukulele inside trying to get out. Compared to the aNueNue it just sounds flat and half asleep to me. Of course, perhaps that sole comparison is unfair as compared to other £130 ukuleles it probably holds its own, but playing it just left me wanting more. It's a hard one to describe and I am also sure that putting fluorocarbon strings on it could give it more 'zing' but as it is the tone for me remains very much 'average'.

So, tone wise, rather a short summation for Got A Ukulele, but that's because there isn't that much more to say. And that brings me back to those other Cordoba instruments - they are all pretty passable but didn't wow me - the tone of this one doesn't either.

All in all I come back to that 'forced' design comment. Maybe I shouldn't be comparing it to the aNueNue at all, but it's really hard not to for very obvious reasons. I found the aNueNue models just kind of worked more effortlessly, whereas this is trying and not quite reaching that. As I say in the review video, if it was Cordoba that stole the march on this design concept I can't believe I would have raved about them in the way I did about the aNueNue (leading to me to buying two of them!). I suspect I would have just said that it was ok, but not stellar,  not warn you off it, but wouldn't scream at you to go and buy one either...

So there you have it.. passable..



UKULELE SPECS ROUNDUP

Model: Cordoba 15CM Matiz
Scale: Concert
Body: All laminate mahogany
Bridge: Maple, Tie bar
Saddle: Composite
Spacing at saddle: 40mm
Finish: Painted top, satin finish
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Maple
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Composite
Nut width: 35mm, 27mm G to A
Tuners: Unbranded open gears
Extras: Gig bag
Strings: Aquila
Weight: 490g
Country of origin: China?
Price: Circa £130


UKULELE PROS

Good overall build
Fun looks
Reasonably good volume and sustain
Not a lot of money
Nice bag

UKULELE CONS

Some finishing is a touch agricultural
Thick top
Poor quality tuners
Sound is muted and strangled


UKULELE SCORES

Looks - 8 out of 10
Fit and finish - 7.5 out of 10
Sound - 7.5 out of 10
Value for money - 9 out of 10

OVERALL UKULELE SCORE - 8 out of 10

UKULELE VIDEO REVIEW








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2 comments :

  1. 15cm with a colored top. Numerous brands are just adding colors- kala, ohana, enya, etc. and many did so before those anuenue came out. Good idea to have black dots on that light fretboard.

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  2. The concern I have with painted soundboards in general is that the paint might also be concealing flaws or repairs in lesser quality laminate. It's one thing if the entire ukulele is painted to look kitschy or cute but it's the soundboard that accounts for much of the instrument's sound and resonance.

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