6 Apr 2024

Córdoba 24C Concert Ukulele - REVIEW

Back again with a ukulele brand that has been around for the long haul now. This is the Córdoba Concert 24C ukulele.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele

Córdoba are a US brand that I have reviewed a number of times before. At their heart they are a guitar brand, but as I say above, they have been making ukuleles now for a good few years. They've always done reasonably well in the reviews without quite knocking it out of the park. I've long considered them a 'reasonable' option if nothing earth shattering, yet they are indeed popular in playing circles. The review of this one came about following my recent review of a Snail ukulele (the UKC-380 which did reasonably well too) with similar looks on the wood front. A reader got in touch to ask me what I thought of this alternative so I managed to get hold of one. This was bought blind for review from a general music store, not a specialist.


Like that Snail, the 24C is a double bout concert ukulele and the wood pairings here are similar too in the pairing of spruce with spalted maple. This model has actually been around for a while, but originally came with a solid cedar top with this spruce offering being fairly new. Annoyingly a lot of dealers online have not caught up and have listings for this suggesting cedar when the product pictures are clearly spruce! Solid spruce it is, and laminate spalted maple on the back and sides. Like the Snail this is more 'pale on pale' in looks, something I didn't care for but started to grow on me with the Snail because the spalting was pretty limited. I'm not a huge fan of spalting and maybe that's why - there was little of it! The maple here is much more figured than the Snail was. and it's very nicely bookmatched on the back and sides showing off some nice mirrored patterns and differences in colour. If anything, whilst I say I am not normally a fan, this instrument is changing my outlook a little as I am really taken with it! There's a lot going on here to gaze at.  Wonders will never cease with Baz..  One thing I will say about spalting though is, because it is natural, it will differ from instrument to instrument. If you buy remotely you don't know what you are getting!

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele body

The bridge is a much more traditional affair here with the use of a tie bar made from pau ferro wood. It's nice to see the side 'wings' are not too large here and it's finished pretty tidily. Sitting in that is a compensated top saddle made of bone. Spacing here is 41mm.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele bridge

The decoration here is also more to my tastes than the Snail, principally because of a lack of abalone! Here we have reddish padauk wood bindings to the top and back each trimmed with black and white purfling. It's all very tidily done too and nice to note that the edges are chamfered off leaving no sharp angles. It's very smooth all round and comfortable to hold! The sound hole gets more padauk with black edging which is a little more scruffy to look at up close. The body is finished in an open pore satin which again is extremely smooth everywhere. Pretty tidy all round really.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele decor

Inside is very tidy with notched linings and thin braces. The top is braced vertically down either side of the bridge plate and the lower bouts have extra angled bracing pieces. The top is also very thin.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele inside

The neck is made from pale mahogany in three pieces with obvious joints.  The profile is pretty generically rounded and wide at 35mm and 27mm G to A. Not my kind of neck at all. Still at least it is satin coated and it actually slightly wider at the nut than the Snail i'm referring to.  It's still too skinny for me though.

That's topped with more pau ferro for the fingerboard which looks to be in good condition and has some interesting grain in it. That is edge bound in more padauk which I don't like the look of here.  A minor point but the red against the dark brown of the fingerboard looks a bit odd to me despite it matching the body.  It comes with 18 frets joined at the 14th and despite the edge binding the frets are only just on the edge of not being sharp.  Pearl position dots face out at the 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th and there are side dots too.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele neck

Above the bone nut is the usual Córdoba headstock which I have always found reminiscent of Kanile'a. I wonder which actually came first? The logo is screen printed in a pearly silver on the top face. Incidentally, it looks like the headstock is faced on more maple, but with none of the spalting. I think the headstock looks kind of plain myself..

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele headstock

The tuners are generic looking open gears with small black buttons, but the gearing looks decent. Saying that, there is a bit of slop and play in a couple of them which is irritating. I still much prefer these to the Snail though.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele tuners

Finishing it off is nothing more than a set of Aquila strings so look elsewhere for a gig bag (an omission in this day and age in my view). Saying that, the deal is cheaper than the Snail as these seem to be in stores for around £190 (some a bit higher, some a bit lower). That Snail stands out even more so now for being too expensive. This Córdoba is a fair price I think.

So all pretty good here. I'm liking most things about the looks and the core build and most of the finishing is great. I stress again that when you go with a spalted wood ukulele the patterning can differ quite wildly, but I got lucky here. And bear in mind this didn't come from a ukulele specialist either. It's light to hold at only 475g and balances well too. Setup is not bad on this one, perhaps a touch high at the 12th, but within acceptable tolerances.

Cordoba 24C Concert Ukulele back

Basics first - the volume here is great and gives me no cause for complaints. The sustain is pretty good too, so things are still on the positive tracks with this one.

Like I said about the Snail, I was concerned about it being too bright a sound on account of the wood choices, but in reality it was more down the middle. And it's much the same here. It's clearly got a brighter edge to it, but there is more going on in the mids too. What really strikes me about this is the clarity of the tone and individual notes which is really great. When strummed those notes stay clear, but work well together creating a bouncy jangly sound which is great for rhythmical passages. I think it's a delight played this way.

Fingerpicking I think sounds a little more one dimensional in tone and without as much character. It's clear, chimey and pretty, but a bit more 'one trick' played like this. I really am nit picking though as it's still nice to listen to, I just find I want to add the odd strum in the passages to bring back that bounce. But all in all on tone it comes together well I think.

As you can tell I like this one quite a lot and it's been given the best score I've given to a Córdoba. It's a brand that i've always found rather 'safe' but think this one goes beyond that. Well built and finished with a decent tone and only minor gripes which are largely subjective (I do think it needs better tuners and a bag though). Still, it's easy to give this a recommendation!


Model: Córdoba 24C
Scale: Concert
Body: Solid spruce top, laminate maple back and sides
Bridge: Pau ferro tie bar
Saddle: Bone, compensated
Finish: Satin
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Pau ferro
Frets: 18, 14 to body
Nut: Bone
Nut width: 35mm, 27mm G to A
Tuners: Open gears
Strings: Aquila
Weight: 475g
Country of origin: China
Price: Circa £190


Nice looks (on this example!)
Overall good build and finish
Good volume and sustain
Clear pleasant tone
Fair price


Neck width not for me
Tuners are bit sloppy
Check what you are getting - variable spalting!
No bag


Looks - 9 out of 10
Fit and finish -  8.5 out of 10
Sound - 9 out of 10 
Value for money - 9 out of 10








1 comment:

  1. Nice and fair review. Thanks. I bought the Tenor version with cutaway and pickup a few months back. It fitted my specs, the tenor has a 38mm fretboard, and the sound is right for the purpose (I got both the brighter and the mellower sounds covered by other ukes). The setup was spot-on, too. There were, however, some serious quality issues. (i) one bracing on the top was lose, there was simply no glue under it, and it buzzed. (ii) one of the toothpicks that hold the bridge in place was not sanded down in the bridge slot, hence the pickup strongly favoured the C-string. (iii) finally it turned out that the under-saddle piezo was broken altogether and had to be swapped. (iv) the fret ends were sharp and the whole set of strings was shifted a millimeter sideways. An instrument of this price range should never have passed QC.
    So what did I do? Since tone-wise it was pretty much what I needed I decided to invest a couple of hours to repair all of this and now it is a really nice instrument which I use for gigs. Fortunately, I could do the repairs myself. Otherwise I would have had to add a 120-150 quid for a luthier's bill.


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