If you are looking for an alternative to learning guitars or basses, you do not need to look further than ukuleles.
No, they are not just for kids — plenty of adults of all ages have picked up the instrument in recent years, and for many good reasons!
One of the biggest motivations for people choosing to learn ukulele is just how fun they are to play.
They are much lighter than the typical guitar and have a pretty and ‘light’ sound to them that is appealing to all kinds of audiences.
Their history is intriguing as well. While many may attribute the invention of ukuleles to Hawaiians, it was actually immigrants from Portuguese islands that brought the enjoyable little instrument to Hawaii, where its popularity exploded. Now, individuals from all over the globe rock out on the little instrument.
Other significant reasons for the popularity of ukuleles are the ease-of-play, their fashionable look and their portability. These instruments are perfect for putting in the car and taking to the beach to strum away in paradise. The only difficult part of playing the ukulele? Choosing just which one to purchase.
The Cordoba 15 TM Tenor: Classic Sound and Playability
Cordoba ukuleles are the usual go-to when it comes to starter instruments. Cordoba makes plenty of larger-sized models, which can be helpful for beginners who are getting used to the actual form of the uke. This brand is also favored by many players for the large variety of ukuleles available, all using different woods, structures and colors. And one of those go-to models is the Cordoba 15TM Tenor.
Tenor ukuleles, in general, are a larger size, and this model fits those dimensions, sitting at 26 x 9.25 x 4 inches. It is also made of solid Mahogany wood, giving the instrument its rich aesthetic. The strings are nylon, perfect for beginners who have not gotten used to the feeling of strings on their fingers.
There is no doubt that this ukulele is a popular choice, but what about its quality, sound and overall look? What are its great advantages and unfortunate disadvantages?
What is GOOD about the Cordoba 15TM Tenor?
Sure, the Cordoba 15TM Tenor fits the ‘cute look’ tradition that most people expect out of a ukulele, but what about the fundamentals of the instrument? How does its sound and playability fit into the equation?
- Sounds like a classic: Fortunately, this ukulele checks off the ‘sound’ box on the list of necessities for purchasing the instrument. Its sound is crisp and clear, with the perfect intonation (or consistent pitch as your fingers move up the fingerboard). The sound also sounds just as good whether you strum or fingerpick, giving you plenty of playing options. It also has a very dynamic range, making it a good pick for any kind of music genre you want to play.
- Excellent playability: Ukuleles are meant to be extremely playable, and this ukulele is no exception. It is perfect for beginners and also super fun for intermediate or professional ukulele players who want to jam on the uke for prolonged periods.
- Lightweight: Though this particular model may be bigger than other ukuleles, it remains lightweight and easy to hold. Other tenor ukes may seem clunky in a player’s hands, but this model finds the perfect balance between large and light!
- Beautiful look: Yes, this ukulele is exceptionally attractive. This may be due to its mahogany make, a popular choice for those buying a uke for the first time. It manages to look both natural and ultra-sleek and modern at the same time.
- Inspiring: Many new players of the ukulele have emphasized how this model inspired them to branch out and learn many other different kinds of instruments as well. In fact, this uke is the perfect gateway to the music world.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Beginners will fall in love with this ukulele for all the right reasons, including its pleasing sound, gorgeous look and ease-of-use. In fact, they may just find themselves trying out all kinds of instruments after picking up this model!
Other things about the Cordoba 15TM Tenor?
Every ukulele model comes with its disadvantages as well, and that includes the Cordoba 15TM Tenor. The construction of this instrument has been an issue for some, particularly with more advanced players.
- Tuning issues: Though Cordoba strongly emphasizes how simple it is to tune this instrument, there have been issues with the model actually staying in tune. Some customers and critics alike have noted that the strings go out of tune quickly, sometimes even just after a few minutes of play. Others have said that it took them more than a week or two of playing to get the strings fully in tune.
- Miscontruction: Another common trend with cons of this model is the actual construction of the instrument. There have been reports of the neck of the ukulele being installed at the wrong angle, bridges being too high and flimsy nut that seemed to be simply glued onto the instrument. This has definitely affected the playability of the instrument, making some exchange it or ask for a refund.
- High action: While the ukelele has nylon strings that go easy on fingers, the action of the instrument — or the distance between the strings and fretboard — is rather high, which causes the player to press down harder on the strings. This can cause discomfort for new players especially and may discourage them from playing. A fix for this may be to change strings at the local music shop.
- Occasional buzzing sound: While most players of this ukulele have praised its sound, there have been occasional complaints of the instrument releasing a ‘buzzing’ sound that does not sound smooth and natural. This could be another construction issue or problem with the strings.
- Finish stains: Lastly, with some arrivals of the ukulele, there have been instances of stains of the instrument’s finish. This led to an unfavorable aesthetic which took away from the look of the instrument, though this too can be fixed at a music shop or even at home.
KEY TAKEAWAY: The instrument’s price is definitely lower than its competitors, but with that low price comes potential sacrifice, especially when it comes to this instrument’s construction.
So, what’s the verdict?
It seems with every passing day, ukuleles become more and more popular, appearing in all kinds of music genres. These instruments can be a great step before taking on guitar, or for experts who want to try something fresh and new. So, is this model the way to go?
As mentioned before, choosing the right ukulele for you is often the most difficult part of learning the instrument. The most important features of any new ukulele are how it sounds and feels in one’s hands.
The Cordoba 15TM Tenor model sounds wonderful and feels especially comfortable in a player’s hands, hitting the two most important marks.
At the same time, there is always a risk with construction when buying any instrument, and that includes this model. Of course, many of the issues that come with misconstruction can be solved by visiting the local music shop or taking on a homemade fix.
In the end, this is one purchase worth making, as Cordoba remains a fan-favorite for new and professional players alike.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.