Cordoba 20CM Ukulele
I was looking for an entry ukulele that had a nice sound and was pretty enough to pick up every day. And also not too expensive so I wouldn't feel too guarded about taking it anywhere or getting it a little dinged. Well, the 20CM does have a really nice sound (it's supposed to have a solid mahogany top), tuners don't slip and the rosette does add to the pretty factor but I'm not sure it is worth the step up in price - $160 versus the average $100 starters out there. The craftsmanship is poor so $60 didn't buy better quality and I'm not sure I can hear the difference of a "solid" mahogany top. The laminate on the back is very thin, the top edge has a small chip where the back meets the sides so you can see the layers. That edge is also rough and poorly sanded and some areas show a lighter wood, another sign of a thin laminate - it's not easy to cut and then sand a thin laminate cleanly. And the top of the head is also rough and poorly sanded - adding to the tacky "Cordoba" tape label. The tape does have a varnish layer to protect it but I was surprised by the peel-and-stick tape. Even though I knew the 20CM was made in China and I truly expected quality issues, I am a little disappointed. There are a lot of 5-star reviews out there for the 20CM; mine is not a "5". Sweetwater does have a good return policy but honestly not worth the hassle to package and ship and then possibly get something worse in return. Ukuleles under $300 apparently don't get the careful 55-point evaluation. I will play it, ding it up some more and then move up to a Soprano that is not made in China. So if you are in the market for a starter ukulele go to a box store and try out a few. If the sound of the 20CM is worth the extra $60, check out the edges before you bring it home. Ordering online at that price point is simply too hit-or-miss.