While Cordoba is more well-known for its vast selection of guitars, their ukuleles definitely do not suffer in quality. The 20BM baritone uke is an example of how a company dedicated to well-crafted instruments can bring their knowledge and expertise into any instrument.
Cordoba chose solid mahogany top as well as mahogany back and sides for the 20BM. For this price range, it really shows that they did not skimp on the quality of the tonewood. While a lot of uke specs will show mahogany as the tonewood, most times they are laminated. There is nothing criminal or bad about laminated wood, but it definitely takes down the effect of mahogany a notch or two. With solid wood, you get a full sound, great resonance and of course durability. You also can rest assured that with time and good treatment the sound and tone will only get more nuanced. The neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard that has pearl inlays on 5th, 7th and 10th frets. All in all, this might not be the most beautiful looking uke with a wow factor, but I think a lot of people, including me, prefer the more reserved design to flashy ornamentations and colors as long as it delivers on quality.
This uke come with pretty basic hardware including rosewood bridge, composite saddle, and Aquila Nylgut strings. The bridge and saddle do a pretty decent job at creating a great projection. Apart from that, you get silver tuning machine with pearl buttons that are pretty tight and hold the tune really well. The word “basic” might sound a bit harsh, especially since most of the parts of the hardware work really well, BUT to be honest, for a uke that comes at $180 and over I expect real bone or something on that level of quality. A composite saddle is not bad by any means but it is also not that durable. It does not add much to the sound and compared to some other ukes in this price range, that is definitely one thing that lacks with this uke.
The 20BM incorporates volume that can only come with bigger sized ukes and sweet, mellow sound that is associated with sopranos. The sound of this model is pretty much like the overall design – clean with no BS. Unfortunately, I have heard that some people have an issue with buzzing on certain strings. While this is not a common issue with this uke, it still seems to be a problem. If you buy a uke at this price range, taking it to a shop to get it fixed might be annoying. Of course, you might not have any issue with this or you can just return and get the one with no buzz. In any case, if you decided to buy this uke you have to consider the chance of getting the one with buzz and whether you are willing to spend more money and time on fixing the issue. Apart from that unfortunate issue, this uke delivers on the overall mellow tone, volume, and playability.
With literally hundreds and hundreds of beginner ukuleles that come at prices that make you question how the industry still exists, a uke at around $200 range might be a hard sell for a novice. But if you have done your research and know what you are looking for and what the cheaper ukes usually lack, you can easily figure out that while you might be buying a uke at a higher price you will probably be saving up some money in the long term. All in all, Cordoba 20BM is probably one of the strongest baritone models on the market with good playability, great solid wood, and deep, rich tone.