Cordoba Mini O
Santa Monica-based Cordoba was founded in 1997 and specialises in nylon-strung classical guitars – like this gorgeous mini model on review here. The Mini is available in three different solid tops: Mini M (Mahogany); Mini R (Rosewood); and Mini O (Ovangkol). We were sent the Ovangkol model and it looks absolutely stunning with gorgeous inlay details around the soundhole and a beautiful finish throughout. It’s a real head turner this little strummer and truly wonderful to snuggle up with on the sofa.
The Mino O’s closest competitor is arguably the Hawaiian Kanile’a GL6 Islander reviewed on our Travel Guitar page. Both instruments are the same length and use the same ADGCEA tuning. But, as we’ve tried to explain in the Kanile’a review, both instruments have had us scratching our heads. The build of the Mini O looks more classy but, because its body is quite a bit bigger, you lose a couple of frets against the Kanile’a’s longer neck. The Cordoba’s action is also a little higher and its specially-produced Aquilla strings are a tad thicker and not quite as satisfying to play. But that sound! Oh yes, this little guitar rewards the player with a warm, rich, plucky, small-bodied classical guitar tone that is just so appealing to the ear, especially when finger picked. It's remarkably loud, too, which isn't surprising given the larger body.
As we’ve said in the Kanile'a review, we find it (almost) impossibly difficult to decide between the two. Build quality is exemplary on both instruments though the Cordoba looks much more expensive than it actually is. The Cordoba also comes with a cute padded gig bag and the Kanile’a doesn’t. Ultimately you should decide but rest assured that whichever you choose, you’ll be going home with an instrument that will stay perfectly in tune, sound amazing and provide you with years of finger picking fun. For these reasons we’ve elected to give both instruments our high-five Best Buy award. Cordoba is distributed in the UK by Selectron (www.selectron-uk.co.uk).