Before we get into our Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar Review, let’s consider that as long as there has been music, there has been a need for bass. You cannot pretend the need is not there; it is essential to a balanced sound. But since musicians decided to play together there have been problems and the biggest one is the volume of the instrument.
When things were quieter, it didn’t matter so much. But with jazz bands and blues bands, the drummers started to get louder (bless them). Trumpets and other such instruments joined in and drowned out the poor bass player. The days of the acoustic bass, upright or other, were on the wane, and something had to be done.
One man took some action…
Just two men are principally responsible for today’s pop, rock, and associated genres in music. The amplification from London and Jim Marshall, who created a sound that to this day, has never been bettered. And with the bass guitar from California, Leo Fender.
In 1951 Leo gave us the best bass guitar the world has ever seen. The four-stringed, single-coil Fender Precision. It was goodbye to the acoustic bass as volumes went through the roof.
But it never really went away…
There is still a market in the quieter jazz combos and lounge trios. It is still with us, and sometimes late at night, you can still hear the acoustic bass tones emanating from somewhere.
One of the companies that have persevered is Cordoba guitars. Who are they? You might ask?.
You may have guessed by the name that Cordoba originates from Spain, and they make acoustic guitars. Mostly nylon-strung instruments, but they also make ukuleles. They have specialized in the Spanish and Flamenco style guitars, and they have a wide price range depending on quality.
The top of the range is still made in Valencia in Spain. This bass and most of the other models are now made in China. They also make acoustic basses and acoustic-electric basses, and that is what we are going to look at in this review.
Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – An Overview
When a young potential musician decides they might want to play the bass, there are two potential obstacles. Firstly the size of it. Electric bases tend to be quite big and often very heavy. The second issue is you will also need an amplifier to go with the bass.
With this Acoustic-Electric Bass, Cordoba have solved both problems.
A superb choice for a beginner…
This is a bass guitar with a slightly smaller body size, making it ideal for a starter. Along with the body size, goes a smaller fingerboard width and a shorter scale length. If you think that this might be a toy guitar, you would be very wrong. Yes, it is smaller, but it is the real thing.
Made of quality woods to a high spec, it has the sound, and it is easy to play. And not only can it be played acoustically, but you can also plug it in. For an experienced musician, it is a guitar you can travel around with, and it can be played anywhere.
So what is this bass guitar all about? Let’s take a closer look…
It is made by a guitar manufacturer steeped in the traditions of the Spanish Flamenco and Acoustic guitar. It is, therefore, not surprising that the style of this bass mirrors those designs.
Cordoba has made sure that they have used good quality tonewoods. There is a solid spruce top and ebony back and sides. The ebony has a striped design that adds a bit of color and a different look. The top uses a thinner soundboard design. It has been given a natural finish with a simple rosette pattern around the soundhole.
There is no cutaway giving extra resonance to the sound generated by the size of the body. It is 34 inches long, and therefore the body size isn’t particularly voluminous. This will have an effect on the sound, of course, but it does have a reasonable depth in the build, which helps the low frequencies generated.
The bass is given a Satin polyurethane finish that completes the attractive neutral look of the instrument.
Inside the body is a fan-braced design. We mentioned the thinner soundboard, which may have surprised some people. When you combine a hollow body with a thinner soundboard and then apply fan-bracing, it gives you a warm sound. This, in itself, is one reason for the much stronger bass response.
The sound that you get from this guitar is hard to imagine considering its body size.
Cordoba has continued the theme of quality woods by using Mahogany for the neck. It is ¾ size, so it will tune perfectly to a standard E. The scale length is a comfortable 22⅞ inches. The neck has been given a nice and easy ‘C’ profile with a satin finish.
There is a composite fingerboard with dot inlays. It has 19 frets, but as there is no cutaway, only 14 are readily available. It has an adjustable truss rod.
Easy to play…
This is a no-frills neck that has been designed with ease of playing as its criteria, and it achieves that comfortably. The thickness and length of the neck is often the hardest thing about learning the bass as a starter. A scaled-down easy to play neck is therefore important and a great advantage to a beginner.
Often one of the areas that cuts are made in the costs of manufacture, and realistically that applies with this bass. There is nothing exciting about the hardware. Plain and simple and cost-effective is how it might be described.
The bridge is a composite material, but it has been given a NuBone saddle. Likewise, the nut is also Nubone. This is considered a step up from just using plastic, which can have an effect on sound and note sustain.
Good string choice…
Up at the top are four sealed black tuners. The headstock itself is nicely-created with an attractive finish. Normally we would not comment on strings that a manufacturer includes. They are often extremely, how can we say it, basic.
However, this bass has been given coated phosphor bronze strings with a nylon core. Coated strings like this are good for providing a cutting edge to go with the natural deep frequencies. And are, therefore, a good choice of string. The gauges are .037 to .090.
I don’t think the Fender Precision has too much to worry about from an amplified sound point of view. Acoustic-Electric guitars are often not the best sounding and are very prone to feedback. This is very much the case here. The sound we will discuss later.
Being acoustic-electric, it has a built-in pickup and preamp. The pickup is a traditional under-saddle design. We are not great fans of under-saddle pickups. If you are going to have one we prefer under the bridge which is inside the guitar.
However, given this is a reasonably priced guitar and designed for a starter, we are not going to quibble. Do you get sound when you plug it in? That’s what is supposed to happen.
And there’s more…
It also has a 3-band EQ and comes with a tuner. Basic but good additions. It takes a 9v battery, and the battery compartment is located beside the strap button on the body. This button also serves as the jack plug socket to plug it in.
How does it play?
With a starter guitar, be it bass or six-string, it is always difficult to make it playable and cost-effective for the student. Some manufacturers, of course, don’t bother, and the guitar is virtually unplayable. Good manufacturers address this problem, and Cordoba has done well in this area.
It is lightweight, weighing only three pounds, and is nicely balanced. Being a three-quarter size, it is easy to hold. The neck is the real positive with this bass. It is quite slim, and therefore young hands can get around it. For adults, it is also extremely comfortable, and the strings are not too close together.
As we said earlier, it isn’t going to challenge a Precision when it is plugged in. The sound is very much like most acoustic bass guitars with a pickup. It sounds rather unflattering and unbalanced. You really can’t expect very much more. If you want to hear a great sounding acoustic-electric bass, you have to pay a lot of money.
But we think the idea of this bass is not really to take on stage and plug it in. It is just a little extra for when you are playing or practicing at home, and you want a bit more volume. That is ok and is acceptable to us at this price point. If you do plug it in, expect a little feedback if you crank it up too much. We tend to think you probably won’t.
When it is unplugged, and it is played as an acoustic, then it becomes a different animal. We would agree that it is not a four-figure sound, but it is quite good. It has a rich and robust tone, helped by the strings, and is very resonant. As an acoustic bass, it works well.
Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar Review Pros and Cons
- Good sound for the reasonable price.
- Easy and fun to play.
- Excellent choice for a beginner.
- Sounds good amplified as well.
- None considering the price.
Looking for some other super bass guitar options?
Cordoba Guitars 4 String Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar Review Conclusion
What do we think?
When you are considering this bass, you do need to compare it to similarly priced guitars. There aren’t that many to choose from, but it stands up well. The sound is good enough unplugged and a bit of fun for home when amplified. It plays very well indeed and is great for a beginner.
But it is also good for the experienced musician who wants a bass at home or to travel with. And tuning to a standard ‘E’ is a big advantage. You will be surprised at its clarity and roundness of sound. We don’t think Leo needs to panic just yet, but that’s not why it was built.
A very good instrument as an acoustic bass. It looks good and sounds nice. And it is a bit of fun plugged in. In our view, it is worth the price.
Happy acoustic bass playing.