Cordoba Mini II Review: Small size, big fun

Guitarists on the go love a small scale, travel guitar. Not the concert giving classical guitarists, of course, but those who play it for fun and recreation. And crossover artists from the acoustic/electric world love a small scale classical guitar for its interesting tonal colors.

Without a doubt, from its build and features and actual user comments, the Cordoba Mini II fulfills this travel need capably. It is lighter and smaller than a full size, nylon string guitar and has the scale length of a half-size guitar like Cordoba’s own C1M 1/2 (580 mm or 22 7/8”). It also features a narrower nut width at 1 7/8” (48 mm), making it easier to play.

  • The size is travel friendly
  • It’s easy to carry along, strum and play for acoustic/electric players
  • It’s a great practice guitar for classical guitarists on the move
  • It’s an ideal beginner guitar

While many scaled down guitars resemble an ukulele in shape and sound, the Mini II is distinctly more guitar than anything else. A mini guitar sound perhaps but a guitar nevertheless. It is called the Mini II because it follows in the footsteps of Cordoba’s Mini from which it is quite different in fundamental ways as we will see shortly. And the Mini II comes in 3 tone wood variations, one of which is electric.

Cordoba Mini II MH: All mahogany popular choice

The Mini II MH Mahogany is the cheapest variant of the three and is quite popular. It varies from the earlier Mini model in basic ways: it is larger at 580 mm scale length, is tuned to the standard guitar tuning of EADGBE (the Mini had the A tuning) and has a deeper body. So its well-rounded tone is closer to a full-size nylon string guitar.

The all-mahogany construction (top, back and sides) helps in the tone too. If you’re familiar with the earlier Mini model with its definite ukulele-like character, you should know the Mini II is a clean departure from it.

Once we accept the Mini II for what it is – a smaller, cheaper guitar – and place some realistic expectations on it, it is easier to appreciate its soft and mellow sound and general playability. You can’t complain about the sub-$150 price tag either. It is an attractive looking guitar too.

Check price Mini II MHAmazon link
Body TopMahogany
Top Bracing PatternFan
Soundhole Diameter84mm (3 1/3″)
RosetteAbalone
Top BindingBlack ABS
Back and Sides WoodMahogany
Scale Length22 7/8″ 580mm
Truss RodIncluded
ColorNatural (NAT)
Nut Width48mm (1 7/8″)
Frets19
FinishSatin Polyurethane
Tuning MachinesCordoba Satin Nickel with Black Buttons
StringsSavarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ

The Mini II makes an ideal starter guitar for a child or a nice travel option for an adult player. And, starting at below $150 for the plain mahogany version, it’s a very affordable, good quality starter guitar.

For those wanting to get into classical guitar but have been put off by the playability, the Cordoba Mini II is a worthwhile instrument to get into. It’s a nylon-string acoustic with a smaller body size, fingerboard width, and scale length that’s perfect for younger or small-built players and also electric guitarists seeking an affordable and accessible classical guitar. At its price, you wouldn’t bother much if it picked up a bruise or two during travel.

Rest assured, it won’t sound as good as a solid body Cordoba, but it also costs considerably less!

With a diminished 22.8” scale length, the fretboard is obviously a little more cramped than a full-size guitar, but users report good playability all the same.

Cordoba Mini II FMH: Flamed mahogany for an exotic look

The Mini II FMH is pretty much everything that the Mini II MH is but with an exotic look. For a slightly higher price, the FMH offers you a build with flamed mahogany top, back and sides. The sound is still reasonably good: mellow and balanced.

You can easily see the differences in the model with a glance at the table below.

Check price Mini II FMHAmazon link
Body TopFlamed Mahogany
Top Bracing PatternFan
Soundhole Diameter84mm (3 1/3″)
RosetteTortoiseshell and ABS Ring
Top BindingTortoiseshell ABS
Back and Sides WoodFlamed Mahogany
Scale Length22 7/8″ 580mm
Truss RodIncluded
ColorNatural (NAT)
Nut Width48mm (1 7/8″)
Frets19
FinishSatin Polyurethane
Tuning MachinesCordoba Satin Nickel with Black Buttons
StringsSavarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ

The sound is mellower but it is the texture that is stunning to some and worth the extra money. A few users have complained of getting this model (as also the MH) with the ends of frets very sharp and they had to file them and smooth them before playing the guitar.

The MH and the FMH, barring their cosmetic differences, are small and light, and hence easy to carry places. That’s their main advantage. The action is good and the ease of playing has been remarked upon by many user reviews. It is at the 14th fret that the neck meets the body instead of the usual 12th fret. You can play the higher notes easily even though it’s not a cutaway. So it would appear that Cordoba, in addition to making a light and portable guitar, concentrated on getting the sound and the playability right.

Cordoba Mini II EB-CE: The cutaway, amplified option

The Mini II EB-CE is a solid spruce top with striped ebony back and sides so its tone is different from the other variants. It features a cutaway design for reaching the higher frets with ease and a Córdoba pickup with an onboard tuner so you can amplify on the go.

Check price Mini II EB-CEAmazon link
Body TopSolid Spruce
Top Bracing PatternFan
Soundhole Diameter84mm (3 1/3″)
RosetteAbalone
Top BindingMaple
Back and Sides WoodStriped Ebony
Scale Length22 7/8″ 580mm
Truss RodIncluded
ColorNatural (NAT)
Nut Width48mm (1 7/8″)
Frets19
FinishSatin Polyurethane
Tuning MachinesCordoba Satin Nickel with Black Buttons
StringsSavarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ
ElectronicsCordoba MG102 – Volume, 2 Band EQ, Tuner

The cutaway model features the same dimensions as the other two variants. All the models come with single action truss rods, a standard fixture with Cordoba models. While the sound quality is more or less the same (lots of mid-range overtones) with the MH and the FMH, the cutaway model has a snappier sound.

The strings that all 3 variants come fitted with are the Savarez 500CJ, an excellent choice. These high tension strings are well regarded in the classical guitar world for their volume and clarity. And Cordoba models, unlike some brands, take to high tension strings pretty well.

In user reviews, there is repeated mention of receiving the product (all variants) with minor cosmetic blemishes like a glue smear. But on overall satisfaction with the purchase, there seems to be popular acclaim pretty much. Most think of the Cordoba Mini II as being fun. Fun to carry, fun to play, fun to travel with.

See the Mini II in action

Note: If you’re thinking of fitting steel strings to the Mini II, don’t! Classical guitars with their thinner tops and lighter bracing are not designed to take on the extra tension that steel strings exert on the guitar top. In extreme cases, you can rip the bridge off the top. Beware.

For a discussion of small scale guitars in general, read my article All About 630 mm Guitars and also 6 Great Options in 3/4 Size Guitars. For specific information on Cordoba’s C1M 3/4 size classical guitar please check out Small Enough but is it Good Enough?

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Happy plucking!

Narayan Kumar

Narayan Kumar is a passionate classical guitarist and an online research buff. He is also one half of the online classical guitar duo DuJu who put out guitar duets regularly on their YouTube channel. Read more about Narayan.

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