Small-bodied guitars are quite fashionable these days, and the Mini II, a new instrument by Cordoba, is a nice example of a miniature nylon-string that’s easy to play—and easy on the wallet.
The Mini II is the successor to Cordoba’s popular Mini. More ukulele-like in character, the Mini has a short-scale fretboard of 20 inches and is tuned a perfect fourth higher than a standard guitar, from A to A. The standard-tuned Mini II has a slightly bigger and deeper body than the Mini, along with a longer, 22-7/8″-scale neck. It’s obviously closer to the guitar end of the spectrum than its predecessor.
There are three different versions of the Mini II—the MH (layered mahogany top, back, and sides), FMH (layered flamed mahogany), and EB-CE (solid spruce top and layered striped ebony back and sides). I auditioned the FMH, a smart-looking guitar with a deeply figured body and headstock cap and faux tortoiseshell body binding and rosette. Overall, the Mini II FMH is nicely built, with an inviting satin finish and tidy interior. But the frets on our test model were a bit sharp at the ends, and they could have been better polished.
That observation aside, the Mini II plays quite well for both open and barred formations. And though I’m accustomed to longer-scale fretboards, I didn’t have any problems adjusting to this instrument, thanks to its generous nut width of 1-7/8 inches. The notes sound true and clear up and down the neck—not a given on a guitar at this price point—though the bottom strings do buzz a bit when the guitar is played forcefully.
Overall, the Mini II has a dulcet voice, and what it lacks in sustain and loudness, it makes up for in warmth. The guitar sounds right at home whether I’m working on the classical studies in this issue’s Weekly Workout, playing through Adam Levy’s Willie Nelson lesson from the July 2018 issue of AG, or just strumming cowboy chords with my thumb.
Given the instrument’s diminutive size, I asked my daughter, who is six and has recently been enjoying exploring the ukulele and piano, to take the Mini II for a spin. She found it much more manageable than the full-size guitars we have at home, and quickly bonded with it, discovering her own chord shapes and insisting that she teach them to me.
The Mini II would make a perfect starter guitar for a child, or a nice travel option for an adult player. And, starting at $129 MAP for the plain mahogany version, it’s a buy that’s hard to beat in a good-quality new guitar.
BODY 14-fret mini size; layered flamed mahogany top, back, and sides; fan bracing; composite bridge; satin polyurethane finish
NECK Mahogany neck; composite fretboard; 22-7/8″ scale length; 1-7/8″ NuBone nut; Cordoba satin nickel tuners with black buttons; satin polyurethane finish
EXTRAS Strap buttons; Savarez Cristal Corum High Tension 500CJ strings
MADE IN China