Established during the 1970s, Cort is a major manufacturer from the Far East with production sources in Korea, China and Indonesia.
Cort builds for many brands, and has also used its own name since 1986; its guitars target the less-expensive market, and designs range from derivative to distinctive.
The three-strong Classic Rock line was launched earlier this year and the Les Paul leanings are very obvious, although the body horn is bigger than on the real thing. Up for inspection is the CR100.
As the lowest-cost Classic Rock, the CR100 has a bolt-on neck. This un-Les Paul-like method harks back to the meagre-money mimics first seen in the ’70s and is still used at the entry level end, although some makers manage a glued-in neck for the same sort of dosh.
The CR100’s neck is made of maple and secured by the usual four screws plus a metal neckplate. The 22 medium-gauge frets are nicely finished, combining with the smooth, broad radius rosewood fingerboard and a friendly, C-shape neck profile to provide easy playability.
Up on the headstock, all six tuners are noticeably crooked, but more care has been taken over the nut, with string slots cut for minimal action. The solid mahogany body is slimmer in depth than standard and accordingly much lighter. The front is carved, with a sunburst finish that complements the high gloss translucent cherry employed elsewhere. A cream plastic pickguard hints
at the Heritage brand, and the Cort Powersound humbuckers are controlled by volume and tone pots apiece, plus a three-way selector, all laid out in the usual fashion. The tuneomatic copy bridge and stop bar tailpiece are equally Gibson-orientated.
The CR100 has a bright and breezy acoustic nature, but the pickups’ beefy output contradicts the lightweight feel. The neck humbucker combines depth with good definition, while the bridge enhances the mids and adds a treble edge.
The centre option blends both to supply a sweeter, more tubular tone. The CR100 goes well with gain, dirtying up to deliver sounds that suits bluesy bending through to thrashy rock, while the controls offer positive and progressive adjustments.
Cort’s Classic Rocks aren’t intended to be authentic repros, but they look familiar enough to find favour with first-time buyers on a budget. The CR100 plays and sounds better than the price might suggest. It feels a bit insubstantial but the sounds are anything but. Copies are still very popular, especially at the affordable end of the market, and these Corts tick most of the right boxes. They’re up against some stiff competition, but help to prove that modern mimics are better than many of their predecessors.