Producing over one million instruments a year in its own right and as a contractor for other brands, Far East guitar giant Cort offers an extensive tally of acoustics, to which has recently been added the Chinese-made Luce Series. Luce is Italian for ‘light', and these affordably-priced guitars claim that characteristic thanks to fairly small body sizes and low-weight, resonant construction. There's an eight-strong line-up of concert, folk-cutaway and parlour styles, and a new electrostatic lacquering process, reducing finish thickness by 30 per cent, which is also said to enhance sonic quality.
This curvy cutaway folk is the cheapest Luce electro, with smart looks that don't betray its entry-level status. It has a body of decent-looking solid spruce and laminated mahogany, a silky smooth all-over satin finish, a rosewood fingerboard that carries black binding that continues across the end of the fingerboard, and internal strutting which is delicately fashioned and very tidy.
One neat practical touch is a central dishing of the bridge behind the saddle, so the pins sit lower, providing a good string break-angle regardless of action height. All trim, including the rosewood headstock overlay and cream body binding with multi-ply top purfling, is neatly addressed.
The three-piece mahogany neck is attached to the body by a traditional glued dovetail.
It's of mainstream dimensions, kicking off at 42.5mm across the nut, with a bridge string spacing of just under the regulation 55mm. The slightly flat-backed ‘C' profile is moderate in depth, providing an easy, snug grip. Fretting is well dressed and polished, and the only minor comfort improvement would be to round off the front corners of the nut, which are quite sharp. A few seconds with a file, the job's done.
The L100F uses one of Fishman's new Ion preamps, the Plus, which offers two band EQ, phase reverse and a fast-responding, accurate auto-chromatic tuner. The quick-release battery housing is incorporated on the jack-socket plate.
I've heard outright punchier folk-sized guitars, but the L100F's voicing is pleasingly clear, buoyant and sustainful. The tonal character is nicely poised between sunny highs and compensating low-end warmth, with added front-end snap when digging in. This guitar really earns its keep as an electro: inter-string balance is spot-on, the gain is plentiful, and very little EQ tweaking is required to deliver a largely natural, convincing palette of powered sounds. Excellent.