Artisan A5 review by Cort

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  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.3 (53 votes)
Cort: Artisan A5

Purchased from: West Music

Overall Impression — 10
I love this bass. If I needed a four-string down the road, I would buy the A4, and the same goes for a six-string. I wish it had a 35" neck, a bone nut, and easier access to the truss rod, but the good definitely outweighs the not-so good (because "bad" wouldn't be the right word). I would definitely recommend this bass to anybody, but definitely try it out before you buy it. You may or may not be satisfied with how close the strings are to each other. "The choice of professionals" is a very accurate slogan of Cort regarding this model.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will definitely outlive me. Just holding it you get the impression that this is a very strong and sturdy piece of work. It's very heavy, so a cushy strap is a must for this bass. The strap buttons are somewhat small and the strap falls off the horn quite a bit, but this is easily fixed with strap-loks, duct tape, whatever your preference is. This bass is great for playing live, not only because it sounds great it's fun to show off as well.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The neck seems short, but it is in fact a 34" neck with full access to all 24 frets. I immediately noticed how close together the strings are, which definitely makes it easier to play chords and solo. Bending strings is a problem on this guitar. The strings are hard to bend, and theh strings are so closs together you can't bend them very far without running into another. Otherwise the action is very low and fast, and is a thrill to play. The finish really makes this bass stand out. It reveals the beauty of the wood and shines brilliantly. Cort used to do three finishes (Natural, Honey Burts, Trans Royal Blue), but now they only produce models in the Natural finish. Regardless, I have never seen a prettier finish than on Cort's Artisan series (except for maybe Alembic basses, but you get what you pay for). I love the platinum hardware too.

Features — 10
I fell in love with this bass the moment I saw it on the shelf. This axe is one of the most beautiful musical instruments I have ever seen, with its neck-through construction and natural finish that shows every grain of the maple body and maple/african wenge neck. It has two Bartolini MK1 soapbar-styled pickups and an MK1 EQ with a active/passive push/pull switch. It has five knobs: Master Volume, Pickup Balance, Lo Frequency, Mid Frequency, and Hi Frequency. The original comes with a Fortress bridge, but mine came with a Fishman Piezo bridge. The 9-Volt battery compartment on the back is easy to access, no tools are necessary. The five strings fit very snugly onto the four-string-sized neck. The neck itself is a 34" scale, and the action is very fast and every one of the 24 frets are easily accessable. The fretboard is made from a dark rosewood. The Hipshot tuners are non-locking and the nut is metal rather than bone. A screw-off panel on the back allows easy access to the EQ and electronics. The cord jack lies on the side rather than the front. The truss rod configuration is my only real gripe about this guitar. It's at the bass of the headstock under an unscrewable panel, but before all this the strings must be removed.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've owned an A5 for more than a year and I just love it. I like my Fender Std Jazz bass, but I love the A5. I found a very special pearl white version through for 575. This is a top class instrument the sound is beautiful. Only thing you have to get used to is the string spacing which is a bit narrow if you are the all time slapper. You can slap this bass no problem, but it seems to go easier on the Fender. But on the other hand, if you do mostly finger style, like me, it is super fast and easy. Mine has a normal Hipshot bridge (no Fishman piezo) and Hipshot tuners. All hardware is dark chrome and top quality. I've put on some Dadario Chrome flat wound strings and they make this bass sound sooooo good. God forbid, but if this baby was ever to be stolen I would definitely buy it again.
    Great review, it describes this bass perfectly. This bass in awesome in every aspect. Too bad that it was 300 more then a Peavey Gring 5 lol.
    the cow team
    this bass sounds awesome on a Hartke amp. or on any other amp, but even better on Hartke!
    My bassist just got one of these 2 weeks ago, it's a monster thing to play. I sat down with it for about 20 minutes and I love the thing, a huge upgrade from what he played before.
    Jojo Babangida
    I have an A5 with mahogany body (OPN), hipshot bridge, hiphot lic. tuners and Bartolini pickups. I love this bass,it's awesome. Luthier also did a good job - IMO it's comfortable (for finger style, and slapping too). A5 sounds great on Ampeg amp.
    I have the a4 custom z. I have been thru about 20 some basses in my day, playing 35 years. Yamaha, Ibanez, schecter, Fender, etc. My favorite was an aria pro sb700 dumbass me pawned it 20 years ago. Ouch!! I recently bought and sold both peavey grind and cirrus, the new Chapman. By far the best is my cort a4 artisan custom z. The other artisan series are nice, but I appreciate the step up from the Bart Mk1 pups to the cbc's. I originally was going to buy the open pore red cap, but they were out of them, and offered me the z for the same price.$ 700 bucks. Yay! I think retail was$1200. Absolutely solid. I do a lot of lead and chording. Tons of flexibility and headroom. I swore that my next bass was going to be a Carvin, but the specs are actually better on the Cort when I priced it out with all the goodies(about $2500 for a comparable Carvin)