Price paid: A$ 249
Purchased from: Pawn Shop
Sound — 8
It is what it is! This guitar is not trying to emulate a 50s Tele! A great guitar if you like metal/distortion. This is what I bought it for. I love the high-output passive EMGs, I'd describe them as being low treble, high mid-low punch, and definitely clearer than any other passive pickups I've used. As I said, Distortion is this axe's strong point, clean tones can be a bit weak but with some tweaking of the EQ, a satisfactory sound can be had. There is so-close-that-makes-no-difference to no humming coming from the pickups.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is exceptional value. It was designed for heavier music, and that's what it does best. I have only been playing for a few years, but this axe will definitely last me a while. I must mention another thing: the looks. Some say looks are just superficial, but would you want a girlfriend that looked like a demon-rat? No. Looks are important, an attractive guitar make you wanna play it. This guitar is stunning to look at; the pentagram inlays are metal as f--k, so is the black hardware but it's the minor details that set it apart, like the very artistic engraved truss rod cover, the Cort logo looks like it has been rubbed/scratched off a little (intentional), there is a bit of wood showing at the headstock, and the knobs have grippy rubber o-ring things around them. It feels like a quality instrument crafted with care. If it were lost I would definately buy another one. Heck at $250 I'd buy three! My bandmate just bought a second hand Epiphone SG for $400 + hardcase, and this just blows it out of the water. I cannot stress the value of this instrument enough. If you play metal and have limited funds to purchase a guitar this IS the guitar for you. Not many guitars can touch this at this price.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar is as tough as any, the strap buttons are average, but one would be naive to gig without strap locks anyway, so I've yet to understood the obsession with quality strap buttons. I would also never gig without a backup, even if the guitar was made of solid steel and had a Halo-like force field around it. The paint work is flawless, it hasn't got a scratch on it yet, so I'd say the finish is quite tough.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Since I bought this guitar second hand, I can't say what it was like when it left the factory. I can say the previous owner was a complete dim-wit though. As soon as I buy a guitar, new or used, I purchase a set of strings. I did some research on how to change the strings on a Floyd-Rose, changed them, no worries. Then I tried tuning the axe up to my desired tuning. It wouldn't, the Bridge just kept tilting higher and higher. I took the back plate off, one of the springs were gone! The previous owner tightened the springs as far as possible, stripping the screw head while he was at it, and for some reason setting up the remaining 4 springs diagonally (mismatched holes). It was ugly. God knows what drugs that guy was on. So I just stole a spring from one of my other guitars and it worked a treat. Everything else was perfect, pickups were a good height, neck relief just right, I'm guessing the previous owner gave up on his DIY activities before he got to the neck and pickups, so I nominate Cort for a good setup on this behalf. At first the neck was naturally a little weird, because I'm used to playing 7 string guitars, but I found it quite comfortable after a very short time with it. I'm going to give this a 6 because I have limited knowledge about what the guitar was like new.
Features — 8
This guitar is basically a lower level guitar designed mostly for metal/distortion use. It has some quality features usually only seen on higher priced guitars. Specs from Cort's website: CONSTRUCTION: Bolt-on BODY: Mahogany NECK: Maple, Modern "C" Shape BINDING: n/a FRETBOARD: Rosewood, 15 3/4" Radius(400mm) FRETS: 24 / Jumbo (2.9mm) SCALE: 25 1/2" (648mm) INLAY: EVL Pentagon Circles TUNERS: Die cast BRIDGE: Double locking-III PICKUPS: EMG-HZ H4 (H-H) ELECTRONICS: 1 volume, 1 tone, 3way toggle HARDWARE: Platinum STRINGS: D'Addario USA SPECIAL: EVL hairline truss rod cover and knobs with O-rings I have a slightly older model with black hardware and a low-gloss black finish. I like the finish because it's harder to see smudges, and I haven't scratched it yet. I paid $250 Australian (reduced from $350) which is a great prices for a guitar with so many features. This is the first time I've owned a guitar with a Floyd Rose-type bridge, and I can see why people love them. The thing NEVER goes out of tune, no matter how much I abuse the whammy bar. Another thing I love is the high frets are super-easily accessible, it's easy to make a guitar with 24 frets, but I've played few that have such un-obstructed access.