KX5 review by Cort

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (59 votes)
Cort: KX5

Price paid: £ 200

Features — 10
I picked up a strung through body type as i have no use for a whammy bar. It has two humbuckers with a coil tap option and selections for neck, bridge and both positions. The coil tap is operated by pulling/pushing the tone control knob. The neck is bolt on maple and is fairly thin and quick to navigate. 24 medium frets and 25.5" scale. The body is basswood and based on a strat style double cutaway. The overall feel of the guitar is great. It is light and fairly small bodied. It feels very comfortable and is nicely shaped. I cant play stood up so this is all based on sitting down, but the shape sits the neck in a really nice place and it doesn't feel awkward to me at any point of the neck.

Sound — 10
The sound of this guitar is fantastic. One of my major needs when looking at a new guitar was having some scope. I play many different styles, from Latin to punk and all sorts in between. I don't play live, I record a lot though and I am always experimenting with new styles so having flexibility was a must. This guitar does not disappoint at all. Having that coil tap really opens up the sound. For example I can sit with a looper and the distinctive variations between the setting allows me to build up a full sound without the loop getting muddy. Having the capacity to swing between a deep humbucker tone to a really snappy single coil is really useful. I would say its main flaw in the sound is that when playing heavier stuff with the neck set to humbucker it can lose definition. This could be good for punchy styles but for deep riffy sorts it is best to pop it back to single coil. This is the first guitar I have had that really sings though and in my opinion it excels at this. It is pretty easy to find a Dave Gilmour style lead sound and the sustain is very pleasant. It seems just as at home when chugging chords, popping funk riffs and even fingerpicking ambient styles. I absolutely love the flexibility of this guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This is the point where I found a couple of weaknesses. The overall finish is nice and it looks great, but there are a couple of places that the painting could be a bit tidier. The tone control/coil tap switch feels a little flimsy. It works but it just feels like it could be tighter, the same can be said of the position switch. When it arrived the input jack was also loose, though it was only a couple of minutes to sort its still not great. Especially given that the input is nice and tight it did mean that without tightening it would have turned and fatigued the wiring. It did play very nicely straight out of the box and the feel and action was great. It is a shame the switches feel cheap really.

Reliability & Durability — 6
I can't really advise much here as I don't play live and I can't play stood up so things like straps are no use to me and don't really get thought about. Likewise I have no real fundamental experience of what makes a guitar better or worse for gigging. The guitar feels solid to play but I could see there being issue with the switches if you make use of them a lot when playing. It holds its tuning nicely and the weight would be nice if playing stood up.

All in all I would be reluctant to say one way or the other when it comes to live playing. It will be absolutely fine for my needs but I can take my time.

Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for 12 years now, and when I was looking for a new guitar I had very specific specs in mind. I couldn't really warrant spending too much as its not like I am earning with my instruments. Thanks to a nerve condition I also have consider weight and bulk of instruments. So I set out for an affordable, flexible, light and nice sounding guitar and I definitely got it. I have been very impressed with this guitar, with the exception of the switches it has exceeded my expectations in every way. It is great, and for the money it cost me I don't think I could have gotten better. I would absolutely buy another one if it was stolen. The coil tap has been transformative to my playing and I am really glad I took that into account when buying. It feels great, it sounds great and it looks great. I just wish that the switches were better so that I could have rated things higher, they let down what is a fantastic guitar. I compared it to my friends Epiphone LP from the same price bracket and I would never take that over the Cort, in my opinion it is far superior. If you are looking for guitars in this price bracket then I would personally recommend it and it is certainly worth keeping in mind.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good review. Brings out the exact issues the guitar has. The neck feel is perfect and the action is awesome. Overall the guitar is a bit flimsy with its volume/tone knobs and the finishing is not very neat. I have a white one. Its beautiful though
    A guitar can be like a piece of furniture. Will a $200 Dresser hold up thru countless moves as well as a on that costs a grand ? No. will it hold your stuff ? Yes. I had a 70's era Aria flying V that I bought in the early 90's that played and sounded better than the real Gibson one I bought back in 2014. Good for Cort for filling a need !