M520 review by Cort

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (48 votes)
Cort: M520

Price paid: € 300

Sound — 10
This guitar is a true workhorse in terms of versatility. It can do anything from blues to metal. I mostly play it through Line6 SpiderIII. Also played it on Marshall and Orange tube amps, but I prefer solid-states. Its tone in humbucker mode is very "lespaulish", maybe not as fat and warm but a bit of its own way. Louder on the bass and treble side and quiter in the mids. It resonates really well - I belive the all-mahogany build is the reason for it. It might be worse considering the noise but in terms of sound it really makes the difference. When overdriven, the bridge pickup is great, neck a bit less so. Good sustain overall. I was thinking about putting in some Seymour Duncans instead of MMs, but I was afraid I was going to lose the sound explained in next paragraph. When in single coil tap and on neck pickup, no effects straight into the amp, this guitar makes the most beautiful clean sound I have ever heard (it's purely my own opinion and I'm not saying it's the best clean-sound guitar in the world. You might feel completely otherwise). It's not as crisp as a Strat but very Acoustic like and I prefer it to any other guitar.

Overall Impression — 10
In terms of sound quality, this guitar will blow away any competition in this price range. I've tried Epiphones, Ibanez RGs, PRS SEs, Ltds, Deans up to 600 and some above and none could match it. Also tried a Gibson LP, American Strat and Tele and PRS for comparison which were of course better in their own teritory. If I had the money I would've bought a PRS because of its versatility, but M520 does it well still, even though it costs 10 times less. When I have the oportunity, I play a little game with other guitarists that I show guitar to. I let them play it for a while and then guess its price. Mostly they were sceptical before playing, considering the brand and origin, but afterwards they were as impressed as I was. No one called a price lower than 600. I play a bit of blues, Hendrix, RHCP, and Metallica, AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses on the heavier side. This guitar covers it all. Fat blues, rich and full Slash's, screaming Kirk's and Frusciante's and Jimi's sounds all in one package. One might call it jack of all trades, master of none, but you don't pay a master with 300 buck do you...

Reliability & Durability — 9
Guitar itself looks very solid. Finish seems very resilient and doesn't scratch easily. Chrome parts are durable. I swapped the strap buttons for Dunlop straplok and had some troubles to keep them firmly in place. I had to use bigger screws than included. It hasn't fallen to the floor yet, so I can't speak to that :D

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action was a bit to high for my taste so I had to lower it. That caused string buzzing so I had to adjust the neck a little. Also had to adjust the octaves. The most annoying part were the tuners since G string went constantly out of tune after bending so I had that fixed. After initial setup, I didn't have any troubles. Pickup selector might be a bit noisy but it doesn't bother me too much.

Features — 9
After 2 years I think it's time for a review of this amazing guitar :) If you spot this guitar from afar you might take for a PRS. Double cutaway C-shape body, black-satin finish with "ivorish" details, PRS-style angle cut head, chrome hardware. Believe me, it's a looker! Made in Indonesia but build looks of a higher quality. All-mahogany body, a bit wider, but not as fat as a LP. On the back there is a Strat-style cut away to rest easier against the body. Neck is set-in mahogany, thin and very smooth. 22-fret rosewood fretboard. Tune-O-Matic bridge with easy adjustable action. Tuners are non-locking. Pickups are two Mightymite LP humbuckers. Sadly, there are only two knobs, controling volume and tone for both pickups. On the upside, there is a single-coil tap feature on the tone knob if you pull it out. Beside the knobs is a 3-way pickup Switch (bridge/both/neck) or if single-coil tapped the coils closest to either bridge or neck are used. I would prefer to have the Switch on the upper side like LP but it's not a big deal. Also, no accessories that are worth mentioning were included. Overall, I was very impressed by the looks and features, especially in this price range.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hai, anybody can tell me what is the different between Cort m520 Indonesian made compare to Korean made. I want to know mainly about the quality of the production only. Thanks 
    well ive been playing 30yrs and purchased one a year ago. I have a 1200 strat, 900 Schector, 120 Squire telecaster. Sold a JEM777, JEM Junior and Ibanez 550. I must admit that this 520 looked good played well and sounded good. I now use it as my main guitar in the studio. Ok adding better pickups will make a difference but to be honest. The action was good the finish is good and I would replace it if it went. I was a big lover of Ibanez, but now happy with my Cort. Its not pretentious it does the job and does it well.