Price paid: A$ 399
Purchased from: ebay online
Features — 10
The Source is Cort's take on a 335/semi. Made in Indonesia, 2013 purchased new July 2014. Maple ply body, Canadian Maple Neck, twin humbuckers... Quite standard layout for this style of semi. If you are thinking about the Source as a "335 copy," DON'T. Searching for info on this guitar will bring up references comparing it with things like the Epiphone Dot and others. STOP RIGHT THERE! The Cort Source is way above those kinds of comparisons. If you want a real comparison for the Source test it against the top line Tokai's or even a Gibson itself. The Source is THAT good. Read below why.
Sound — 10
The Source has a traditional twin humbucker / 4 pot layout. The pickups are nothing short of superb. Look at them in detail. The pressing of the covers alone will tell you these are quality pickups that someone has put a lot of time into designing. The covers are crisply pressed with very small radiused edges, far superior to anything by Epiphone etc. The pole pieces have large screws (like Gibson) and the covers are finished in a slightly yellowish, burnished "slightly aged" style. They look like something a boutique maker would charge hundred's for. They sound fantastic and are responsive at all settings. Quality details like the pickup ring and adjustment screws being finished in black are indicators to the quality and thought put into this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Cort are one of the worlds biggest guitar makers. They can easily make the highest quality instruments when they decide to. If Cort builds a "cheap" guitar it's because someone has contracted them to, not that they can't build high quality. The Source is a classic example where Cort have sat down and decided to build a Gibson quality instrument at a fraction of the cost. Probably just to show they can. The fit and finish of the Source is superb. The neck tag shows the many stages it was signed off of and it shows. What many people will not realise is the detail that has gone into the Source. A genuine small post ARB-1 bridge (rarely found on a copy), QUALITY woods (the thickness of the top alone will show you this is far above a "copy" 335). It has things like a Graphtec Nut as standard. The machine heads feel like the quality of Schallers or Klusons. Take a look at small things like the pickguard support post, copies will only have a bent metal bracket, the Source has a Gibson style cast support... Another sign that Cort thought hard in designing this guitar to be TOP quality. Other small things like all the wiring is tucked neatly behind the f-holes and cannot be seen... the list goes on.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The Source is as reliable and durable as a Gibson except the neck of the Cort wont snap off like a Gibson because of it's scarf joint. The Source is like having a Gibson that was designed properly. These guitars are THAT good. The Source is quite heavy and just picking it up you can feel how solidly it's been built. The woods are heavy and dense, the fit is tight and when you hold it it feels whole and as one. Far higher quality that any other 335 clone by any maker including Tokai. The only true comparison is a Gibson and in many ways the Cort feels superior.
Overall Impression — 10
If your serious about a Cort Source and have got this far here is the deal. What you will be owning is a Gibson quality instrument at a fraction of the price. Without doubt in years to come these guitars will be sought after in the same way as many Japanese '70s/'80s makers have become cults like Gekki, Matsumoto etc. What Cort did in designing the Source was to showcase that they can build world class instruments at a fraction of the cost. Without doubt there was a meeting at Cort where someone said "let's show Gibson" and they have. They took traditional American quality and threw it back in their faces. The list of small details screams thought and quality. From the ABR-1 bridge to pickguard bracket to the feel, fit and finish Cort built a classic. The Source is a Gibson eater without being a 100% direct copy. It's slightly different in shape and it's not trying to be a copy. It's much more than that.