Price paid: $ 160
Purchased from: MG, Jakarta
Sound — 7
About the sound... Actually I didn't expect much, but I've done all of my gigs with this baby, and... It's great. Really. My music style is based on rock. Though I've played lots of music -funk, jazz, groove, ethnic, freaky, "dangdut", desert, pop, reggae - my electric guitar playing root is still rock. Or maybe metal. Or prog. Ah, whatever you wanna call it. It's still music. When I first bought it I played Muse - now I play Dream Theater. Sometimes I loathe the bad sound quality on low tunings, but I can care less, because I play solos more often now. All the sweeping, shredding, tapping - those things went well with this guitar. I used it with a Dunlop Dime CryBaby Wah and Boss DS-1 Taiwan-made. Amp-wise, rented. (From the gig's sound system). The best amp to match all these in my experience is a Marshall JCM900 head-cabinet. Sounds pretty great, not too muddy, but not too bright. Tone-wise, nothing so significant, since Agathis ain't a tonewood, but all that matters for my young and untrained ears is that this thing distorts well, and noiseless on most occasions. Lately I've been trying to get Stratty clean sounds, and, though sounded quite thin, it can be achieved by coil-tapping or putting the pickup selector to pos. 2, 3, 4. Pretty cool, bright snappy tone. If I had a Memory Man I'd get gold. As for the humbuckers, they are solid and thick. The bridge is thick and sharp, good for palm muting and pinch-harmonics, though after 5 tough years it dulls a bit. The neck is pretty good, my favorite sound selection for shredding (it's a pretty good save/cheat when you suck at the moment). Blurs distorted chords but works well on clean, very bassy. I've been trying to get jazz-guitar sounds (I'm infected with George Benson and Pat Metheny since I was a fetus), by rolling down the tone knob and playing with the amp's EQ. Not very satisfying, but kinda cool. I really wish this thing comes with DiMarzio Liquifire or Breed, plus a MusicMan piezo pickup. And I wish this is a seven-string guitar. But it'll make the price fly, I guess.
Overall Impression — 8
Hell, this is my first guitar, my whole playing starts here! All the skill, techniques, ideas, songs, even love for certain kinds of music. My first 5 years of shredding won't ever happen if I didn't buy this particular guitar. On the official site they say that the X series are made for speed. But the official prices are so high, $200-above. How did I stumble upon this cheap version? I have no idea. All that I know is that this guitar turned me from a strumming lad to a shredding maniac. If it were stolen I'd sulk - for I have lost my first ever electric guitar. But I'll save some money and try on several upper-class Cort X-series, like the X-TH or X-11.
Reliability & Durability — 6
Well it could have been my fault not to take care of this guitar seriously, but to be honest, I'm disappointed in this, especially for the hardware - the bridge, pots, jack, and fret. The neck bends a bit after years of playing, because of my whammy play. Strap buttons are unexpectedly strong. They are in fact rustless. I worry about my strap more. I'll use it on a gig without backup - I MUST! I have no other electric guitar. I don't care much about the finish since I put stickers on 'em. I'd like to have a natural-satin finish guitar myself anyway (remember Nuno Bettencourt's Washburn? ). I never fancied beautiful finishes. Or so I thought.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I was too much of a noob when I bought this, so I've kinda forgotten all of the factory settings. Over the years I've played with the Truss Rod, the pickup height, the bridge height, and now it is on the best setting - but worst hardware condition! With this weather in equator, the humidity and all, things rust pretty fast, especially when you didn't maintain it well since the beginning. My bad. - After 5 years this thing certainly needs re-fretting - I just haven't found out where. Oh, I scalloped this thing on fret 20-24. Makes it much more better for bends. - Dents and cracks? Not much, nothing significant. Pretty tough guy, if you don't accidentaly drop it or scratch it with a sandpaper. - Pickup selector is silent, but on some occasion it sounds when I change the pickup position. Maybe it's the voltage or something. - This thing has only electrified me 3 times in its life. - The bridge routing is not too deep. It prevents string breaks, I think. - The locking nut is pretty good. - And I've mentioned that the output jack is loose, and on mine, the soldered parts gets off. But you can always DIY or get to the nearest guitar store. - The Volume pot is not too loose, not too tight, perfect for my stuff. But on mine, it is now loose inside, so occasionally when I turn it too often the sound will be dead. Major danger in gigs.
Features — 8
An electric guitar. LOL. Made in around 2004-2005. Indonesia-made. SN: 060541361. 24 frets, Thin natural-satin finish neck, Maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard. Laminated top. Body is Agathis (mine is the cheap version). Dark Blue, laminated. Superstrat model. Floyd Rose model tremolo bridge, with locking nuts. Mine rusts & even chips on the 6th and 5th string saddles. Passive Electronics. 1 volume knob, 1 tone knob (push-pull pot for coil-tapping). 5-way pickup selector. After 5 years my volume knob gets pretty rusty and loose. Gotta repair it someday. Jack position on the side of the body. On mine, the soldered parts gets separated after 2 years. Repaired, but will never be the same again, still gets loose sometimes, until now. H-S-H pickups, MightyMite Humbuckers. Rusty on the 6th string position due to sweatdrop from palm-muting. Just Standard modern black tuners, tuner position: descending, in a row (Strat style). Purchase including... the great Floyd Rose Tremolo handle. When I change strings for the first time, the tremolo springs are too weak, so I bought stronger ones. Now, to play it safe, I stick to Standard E-tuning with .009 D'Addario EXL120 strings. All in all, this baby fits the bill and is enough for me.