Cort, like the majority of huge Asian brands, offers a diverse range of guitars. We last caught up with its collaboration with Manson guitars here in the UK, the Manson MBC-1 Matthew Bellamy Signature. This cutaway electro-nylon string couldn't be more different.
It has a few things in common, however, with that Bellamy signature in that it's very crisply made with an attractive price-point.
"It really has quite a percussive 'Spanish' tonality: crisp highs, a quick attack and not a huge sustain"
Combine a narrower nut width (44.9mm), some 6mm thinner than a concert classical, but with a wide classical-style string spacing at the tie-block bridge of 60mm, not to mention a lightly cambered fingerboard and reduced depth, and you have an intentionally stage-friendly, 'crossover' guitar.
It seems ideal for any player wanting to don nylons who doesn't want to go down the hardcore classical guitar route.
Construction-wise, it's classed by Cort as having an SFX outline, which falls into the grand-auditorium bracket and certainly isn't many millimetres away from Takamine's NEX outline, not least the upturned, round-nosed cutaway horn.
The body is wider than a conventional classical at 402mm and, as we say, the depth is reduced from a more classical dimension of approx 100mm, to 85mm.
Typical of the modern electro-nylons, we have an adjustable truss-rod although the three piece mahogany neck has a noticeable slight V to its profile in lower positions - much more steel-string-like. However, the crisp, tidy bracing at least includes proper classical-style fan bracing.
Typical of the modern Chinese-made style, the fingerboard is bound with black plastic and, again quite typical at this price, the small frets, though very nicely installed, haven't been properly polished, giving a scratchy feel to any slight bend.
Powering comes from a simple Fishman setup: a Sonicore under-saddle married with a Presys preamp featuring volume, bass, mid and treble mini-rotary controls, plus a feedback-defeating phase switch and onboard tuner.
Slackening off the strings and giving a good rub to the frets and fingerboard dramatically improves the feel of the guitar and takes all of 10 minutes.
Acoustically, well, it's far from the loudest nylon-string we've ever played, and lacks some richness in the lower end and lower mids. But as an amplified stage guitar - not to mention a perfectly good at-home practice instrument - it justifies its cost. It really has quite a percussive 'Spanish' tonality: crisp highs, a quick attack and not a huge sustain.
The D and A strings are a little underpowered, which might be the strings, or more likely a slight imbalance caused by the fitting of the under-saddle. Plus, the onboard tuner on our model doesn't work.
A little fingerboard TLC goes a long way, and the non-functioning tuner would immediately be sorted by any dealer. For a student, or a player wanting to experiment with the nylon 'crossover' genre without breaking the bank, certainly for onstage use and at-home practice, it's a very valid instrument.