What is it?
A limited-edition electric guitar, spec'd up for high-speed playing and whammy-bar pyrotechnics, there is little chance of you browsing in your local store and somehow missing Cort's X300 LE Mosaic.
The Mosaic is a double-cutaway offset electric, fitted with a pair of EMG Retro Active Hot 70 humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. There is a double-locking Floyd Rose vibrato.
With a 25.5" scale length and an ebony fingerboard in a flat, speed-friendly 15.75” radius, topped with 24 jumbo frets, and a svelte three-piece maple neck, the X300 is the sort of instrument you might reach for when you need to offload some notes in a hurry.
So far, so very typical for a next-generation S-style. This spec is par for the course. But wait, look at that finish. That's where the Mosaic takes its name from, and that's why there's no missing this.
The body is mahogany topped with a maple, rosewood, panga panga and purpleheart patterned top that you will either find hideous or a risk worth taking.
Cort is certainly not playing the percentages – that's for sure. For our money, it always seems like a misstep to give people a reason to walk away from the guitar before they have picked it up. After all, the X300 has plenty to recommend once you plug in and play.
Performance and verdict
The Mosaic is one of those electrics that require a deep breath and a little discipline to not let your fingers take liberties and overplay. It's all down to that 400mm (15.75-inch radius fingerboard, with the jumbo frets. You can easily pop on up to the dusty end, with ample sculpting in the heel area for scooting around the upper registers.
Where the Mosaic takes you by surprise is in the versatility of those EMG Retro Active Hot 70 humbuckers. It's not so much good cop, bad cop; it's vintage rock cop, super-hot metal cop, with an Alnico 5 magnet in the neck 'bucker proffering a more old-school tone (not quite PAF-esque, not that old-school) that complements the punch of its ceramic counterpart in the bridge.
• Jackson X Series Soloist SL4 DX
A shred wolf in an old-time 50s-style finish, this Soloist is a rock animal on demand, don't overlook it for bluesy rock and fusion styles. This is a high-performance electric with hidden depths.
• Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH
“It’s still a shred guitar,” we hear you cry. Actually, spec-wise, the DK24 isn’t a million miles away from something like a Suhr Modern. The build quality and attention to detail places this DK24 above much of the competition.
• Cort G290 FAT
The strong range of features that accompany this sonic capability offered at this price is why we think Cort has issued another strong claim to be a go-to contemporary affordable brand.
The clean tones on the bridge pickup won't win you any awards, but they do poke through the mix, and a little chorus might take the sharp edges of them. Just add gain, however, and that forthright quality becomes something altogether more musical. The sharpness turns to sizzle, and you'll have no trouble teasing EVH-style harmonics out of it, heaps of juicy sustain if you set your amp just right.
On the neck pickup, this situation is not exactly reversed. It similarly loves gain. It too has power. It has exceptional clarity. It'll work for the hottest blues, for rock, and if you push through a throttled Marshall it can present itself as a denim-clad holdover from the 70s – a nice traditional counterpart to a blazing 'bridge humbucker.
Is all this enough to get past the finish? For some, that'll be a stretch, but it would be enough for us to check out the similarly spec'd X300, which has an American basswood with flame maple top. Nothing wrong with that, and the use of basswood calls to mind some of the best Ibanez RG shredders from the late 80s. Hey, this X300 cheaper, too.
Looks are totally subjective. If the Mosaic works for you, more power to your elbow. There's little else to fault the build, the tones work for a variety of purposes and a go-faster electric such as this will always be fun.
MusicRadar verdict: The Mosaic offers a very respectable '80s rock and metal performance, and in keeping with the decade's appetite for aesthetic excess, it duly goes over the top with its multi-wood top. To say the least, it won't be to everyone's taste, but maybe that's the point.
The web says
"Okay, the patchwork quilt top is an acquired taste but there’s no denying the value of that flat fingerboard radius, the jumbo frets and your classic double-locking Floyd Rose. The versatile EMG pickups round off the throwback '80s metal vibe."
- PRICE: $825 / £699
- ORIGIN: Indonesia
- TYPE: Offset double-cutaway solid body electric guitar
- BODY: Mahogany w/ maple, rosewood, panga panga and purpleheart mosaic top
- NECK: 3-piece Canadian hard maple, bolt-on
- SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
- NUT/WIDTH: Floyd Rose locking/42.85mm
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony, 400mm (15.75”) radius
- FRETS: 24, jumbo
- HARDWARE: Black Floyd Rose Special double-locking vibrato, Cort die-cast tuners
- STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 54mm
- ELECTRICS: 2x EMG Retro Active Hot 70 humbuckers, 3-way pickup selector lever switch, master volume, master tone,
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3.6/7.14
- OPTIONS: None
- RANGE OPTIONS: Cort X300 (£449) has the same spec as X300 LE Mosaic apart from American basswood with flame maple top body in Brown Burst, Grey Burst and Blue Burst finishes
- LEFT HANDERS: No
- FINISHES: Mosaic (as reviewed)
- CONACT: Cort Guitars