Any information about Cort Strat copies?

Swamp_Thang

Strat-O-Master
Jun 12, 2021
518
Melbourne, Australia
I've found a cheap Cort Strat copy for sale. It's the older version with a Strat style body with a non Fender style headstock. It's made in Korea. I assume in the 90s or early 00s.

Are these good for modifying? Would it be a solid wood body or plywood? I assume it's pretty close to Fender specs, as they made guitars for Squier around that time.
 

dvqc1

Strat-Talker
Sep 13, 2015
189
Missouri
I have owned several Corts and some were fantastic while others not so much. Cort does make for the most part a well built guitar and some of the vintage ones were especially nice. I rarely buy new guitars but back in the 90's I did buy a brand new Cort Matt Guitar Murphy model and it was a sweet guitar. Most likely it is a solid body guitar because they made very few guitars out of plywood if any, Plywood is generally reserved for extremely cheap guitars. They are great for upgrading and I have modded several over the years. Never pass up a vintage Cort if you can get it cheap.
 

soulman969

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,560
Fort Collins, CO
I would agree with dvqc1. While I can't speak to the one you're looking at I have 3 Cort built G&Ls and have also owned two others. They are very well built instruments.

Cort is a contract manufacturer for a number of other popular brands including Squier, and Ibanez among others. Their own brand is also very well respected.
 

rmackowsky

Strat-Talker
Mar 13, 2021
348
North Carolina
12E9FC63-4D16-4903-950C-C299D4D19240.jpeg
I've found a cheap Cort Strat copy for sale. It's the older version with a Strat style body with a non Fender style headstock. It's made in Korea. I assume in the 90s or early 00s.

Are these good for modifying? Would it be a solid wood body or plywood? I assume it's pretty close to Fender specs, as they made guitars for Squier around that time.
Sounds like you may have found exactly what I had and modified. It was my main guitar for 30 years - sounded great. I didn’t modifiyit in any way until recently. Link to my partscaster build thread:

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/partscaster-finally-finished-….569991/#post-4441924
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,476
Michigan
.

Don't go down the path of "Price=Quality" thinking. Otherwise just buy some other guitar.

Korean Cort guitars are going to be quite good -- better than the Squiers of the era, which they made for Fender. Cort and Samick make 95% of the guitars for the other brands at the brand's specs. When they make their own stuff it matches MIA models for 'Quality' in most respects.
The neck will be a better copy of MIA than Squier (which tends to be skinny), full sized body and chunkier neck (unless a specific model was designed to be 'thin and fast for shredding!').

Where Squier uses half sized pots, the Cort/Samick models will use full sized Alpha pots.

These are the things to inspect and swap when you get that guitar:
-use a fret rocker on all the frets next to each string, mark any high spots, if only a few (most likely) then spot fix, if many then do (or pay for) a fret level job and setup and the guitar will play like a Custom Shop.
-Pull out the original wiring harness complete, wire up a new one with MIA pots/switch/jack for long durability and feel.
-Leave the pickups, trem, nut, and tuners. Swapping those are either a waste of time and money, or risky like the players who swap nuts because the Internet told them to and they don't know how to set it up and end up with a 'wall hanger' that plays out of tune. Set the pickups (that will be ceramic magnet style) low to the body for best tone, adjust pickup 'tip' for bass/treble pleasantness by ear.
-Block the trem like Eric Clapton approves. That way you will spend no time trying to do dive bombs and messing with tuning issues -- Eric Clapton does this on top end MIA Strats.

While quite unlikely for a Cort-branded guitar, some of the brands they built for at that time used laminated bodies (like Silvertone and maybe some Squire) and that will only matter for resale to the next player who fears 'plywood'. 'Plywood' has no bearing on your guitar's tone even though Marketing tries to tell you it does. If you are worried then go on youtube and look up guitars made from: corrugated cardboard (Fender custom shop), cement, jawbreaker candies, pencils, steel, plastic, and more. If you are still worried then buy a different guitar.

While you are replacing the electric control parts ... wire the guitar with the Armstrong Blender mod (SSS blends to series HSH) and you'll have a guitar that can cover anything.

.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
76
Los Angeles
Beware the 10mm string to string and screw mount tremolo, 50mm overall. My 1994 Ibanez RX 20 was made by Cort, Korea. It was first year for a new entry level series. The one piece maple 22 fret, maple fingerboard neck allows low action and is very fast. The 40mm solid maple body (SG's are thinner!) is a lot thinner than a Fender standard Stratocaster. Your Cort will differ, these can be very good guitars, this is one of the best playing/sounding electrics I've got my hands on.

So does anyone have a lead on a 10mm spacing bridge? My preference is to mod the plate for a 52.5mm block rather than re-drill the body. Guitar Fetish used to sell one. The block is so short that on dive the springs hit, it can take a 37mm or so, 42mm would protrude.
 

White Dog

Strat-O-Master
Jan 19, 2020
920
Iowa
My Korean made 1985 Harmony H80T Strat copy is 50mm nut and pickup pole spacing, and plywood. It is heavy; but it's what I cut my teeth on....and it was built right and has stood the test of time. Still play it today; though I DID have to replace the loaded pickgaurd and input jack recently due to age and wear. Got 36 years of maintenance free joy out of it. Due for a fret change, so gets played a little less these days since I have 15 other guitars to choose from...but still plays and sounds great.
 

rmackowsky

Strat-Talker
Mar 13, 2021
348
North Carolina
Beware the 10mm string to string and screw mount tremolo, 50mm overall. My 1994 Ibanez RX 20 was made by Cort, Korea. It was first year for a new entry level series. The one piece maple 22 fret, maple fingerboard neck allows low action and is very fast. The 40mm solid maple body (SG's are thinner!) is a lot thinner than a Fender standard Stratocaster. Your Cort will differ, these can be very good guitars, this is one of the best playing/sounding electrics I've got my hands on.

So does anyone have a lead on a 10mm spacing bridge? My preference is to mod the plate for a 52.5mm block rather than re-drill the body. Guitar Fetish used to sell one. The block is so short that on dive the springs hit, it can take a 37mm or so, 42mm would protrude.

Yea, ran into that problem too. Very hard to find 50 mm trem bridge. I decided to convert to 2 point floating trem. Worth the effort.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
76
Los Angeles
Yea, ran into that problem too. Very hard to find 50 mm trem bridge. I decided to convert to 2 point floating trem. Worth the effort.
Two point is the standard, it is good that worked for your guitar. The wood needs to be dense, at least at higher string tension, or the two pivots will pitch forward. Licensed Floyd Rose on inexpensive guitars include an "anchor plate" with two screws between the inserts. The quirkiness of six point is fun to play with, it should be stronger, and I guess it sounds different.

If you happen to have that old 50mm bridge, I am certainly looking for one! A drill press should make it possible to get holes to line up. I replaced the stock 10mm zinc saddles with 10.4mm with string groove which holds strings apart as saddles splay out. 56mm heel, plenty of room on neck. I picked up a Music Lily short brass block, and also have a spare zinc which is taller and looks like the three block screws are pretty close.

Back to OP and should I buy an old Cort. I would like this to be my secret, but a thin body is a perfect way to build a high performance and inexpensive guitar. Making the body thinner avoids the fuss with an "all access neck joint", my Cort is comfortable on the high frets with the blocky but thinner heel. And I lucked out that only 1994-95 on Cort Ibanez was "american light maple" (what kind of maple is that actually?) combined with the PowerSound pickups, this thing rips! As we have seen here, some of these were plywood. I would not pay $300 for one, half that is what they should sell for. Then again, a one piece maple neck is hard to find in this price range.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
76
Los Angeles
Yep - still have it. It’s yours if you want it.
Wow that is super neat!
This is the plan for the Cort, and if it goes wrong, I need backup. This is a 1979 Yamaha SR500 which came with a MAZAK bridge. That bridge went squish on the knife edges. Fortunately, the six point spacing was 10.5mm. This brass block was available on that "Sittin' on a dock by the bAY" web site although any block could be notched to make space for the Floyd receiver. The top side high E saddle also needs to be narrowed to clear the nut on the bar.

("The one with the most guitars wins" - and I lost that battle. More than one because Yamaha is in standard E and the Cort in C#.)
 
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brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
76
Los Angeles
Yep - still have it. It’s yours if you want it.
This was super nice of you, rmackowsky sent me a complete 10mm bridge! It differs a bit from mine, but I have been using it to sort out how to fix my RX20.

To conclude in the context of this thread, Cort guitars can be very good, maybe in a certain range of years even, like early 90's to early 2000's. With less expensive guitars I think you can get lucky, but often times the instrument will be just OK, as it was intended to be. For example, on this 1994 Ibanez Cort RX20, the neck is one piece, and as far as I can tell the maple fingerboard is not a cap, maybe that is part of why this thing rings. The resonant buzzing almost tickles the left hand, the thing rings and sustains very well. And "soft" maple (Ibanez calls it "american light") makes an excellent guitar body!

The flip side is there is weird stuff going on with a low end, non standard guitar. This one is only 40mm thick, so it takes a special block or more mods to fit. The 10mm pivot spacing is a real drag because there are so many excellent 10.5mm bridges out there. It does take a 6mm threaded arm which is great for whammy work. I was able to fit the musiclily brass block by using a carbide "end mill" drill bit to widen the outer trem block holes in the plate. The string holes are close enough. The 1/8" end mill also was able to oval to the outside the saddle screw holes so that 10.5mm saddles can sit parallel. The whammy hole seldom lines up, a lot of oval filing here so that maybe later I can ream it to 8mm and add a Floyd bar. But this is a _lot_ of work. No way would it be worth it, except that I had the misfortune of finding this thing that was so close to being awesome. It could not whammy because short block caused springs to hit . . .

One more Cort note - I also have a Dean Custom 450 neck thru from early 2000's with a shark headstock, abalone dots, and mahogany wings as far as I can tell. I did not know it was made by Cort until I saw a listing for an early 2000's Ibanez RGT42 in black pearl, the same basic guitar with basswood wings and an Ibanez headstock, and apparently made in the Cort factory. My 450 is fantastic, came with HZ and switched to EMG active, low profile licensed Floyd with rare 10.8mm spacing. But it does have a small flaw - the bridge posts are off alignment with the neck by 1mm, so the nut was placed 1mm to the side to compensate.

It is worth reading of the history of Cort, and Samick.
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Jan 23, 2020
4,674
NW LA
.

Don't go down the path of "Price=Quality" thinking. Otherwise just buy some other guitar.

Korean Cort guitars are going to be quite good -- better than the Squiers of the era, which they made for Fender. Cort and Samick make 95% of the guitars for the other brands at the brand's specs. When they make their own stuff it matches MIA models for 'Quality' in most respects.
The neck will be a better copy of MIA than Squier (which tends to be skinny), full sized body and chunkier neck (unless a specific model was designed to be 'thin and fast for shredding!').

Where Squier uses half sized pots, the Cort/Samick models will use full sized Alpha pots.

These are the things to inspect and swap when you get that guitar:
-use a fret rocker on all the frets next to each string, mark any high spots, if only a few (most likely) then spot fix, if many then do (or pay for) a fret level job and setup and the guitar will play like a Custom Shop.
-Pull out the original wiring harness complete, wire up a new one with MIA pots/switch/jack for long durability and feel.
-Leave the pickups, trem, nut, and tuners. Swapping those are either a waste of time and money, or risky like the players who swap nuts because the Internet told them to and they don't know how to set it up and end up with a 'wall hanger' that plays out of tune. Set the pickups (that will be ceramic magnet style) low to the body for best tone, adjust pickup 'tip' for bass/treble pleasantness by ear.
-Block the trem like Eric Clapton approves. That way you will spend no time trying to do dive bombs and messing with tuning issues -- Eric Clapton does this on top end MIA Strats.

While quite unlikely for a Cort-branded guitar, some of the brands they built for at that time used laminated bodies (like Silvertone and maybe some Squire) and that will only matter for resale to the next player who fears 'plywood'. 'Plywood' has no bearing on your guitar's tone even though Marketing tries to tell you it does. If you are worried then go on youtube and look up guitars made from: corrugated cardboard (Fender custom shop), cement, jawbreaker candies, pencils, steel, plastic, and more. If you are still worried then buy a different guitar.

While you are replacing the electric control parts ... wire the guitar with the Armstrong Blender mod (SSS blends to series HSH) and you'll have a guitar that can cover anything.

.

I thought Samick built Silvertone guitars since they own the name. Not Cort. Both of mine are solid wood bodies. Not sure I've seen any laminated, modern Silvertones TBH.
 


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