With some huge sounds matched by incredible playability, the Cort KX508MS 8-String multi-scale loaded with Fishman Fluence pickups brings some serious thunder when you pick it up and play. Nick Jennison tells us more.
The multi-scale takes centre stage. Designed to make your playing experience the best it can be, the frets feel entirely natural - how they were always meant to be. You'll be shredding through songs with ease, with the ebony fretboard and pristine neck allowing for incredibly fast access to each fret position. Whether you're playing some ambient, clean music or tearing through metal, this dynamic and responsive instrument will show you what a guitar can really do.
Extended range guitars pose a number of problems to builders. A typical 6-string guitar sports a scale length (the distance between nut and saddle) of 25.5". This works perfectly well for standard tuning, but downtune more than a few semitones and things start to get very loose and flabby. You can remedy this with really heavy strings, but the results might be darker than you'd like. This is a problem for 7 string guitars, even more so on 8 strings, where the low F# string is only a tone higher than the low E on a 4-string bass (typically 34" scale).
So we need a longer scale length to accommodate low tunings then? Yes, but not so fast. Imagine putting a .010 gauge E string on a bass guitar and tuning it to pitch. Assuming you can get it there without breaking the string, it'll be so tight that it'll be deeply unpleasant to play (and to listen to). The solution? Multi-scale. A multi-scale guitar uses a shorter scale on the treble strings and a longer one on the bass strings, with frets that fan out from the treble side to the bass side. This way, every string gets it's own "optimal" scale length.
The Cort KX508MS is just such an instrument, and an excellent example of one at that. While some more affordable multi-scale guitars can feel very alien, the adapting to playing KX508MS is very easy thanks to the 9th fret neutral position (meaning the 9th fret is "straight", with the other frets fanning out from there). This makes the fan much less pronounced across the majority of the fretboard compared to the typical "12th fret neutral" necks found on other "affordable" musicale guitars. This requires a much more pronounced bridge and pickup angle compared to 12th fret neutral models, which drives costs up, so kudos to Cort for not cutting any corners here.
The pickups are the superb Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers. In addition to sounding staggeringly good, the lack of polepieces on these pickups means they're much more forgiving when it comes to angle and string alignment. The articulation and string-to-string balance is wonderful, and there's a very impressive range to tones available (12 in total!).
The rest of the spec is equally impressive, with locking tuners, a thick poplar burl top (with matching headstock veneer) and a super-stable maple and purpleheart neck with an ebony fretboard. The finish looks great in the flesh, but personally, I'd prefer something less eye-catching. It comes strung with D'addario EXL120-8 strings, running 9-65. The .009 feels great with the 26.5" scale, but the .065 is way too light - we swapped it out for a .078 with great results and no trouble with the nut or tuners whatsoever.
If you're considering making the jump to a multi-scale extended range instrument, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better guitar for the money. The neck and the exceptional pickups make the KX508MS hard to beat.
9th fret neutral position is super comfortable. Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers are a massive selling point.
Stock low string is way too light.
Swamp Ash Body:
Poplar Burl Top
Maple/Amaranth Bolt-on Neck
24 Fanned Frets
Fishman Fluence Modern Humbuckers
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