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This article was originally published in issue #21
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Cort's reputation seems to be growing fast in a crowded marketplace. Now the Korean guitar specialist has turned its attention to the electro-acoustic market. Rick Graham tries the twin Fishman pickup powered NDX50.
South Korea's Cort has done increasingly well in the guitar market, setting its sights well beyond being a mere replica maker, by working with a number of respected professional artists and by coming up with a lot of original designs. Among them is the handsome NDX50, which we were recently sent to try.
The NDX50 features a solid Sitka spruce top, coupled with rosewood back and sides, which form the body of the guitar. The top and back and sides have been bound with ivory and a very impressive and neat job Cort has done of it, too. The top of the guitar features a rather beautiful abalone purfling and again, you'll find abalone the material of choice for the rosette. This, coupled with the beautiful grain on the rosewood as well as the solid Sitka spruce and a very attractive gloss finish give the body an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The mahogany neck, which has a scale length of 25.3", meets the body with a dovetail joint and again, the workmanship is very clean and very impressive. On the neck you'll find a fine piece of rosewood making up the fretboard and they both have been bound, also with fine attention to detail, with ivoroid. The fretboard also features white ring fret markers. The unmistakable Cort headstock with its striking sloping design features Grover Gold machine heads with black knobs. This guitar also comes equipped with a sophisticated Fishman Presys Blend with Sonicore Pickup. In addition to a pickup in the bridge there is an internal mic capturing the guitar's full tone. Fishman's system allows you to blend both signals, which is very useful. By the way, the onboard pre-amp also includes a tuner.
The use of twin pickups is something that is starting to be seen from the best electro-acoustic makers as it enables players to get the 'true' sound of the guitar from an internally mounted mic, plus the dynamism expected from an electro-acoustic's bridge pickup. It is not usually a cheap option, however, and Cort is to be congratulated for having not just done it at this sort of price but for using a really high quality system from one of the world's top makers, Fishman.
Starting with the NDX50 as a pure acoustic, I was very pleasantly surprised by the guitar's sound. It proved itself to be more than capable of producing plenty of volume, no doubt due to its deep body dimensions. The tone was very robust and colourful too, with a good solid balance between the basses and trebles. The playability proved to be great, as well - it was a very comfortable playing experience all the way.
Even if I looked very hard it's difficult to find anything to criticise about this handsome guitar. It's well made, looks fine and plays easily - what's not to like? It gets even better when you start to play. As I say, it has a rich, resonant sound on its own and that is extremely well handled with the Fishman system. It's a high quality pickup and pre-amp system, just as you would expect from Fishman, and as you can hear from our video, the blend facility gives a wide range of tones that you just wouldn't get from a conventional electro-acoustic.
It's when you come to the price that you really realise what Cort has achieved. It's a very high quality working pro guitar at a very sensible price. Well, let me re-phrase that! It's not a sensible price at all, because it offers insane value for money. You really would be hard pushed to find another guitar of this level with the same price tag. Cort has most certainly struck gold with this one.