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This article was originally published in issue #67
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Great Modern Metal Tone.
Multi-Scale design, perfect for down-tuned metal.
Multi-Scale takes getting used to, and this is a specialist instrument! Also Subjective!
Swamp Ash Body
Bolt-on 5-piece neck: Maple amaranth
24 Fanned frets
2 EMG 707 humbuckers
Sam Bell gets his hands one of the top models in Cort's KX series: The KX500MS. This 7-string multi-scale electric guitar is equipped with fanned frets and is ideal for styles like modern metal, but it can handle just about anything you throw at it.
Cort is well known for their affordable, high-quality instruments, in this review I am fortunate to get to take a look at a cool Multi-Scale 7 string, the KX500S in Stardust Black! First of all, out of the box this guitar looks stunning, feels well-made, and it's quite clear to see it has some unique features. Before we get into the specific specs of the instrument, let's talk briefly about the phenomena of Multi-Scale instruments. In today's constantly changing music scene, instruments are going through various innovations to meet specific requirements for certain genera's. With the popularity of 7 and 8 string guitars rising over the last few years, there has been a demand for high end production model extended range instruments.
Often with early developments of these ERG the focus was on the low end of the spectrum in terms of pitch and string. Longer scale lengths are needed to facilitate for lower tunings, however, this creates way more tension on the higher strings, to the point that on some very long scale lengths, high E and B strings would sound almost like piano strings rather than guitar strings due to the way they resonated on the neck. It was also hard to bend and get around the neck because these longer scale lengths we're unusual for Guitar players.
Multi-Scale allows the guitar to have the best of both worlds, the low B string the distance between the bridge and the nut on this specific model by Cort is 27 Inches and then the nut and the bridge fans in towards the high E string where the scale length is a regular 25.5. This means the frets have to be fanned, hence the term 'fanned frets' being used as well when the conversation of multi scale comes up! This not only helps playability, but also really helps with resonance, intonation and keeping some of the lower string's gauges reasonable!
It's rare to get multi-scale instruments that are affordable, but the Cort KX500S delivers affordability and quality in a neat package. This guitar comes equipped with a pair of Active EMG 707's, one of the first active 7 string pickups made, it's a classic, works really well for Metal/Progressive styles, and definitely works well with Digital Gear commonly used in this world of music. These are controlled with a simple 3 way switch, volume and tone (useful for when using active pickups with clean sounds) The fretboard is made from Macassar Ebony, with unique raindrop position markers and a super flat 15.75 inch Radius. This neck is not only fanned, it's fast! The body is made from swamp ash and there is a wonderful burled poplar top which gives this model its 'Stardust' name. It looks great! The neck is a bolt-on construction which is ergonomically designed so you can access the higher frets with ease.
Plugging it in, the guitar works amazingly with high gain sounds, the low end cuts through nicely thanks to the multi-scale arrangement and active pickups. Clean tones are a little sterile due to the Active Pickups. However this can be changed with digital amps or you can easily swap out the 707 pickups for other styles such as the 707X which has much more of a passive and natural sound. The playability of course is fantastic, super flat fretboard, ergonomic body design makes this the perfect Prog Metal Machine!
If you're looking for an affordable, high-quality multi-scale 7 string for Metal and Progressive styles. The Cort KX500MS is well worth a look!