The new A5 Plus SCMS is Cort's bold foray into innovative modern bass concepts such as a single-cutaway for enhanced body-neck balance and multi-scale for a longer scale length on the bass strings (from 35.5") to shorter scale length on the treble strings (to 34"). The result is a state-of-the-art bass for the most discriminating musician. Dan Veall tells us more.
Answering the demand for a Single-Cut design instrument, Cort has already brought us the Artisan Series A5 MSSC, a multi-scale five-string bass with a fan-fret design neck. This brand new model that I have in for review brings the same stylish single-cut outline to a parallel fret version.
Let's get into the details.
First up, the Cort A5 is a neck-through, meaning the tuning keys, nut and bridge are all anchored to the same multi-laminate of Maple and Panga Panga in a five-piece sandwich. On to that central structure are a pair of swamp ash wings with a beautiful grain, neatly mated. The small details of the newest A5 Plus are well worth the mention too: A pinstripe of what I believe to be walnut separates the sections of lighter body wood, which looks so good. The carving work to sculpt out the back of the heel and in to the upper horn area is deep and luxurious for a bass at this price point.
Rolling the body over, attention is turned to the top wood, an amber stained open-pore finish bringing out an eye-catching look to a select piece of Poplar Burl. Each piece will look different too owing to the uniqueness of grain from top to top. Once again, the top is framed with a dual pinstripe around its perimeter.
24 frets line up neatly down the Panga Panga fretboard, a wood that is said to have tonal qualities as well as similar looks to Wenge. It's a 34" scale (string length from nut to saddle) and we are enjoying a 15" radius on this model. For me, a nice feel right across from edge to edge, noting no sharp or rough unfinished areas in this example.
Our hardware offering comes in the form of Hipshot ultra-light weight open gear tuning keys. In combination with a small headstock offers a well balanced seated playing position with no signs that the bass wanted to dive south in my video. The bridge is a Hipshot Trans Tone variety. It's big and chunky and offers string-through-body mounting.
There's a wide range of amplifier tones available from the A5 Plus SC featuring two Bartolini MK-1 passive soap bar pickups that are harnessed to Bartolini's matching Mk-1 preamplifier circuit. The three band unit offers cut and boost for bass, mid and treble frequency ranges. The mid control on this circuit really does seem to highlight the tone of the instrument and every time in my demo' I wanted to push the mids up from their zero centre-clicked position on the dial. In my "lockdown studio" I found that the bass control added some lovely depth but conversely I felt that I left the treble control alone as to maintain some warmth in the overall delivery. The Low B has a good depth to it and in my preferred picking position between the pickups offered ample bite to carry through a mix.
So let me see, who is the instrument aimed at? The "for fans of" section: Well, I suspect if you are in a period-correct tribute band or prefer things to be very-metal-black, then I'm going to go out on a limb and say you'll be looking elsewhere. I've seen Cort basses in a massively wide range of genres though, and this modern styled instrument isn't going to run short if you are playing prog or gospel chops alike. It also fits into an affordable price bracket looking at the feature set. Or to put it another way, "value for money". Tonally, the wood choices would have you believe this bass should be clear and bright but I hope you can hear that it's easy to tease warmth and bottom out of it too. A great balance.
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