If it’s too good to be true… Words by Steve Henderson.
Note: This piece first appeared in Australian Guitar #131. Subscribe to our print edition here!
The Cort catalogue covers such a diverse range of electric (and acoustic) guitars that it’s hard to know where to start. But across this breadth of styles and facilities, there are a couple of common denominators: useability and value.
Even entry-level Cort instruments have pro features that defy the ticket price. So, it makes sense to look at one of those more affordable instruments and, along with it, the practise amp that comprises the other half of a great value package.
The Cort G110 is a Strat-like guitar that offers some familiar features, plus a few popular twists to the design that make it even more practical, without losing the classic lines and facilities.
The first thing you’ll notice is the shape. It has that timeless Strat shape and allure, but with an offset waist. The Jazzmaster/Jaguar offset body shape is a little clunky, but Cort’s is slim and stylish. There are comfort contours where they need to be and, seated or standing, everything on the face of the guitar is in easy reach. The neck pocket is clean and precise, and the neck fit is tight and solid.
The body material is poplar, which is a good, lightweight alternative to ash. Further enhancing the comfort factor is the G110’s body thickness of just 39 millimetres, compared to Fender’s standard of 44.5 millimetres. So far, so good.
The neck is rock maple with a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium frets, and is bolted to the body with four bolts through a beautifully contoured neck socket, allowing more upper fret access than I’ve ever seen at this price point. And it’s really solid.
It’s a nice C shape, so it fits easily in the hand with, yet again, a familiar feel. The slab fretboard is a substantial piece of rosewood – not a thin sliver – and hangs over the body to allow for the 22nd fret. There’s also some maple supporting this neck extension, so there’s plenty of structure for that top fret.
The fretboard plays smooth and fast, and the fretwork is excellent. Strumming the G110
reveals no extraneous buzzes or flabbiness, and the transfer to the body produces a loud and toneful acoustic sound.
Plugged into a Mesa TransAtlantic with either a single 12 cab or a closed back 212, the G110 had all the sounds that have made this pickup configuration so popular. The round and woody front pickup clunk is there, the throaty quack of the in-between sounds is very satisfying, and the back humbucker has plenty of drive and punch.
If you’re looking for a PAF tone from this pickup, you may be disappointed. It’s a budget instrument, after all, and a PAF-style anything will cost at least as much as this whole instrument. But the tones in this and the other pickups are all very good, and more than worth the price of admission.
PRACTISE MAKES POWER
This package also involves a 15-watt practise amp: the CM15R. This little amp is super well‑built, very stylish (the red and cream livery is classy as hell), and puts out a surprising amount of volume through its eight-inch speaker, with plenty of clean definition.
The controls are pretty straight forward and include a three-band tone stack, clean volume and gain, with separate volume for the drive channel. The bonus is a really nice reverb that can be subtle or over the top. Even fully saturated (for those surf music hounds out there), the tone doesn’t get washed away.
The gain channel is pretty cool, lying somewhere between distortion and fuzz. I ran the headphone output into a tweed Bassman, and the sound was more like a closed-back 412 – very organic and very enjoyable. As a standalone amp, the Cort is a step up from the usual compact combo, but an eight-inch driver can’t produce the depth that some people want to hear, so don’t expect it to. It’s a practise amp, and a very good one.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As a package, the G110 into the CM15R is an extremely effective combination. The Strat-y tones are especially good, and the reverb gives everything a lot more depth and atmosphere.
As an alternative tonality – as in doubling another guitar part – the G110/CM15R package offers a quick and easy solution. It’s also a very cost‑effective option. I’d happily play the G110 at a gig – it’s that professional and easy to get to know.
It’s rare that something so nicely presented has such a friendly price tag, but the G110/CM15R package is one of those rare actual-value-for‑money situations that seems too good to be true. Thankfully, though, this one’s true.
TOP 5 FEATURES
• Three-pickup, bolt-on neck, vibrato (guitar)
• Poplar body and maple neck (guitar)
• 15 watt, 8-inch speaker (amp)
• Two-channel, built-in distortion, reverb (amp)
• Incredible price (both)
• Lively sound
• Reverb is fabulous
• Some may like a darker humbucker
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