Cort Gold Edge review: A luthier-built feature set at a production-line price
While the company is better known for its value-packed entry level instruments, every now and then Cort chances its arm at the aspirational end of the acoustic marketplace. The new Gold Edge is a prime example, bristling with modern luthier-style flourishes that go some way towards justifying a price-point that might initially raise eyebrows.
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Though the term Cort uses to describe this guitar’s tonewoods is essentially meaningless, there’s no denying that the “master grade” flamed myrtle back and sides of this guitar are eye-catching. The torrified Sitka spruce top is certainly inviting, with the honey-toned wood – a dead giveaway that the soundboard has been thermally treated – appearing more like Port Orford cedar at first glance.
The Gold Edge is built around a 643mm (25.3”) scale length and, like other grand auditorium models, fits neatly between the OM and dreadnought styles with its 117mm (4 5/8″) body depth and 405mm (16”) lower bout. Cort has employed a triple-bevel design with contours for the forearm, rib and cutaway. This sort of thing is more commonly seen in instruments by superstar luthiers such as Michael Greenfield and Casimi Guitars, whose work can commands prices of as much as 20 times that of this instrument. The Gold Edge’s price doesn’t seem quite so eyebrow-raising now, does it?
The 14-fret, walnut-reinforced mahogany neck features a double-lock joint and it’s a welcome surprise to see well-executed rounded fret ends. It’s another feature seldom encountered in production acoustics at this price which makes for a smooth and comfortable playing experience. Well done Cort!
As befits an instrument that nudges the top of the company’s range, the Gold Edge features abalone and pearl inlays on its ebony fretboard and bridge. There’s also an abalone rosette. Hardware comes courtesy of Grover, with vintage-style machineheads, while electronics comprise the always dependable LR Baggs Anthem active pickup system.
Successful ergonomics in acoustic guitars demand a delicate balance as the extra kerfing and inner architecture needed to support a bevel design can reduce the active surface area of the soundboard. This is most often felt in a lack of bass. Happily, in this case the guitar’s sound in standard tuning is open and full with a strong fundamental to the note.
Fingerstyle blues and jazz work well, and there is plenty of headroom to dig in. All the while, the tonal spectrum is wide with satisfying, musical tones all along the string length. Very possibly this is a result of the combination of a light UV finish, torrefied wood and hand-scalloped X-bracing.
Dropping the Gold Edge into DADGAD reveals a strong sound that excels at big singer-songwriter chord progressions as well as packing the sustain needed for lilting traditional airs, making the our review guitar a versatile instrument across genres. The LR Baggs Anthem has become an industry standard for plugged-in duties and does a great job of translating the guitar’s acoustic textures into an amplified voice that handles dustbowl dry Americana and oceanic Michael Hedges reverbs with equal aplomb.
While there are some slightly iffy areas in fit and finish, there remains a lot to like about the Cort Gold Edge. It’s a crowded market but this guitar is definitely worth your attention.
PRICE £1,429 (inc hard case)
DESCRIPTION 6-string grand auditorium acoustic guitar, made in China
BUILD Solid myrtle back and sides, solid torrefied Sitka spruce soundboard, Walnut-reinforced mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, bridge and bridge pins, bone nut and saddle, Venetian cutaway, fore-arm, rib and cutaway bevels
HARDWARE Grover Vintage machineheads
ELECTRONICS LR Baggs Anthem active pickup system
SCALE LENGTH 25.3”/643mm
NECK WIDTH 45mm at nut, 54.5mm at 12th fret
NECK DEPTH 21.5mm at first fret, 23.2mm at 9th fret
STRING SPACING 37.5mm at nut, 55mm at bridge
FINISH Thin natural gloss UV
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