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I have friend in Sydney, Australia, whose 12-year-old daughter has been taking lessons for about a year, and wants to move up from the $100 nylon-strung guitar she started out with to a higher-quality steel-string guitar. My friend wants to encourage her for any number of reasons, but doesn't want to spend a lot of money at this time until they see where she wants to go with this. She is taking lessons, shows talent, and apparently shuts herself in her room for hours in the evening to practice, instead of spending time on the internet, texting friends, watching TV, etc.

 

Needless to say, this is sort of a parent's dream.

 

She bought her $100 guitar with her own money, and her parents want to help her without indulging her. Obviously, they are paying for her lessons, but they also have another daughter whose dancing hobby they underwrite, and they have to be careful not to favor one child over the other.

 

My friend goes to San Francisco once every six weeks or so on business, and tells me that buying in the US is signficiantly cheaper than buying in Australia right now. Nevertheless, if they found the right guitar at the right price in Australia, they would buy it now rather than wait.

 

She has been trying out guitars at stores in Sydney, and seems to like Corts, about which I know nothing. I went on the Cort website, and they have a lot of models.

 

They want to spend no more than about $500-$700 US on this guitar, but I suspect in a year or so, if she is still sticking with it after becoming a teenager, they would be ready to move up to a better grade of guitar.

 

My questions are fairly simple:

 

1) How do Cort guitars stack up for their cost?

2) What stores in Sydney should they be looking at?

3) What other brands should they be considering, either in Australia or the US, for a $500 student guitar?

 

Please don't tell me they should bite the bullet and spend $1000. They don't want to do that yet, and I'm not convinced they have to at this stage, from what I've seen generally. Realsitically they will be buying from a store or online dealer, not at auction or via craigslist, etc.

 

Thanks for your input.

 

--J-45 Nick

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The Cort guitars I've encountered in the past have pretty much been less than adequate instruments, displaying poor workmanship in construction and cheap hardware. Granted, it's been awhile since I've handled one and later models may be good value for the money. With a $5-700 budget I'd be inclined to look at Seagull, Takamine or Yamaha. All are reputable manufacturers and build very nice guitars for the dollars spent. However, if the gilr wants a Cort she may not be happy with any other name on the headstock.

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I played a Cort a couple of years ago in a Hill Country music shop. Seemed average as far as Asian craftsmanship goes. Agree with the above: Yamaha, Epiphone Masterbilt, Guild GAD, Seagull, Takamine are all respected names in that specific $500 - $700 market.

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theres loads of corts here in northern ireland , the cheaper ones arent really too bad , but like buc says , it gets harder to see just where the extra money goes the further up the chain you go .kind of inoffensive , non descript sound. but if the girl is playing a 100 dollar guitar now , anything's gonna seem like a dream

 

i agree with the guys above , takamine , yamahaha , or maybe a lower scale/cost martin??

 

euroaussie has a cort though , or he definately talked about one before , favourably too if i remember right , where are ya aussie ??

 

bet you're sorry you asked :-)

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Well being an Aussie and with a lot of experience with Cort guitars I feel I probably should chip in.

 

Personally I like Cort guitars a lot and have had good experience with them. That being said they are mass produced and there is a lot of duds. However I found the Earth series dreadnoughts to be consistently good. They have a vintage tone, much like a D-18, with good playability, and a warm, woody tone. Ive had my Earth 100 for 12 years, its taken a beating but still going strong and I use her as my office guitar and campfire / dodgy gig option.

 

I would recommend this series of guitars if Dreanought size is an option. I also tried a Cort Lucie 900 series Parlour which I thought was pretty good also incase she woud favour a smaller body. You can pick up Earth series corts I think for around $400 dollars and I would recommend Billy Hyde music as its sort of the Guitar Centre of Australia.

 

Here is a sample I recorded with the Earth 100 some time ago, excus the very crummy playing. Installing a bone nut saddle and pins made a big difference in terms of clarity, projection and overall balance.

 

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UPDATE:

The Cort that has caught her fancy is the SFX-10-Nat. It is a long scale (!), Venetian cutaway, solid spruce top, maple back and sides (presumably laminate), with onboard Fishman electronics. Street price is around $550 (from Acoustic Cabin) on a list price of $750+ US. She actually prefers a sunbursst finish--astonishing taste for a 12-year-old--but Cort doesn't offer that. She wants the onboard electronics, as she is drawn to both acoustic and electric guitars.

 

Apparently, the slightly thinner body (80mm) appeals to her, and she has no trouble with the longer scale and the body size, which is pretty surprising. I suspect that the brightness of maple appeals to her compared to what must certainly be the rather muted tone of a $100 nylon-strung guitar. The girl may end up as a rocker.

 

I will pass on whatever input I get here. For a 12-year-old, she seems shockingly sophisticated in her taste.

 

Thanks,

Nick

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Corts are good [thumbup]

 

I only have a shred-electric but the build is excellent

 

IMO Yamaha are one of the best, solid built, re-saleable guitar brands around with great VFM at all price points....

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

I agree that Yamaha would be a great value at that price point! The Epiphone Masterbuilts are also good.

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Oh I would avoid those ones. Ive played a few of those and they sounded really tinny, and generally just crap. I have a feeling shes intrigued by the look more than anything else.

 

Hmm, im a bit stuck for recommendations if she wants a thin body and cutaway, nothing comes to mind other than dreads in that price range.

 

One thing I can say safely, keep her away from Matons, worst value for money guitars on the planet unplugged. Good pickup but the built is so heavy them make 70's Gibson feel as light as a feather. Awful guitars, but they have the highest presence and distribution in Australia.

 

UPDATE:

The Cort that has caught her fancy is the SFX-10-Nat. It is a long scale (!), Venetian cutaway, solid spruce top, maple back and sides (presumably laminate), with onboard Fishman electronics. Street price is around $550 (from Acoustic Cabin) on a list price of $750+ US. She actually prefers a sunbursst finish--astonishing taste for a 12-year-old--but Cort doesn't offer that. She wants the onboard electronics, as she is drawn to both acoustic and electric guitars.

 

Apparently, the slightly thinner body (80mm) appeals to her, and she has no trouble with the longer scale and the body size, which is pretty surprising. I suspect that the brightness of maple appeals to her compared to what must certainly be the rather muted tone of a $100 nylon-strung guitar. The girl may end up as a rocker.

 

I will pass on whatever input I get here. For a 12-year-old, she seems shockingly sophisticated in her taste.

 

Thanks,

Nick

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At this stage, I figure get her the guitar she wants, assuming it has a great setup so that it doesn't kill her fingers. To me, the main thing is to keep her interest and keep her playing giutar. Tone, sustain, trebels, etc. are all subjective. If she were my daughter, I'd want her to have the Cort. Keep her interested and wanting to learn. Beyond that, the Corts I've seen come across as pretty decent. Right on the level with many other imports......Hope she has a blast and keeps-on playing. [thumbup]

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Thanks to all for your input. I am going to pass this on to my friend in Australia. Realistically, although he is likely to buy her a guitar in the US, the decision is probably going to be driven by the models that she gets to play in Australia, and I can understand that. There's not many of us here that really like to buy a guitar without playing it,unless it comes highly recommended by someone we trust.

 

I'll let people know what she ends of doing. In my opinion, any guitar that encourages her to keep playing is worth considering. I only wish I had this degree of interest and self-discipline at age 12!

 

-Nick

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More important than anything is to get her a guitar that she can play comfortably. It will be awhile before the subtle tones of the guitar really start to be a big deal to her but it can get quite frustrating when you are starting to work on songs that use a lot of bar chords if the action is awful or really get a good handle on playing if your guitar is twice your size. I would be slightly more aware of this if she plans to go from nylon to steel as the two get played differently and steel can be just a touch harder on the fingers if I am not mistaken.

 

Keep in mind I only have a drop or two of experience compared to most the other members on the board these are just the things I wish I had known when I tried and failed to pick up guitar when I was in middle school.

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Fit and finish on these Cort guitars are BETTER than some American made guitars (who shall remain nameless)....but, to me, they just don't have the sound...the TONE.......so a pretty guitar, but no sound soul, if you know what I mean. I had a Cort Earth 900, which was an all solid wood Parlor guitar with a vine fretboard.....I finally sold it .....it was OK for the money....a good "starter" guitar....

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  • 1 year later...

I have a Cort Jim Triggs designed Jazz guitar (like an ES-137) and its fit and finish are outstanding, while the sound is... so-so. Other Cort guitars I have played well... stunk.

 

For some unknown reason Cort installed T-A-C-K-Y MOP tuners and gold hardware, but the no inlay, bound, dark rosewood FB, not too fat or thin neck and its playability are as good as any Gibson I have... and that's a few.

Luckily the sound can and will be fixed. I'm putting in a P94 and a Gibson 195x pickups in it and I expect it to be perfect then :-)

 

If Cort made all their guitars as good as this one (including installing better pups) Ibanez and even Gibson would have a game on their hands.

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The one Cort I see consistently is about 12 years old now. Decent instrument. Has a vine inlay that looks very nice. Played it a couple times years ago. Not a thing in the world wrong with it. Still, as others have stated---for the money you want to spend, take a look at some of the other imports too. Yamaha is a butt-kicker of a guitar at most any price level......Also, take a look at Luna. They're kind of geared for young girls. Lots of butterflies, flowers, birds, waterfalls, etc on a couple of their series of instruments. There are also some dragons for boys. More classy looking than some of the bright pink, orange, red, etc. and other instruments designed for younger women and men.. Most go for around 400 or so. They feel to be just a bit smaller than some of their competitors, but not bad guitars.

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I realize I never gave an update on this. She ended of getting a Yamaha acoustic/electric, not sure of the model, but I will find out. It was about $1100 AUD in Sydney. Her father paid half, and she paid half. A good lesson, I'd say.

 

Still playing daily at age 13, and like any teenager, she's fretting about the short fingernails and callouses on the fingertips of her left hand. On the plus side, she doesn't have to worry about the long fingernails on her right hand, like some of us do....

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.

I found it humorous someone would comment on buying advice a year after the purchase was most likely made.

 

I was a bit curious about what she ended up with. Yamaha is a solid choice in my book. That first year or so can be tough, so I'm glad to read she's sticking with it. . B)

 

 

.

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.

I found it humorous someone would comment on buying advice a year after the purchase was most likely made.

 

I was a bit curious about what she ended up with. Yamaha is a solid choice in my book. That first year or so can be tough, so I'm glad to read she's sticking with it. . B)

 

 

.

 

Definitely better than the Washburn dread I started with that had action so high you could park a 747 underneath it ...

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Here is what I think:

As some of you here know, I live in Bulgaria. We have a very low standart of living here and thus the prices are very low.

There is no tradition here to play metalstring acoustic guitars. This makes the price of these instruments lower.

I am interested of all kind of metalstring acoustic guitars and I often go to music shops here in Sofia (where I live) and the boys know me.

They give me to play on every guitar in every music shop in the city.

I have tried many Corts and can say for this company that during 6-7 years has raised the quality twice.

But the quality of the Corts is low.

The Waldens are slightly better but more expencive.

.................................................................................................................................................................................

If someone wants to have a good metal string guitar for few money - please try the Epiphones.

Recently I bought an Epiphone DR-100 for some 133USD. A present for a friend of mine and man... I don't want to give that guitar to this friend of mine now because I want to keep it for me...

I played lot of Epiphone models and can say that the AJ100 rocks (for the price). The AJ220 is really veeeery good guitar for this price of 247USD and sound really good plugged it.\

The EJ200 is just a big guitar for some 400USD! With a nanoflex/nanomag sound system!

I did not like the Epiphone Hummingbird, the Epiphone Dove and the Epiphone J160 - no sound inside.

But the DR100 and the AJ100 are pomped with sound and i suggest these models as really good starters.

Epiphones made in Indonesia and made in China.

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