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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cort Artisan A4 and A5 Bass Guitar

Key Info
  • Neck Through Design
  • Figured Maple Top on Mahogany Body
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 24 Large Frets
  • Bartolini MK1-4/F & MK1-4/R
  • Bartolini Mk 1 EQ
  • Abalone Insert dots
  • Hipshot Trans Tone Bridge
  • Hipshot Tuners
Overview
The Cort Artisan series of bass guitars are beautifully designed and fabulous quality for a sensible price tag. They have a bright and modern sound, but a flexible EQ that can be toned down if required to suit most genres of music. The neck is thin and fast and the sustain immense, partly due to the neck through design and brass nut. Slap and pop techniques are ideal on the 4 string, but the tighter string spacing on the 5 string makes this more difficult, but not impossible.

Construction
The bass is constructed of a figured Maple top with a Mahogany body. It has a 5 piece Maple/Wenge neck and a 34 inch scale with 24 large frets. The pick ups are Bartolini Mk -4 front and rear and the active/passive control is activated by a micro switch. The EQ has the usual 4 knobs - Blend, Treble, Mid and Bass, plus of course a volume control. The battery for the electronics is housed, as you would expect, at the rear of the guitar behind a plastic cover, which is fairly chunky and looks like it will last. The tuners on the Cort are Hipshot. They are smooth and stable and the guitar remains very well in tune. The bridge has the usual individual saddle adjusters and the truss rod is adjusted from the top under a cover. The nut is brass, which to my mind is a real bonus. It adds to the sustain and is a nice stable material. It won't break, looks good and does its job without any problems. Basically, everything is where you would expect and is of excellent quality. 

Sound and Playability
a word in advance..............

Sound, of course, is a very subjective thing and it would be difficult if not impossible to describe the sound in words! It would also be wrong to try and say the bass is only good for this or that style of music. However, it can be true to say that some basses lend themselves more to one style or another, so I will try to give a broad view of the sound.

The sound of the Cort Artisan A4 and A5 is loud!! Louder than many basses I've played, even much more expensive makes and models. It has a very clear punchy sound, which, to my mind, lends itself more to modern musical genres - great for rock, pop and funk - slap sounds awesome!! However, I have played this bass in jazz groups and it is perfectly capable of blending if the EQ is tweaked and the amp settings right. The sustain, is as I have said, excellent.

The bass is a joy to play. It has a super slim, fast neck and the action is capable of being set really low, just how I like it. It is quite a weighty instrument, but I find that a wide strap compensates for the weight perfectly well and I've played it for long sessions without injury!! As I mentioned, the 4 string is probably more suitable than the 5 for funky slap and pop lines, but with practice, this is possible on the A5. 

Conclusion
In my mind, this is a hidden gem. It is a top quality instrument suitable for all players, pros included. These basses have been called poor-man's Warwicks and can be had at a fraction of the cost. If you want a great instrument, but you're not looking to remortgage, I'd suggest you try out the Cort Artisan A4 or A5 and I'm sure you'll fall in love with it!! 

2 comments:

  1. i bought an a4 in september, $850 canadian, red flamed maple. nicest bass i have ever played. i was an ibanez man till i picked up this beauty. since then ive looked at dozens of high end basses around the 1000$ mark and nothing compares to it. its also the nicest looking bass ive seen. if it was lost in some tragic fire/theft etc. i would replace it with another a4. no question.

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  2. I've just picked up an earlier A4, a 2004 I think, in a transparent dark blue finish.
    What a bass!! Construction and quality is as good as any of the Warwicks and Status Graphites I've owned. Wonderful range of tones too

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