Extract from the September / October 2021 issue of Acoustic guitar | By Kate Koenig
Founded in 1973, South Korean maker Cort Guitars is not a typical brand. The company was once known for its low-cost copies of classic American guitars. But in recent years, Cort’s offerings have taken on a more distinctive style, borrowing features from high-end boutique instruments, while remaining affordable. The Gold-Edge, which premiered in a limited edition at Winter NAMM 2020 and has now launched as a regular production model, is a good example of the modern Cort aesthetic. This beautiful large auditorium with Venetian cutaway and LR Baggs electronics stands out as an instrument designed with vintage feel and sound.
The Gold-Edge comes in a chic brown hard case with gold latches and a plush burgundy lining. My first impression while holding the guitar was that it looked like it would fit perfectly into an old-fashioned office, among classic books and luxurious furniture. That’s not to say that it looks outdated at all, but rather that it has that kind of genteel character.
This model has a torrefied solid Sitka spruce top with a traditional scalloped X-bracing, solid flamed myrtle wood back and sides, a walnut reinforced mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard and bridge pins. The top, back, and sides have a glossy UV finish that’s about 30 percent thinner than standard polyurethane and allows the wood to breathe more freely.
Besides the vintage look, the most distinctive feature of the Gold-Edge is its triple bevel cut, where the armrest, cutaway and footrest are each rounded with a jet black bevel. The color of the bevels and the surrounding black binding contribute to the overall contrast between the sepia back and sides and the blond spruce top, but most importantly, these features make the guitar comfortable to hold and play. The warm contrast is further embellished by the red mahogany neck and black front of the headstock. Vintage Grover tuners with black buttons and gold mechanisms complete the stylish look.
The Gold-Edge has a surprisingly bold sound, with rich lows and mids. It has a crisp tone, and you can hear each string individually as you play chords. Using a guitar pick gives powerful results. Open chords are full and colorful, while those played with fretted notes sounding against the two open strings above show off the instrument’s vast sonic palette. Fingerpicking, on the other hand, is less satisfying – as a well-made instrument, the guitar produces resonant sounds reliably, but a more delicate playing seems to get lost somewhat in the highs.
That being said, when you visit each fret going up the fingerboard, you can hear many harmonics resonating. The E strings in particular sing for several seconds after being played, while the neck is particularly warm in the midrange, between the fifth and ninth frets on the L, R and A strings. This makes the playing higher in the neck in this beach much more efficient and inviting. Francisco Tárrega’s “Marieta Mazurka” is a good example of a piece that is particularly suited to this gutiar, as it rises higher from the neck to the midrange and just above.
The model I reviewed had a comfortable action, just close enough to the neck to make it easier for my hand to fretting, but without buzzing. And the satin finish of the neck made it perfect for sliding up and down, as did its slender shape. Mimicking boutique acoustic builders, Cort used an intricate method to round off the edges of the Gold-Edge’s frets – an aspect that ends up making a subtle difference for an effortlessly playable neck.
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The Gold-Edge is equipped with an LR Baggs Anthem pickup, which is designed with a combination of an Element under-saddle mic and Bagg’s patented Tru-Mic microphone, located just below the bridge. Placed under the upper edge of the rosette, the preamp allows you to adjust the volume, phase and mix between the under-saddle microphone and the microphone. There is also a handy button that allows you to check the battery life.
Plugged into my Roland CUBE Street EX, I found the clarity of both mics to be excellent. I really liked the sound with the dial turned all the way to the underside of the Element saddle, but I also found the Tru-Mic to sound wider and more spacious. Having it in the middle allows for a good balance between the two. Overall the preamp has great fidelity and I was able to play loud without unwanted distortion.
Overall, the Cort Gold-Edge is a sleek and distinguished model with warm, rich lows and mids and bold sound. This is a great guitar for really digging in and is set up with quality electronics. I would recommend it for guitarists who play folk and country music, or any situation that requires a loud, vibrant sound that carries.
- BODY Large auditorium with Venetian cutaway; roasted solid Sitka spruce top; solid flamed myrtle wood back and sides; hand scalloped X-bracing; ebony easel; triple bevel cut (armrest, cutaway, ribrest); bone saddle
- NECK Mahogany reinforced with walnut; DoubleLock neck joint; ebony fingerboard; scale length of 25.3; 1-3 / 4 ″ bone nut; Vintage Grover tuners
- OTHER LR Baggs Anthem preamp; Cordes D’Addario EXP16 (.012 – .053); hard case
- MADE IN China
- THE PRICE $ 1,499.99 street