Cort Guitars

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Cort Guitars
Type Private Company
Industry musical instruments
Founded 1960s
Founders Jack Westheimer
Headquarters 660 Dungchon 3 Dong
Gangseo-gu, Seoul 157-030
South Korea
Area served Worldwide
Products Electric guitar
Bass guitar
Steel-string acoustic guitar
Website www.cortguitars.com

Cort Guitars is a guitar manufacturer centered in South Korea. The company is one of the largest guitar makers in the world, and produces instruments for many other companies.

History[edit]

Jack Westheimer set up business connections with Japanese guitar makers in the 1960s with the intention of importing Japanese made guitars into America. Some of the many brands that Jack Westheimer is associated with were Teisco, Cortez, Pearl, Silvertone, Kingston, Cort and many others. In 1973, Jack Westheimer founded the Yoo-Ah company (“you-and-I”) in South Korea with Young H. Park as a business partner. The Yoo-Ah company would eventually be called Cor-Tek which was named after Jack Westheimer's Cortez brand name.[1] Young H. Park eventually acquired the operations of the Cor-Tek company. Cor-Tek manufactures Cort branded guitars as well as engaging in concha OEM manufacturing for numerous brands such as Lotus.

Models[edit]

Cort M600, green flamed maple

Cort does not have a model of guitar that could be called their “signature,” like Fender and the Stratocaster or Gibson and the Les Paul. Instead, Cort produces a very large line of guitars to fit different guitarists and genres of music. Cort produces a wide variety of electric guitars, acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitars, and electric basses, with the main emphasis being on producing a good product at a competitive price.

Electrics[edit]

Cort Z-Custom Open Pore Natural Burst, from Zenox Series
  • Aero Series
  • Classic Rock Series
  • EVL series
  • G series
  • Gene Simmons Guitars
  • Hollowbody series
  • Sunset series
  • Master8R series
  • KX series
  • M series
  • Signature series (Matthias Jabs)
  • Viva series
  • VX series
  • X series
  • Zenox series

Acoustics[edit]

  • Limited Edition series
  • Earth series
  • SFX series
  • CJ series
  • MR series
  • Classical series
  • Standard series
  • Bass Series
  • S series (90's)
  • Jade series
  • Luce series
  • NDX series
  • Bluegrass series
  • Cortley W120 -Japan (41286)

Basses[edit]

  • GB series
  • Artisan series
  • Curbow series
  • Action series
  • Arona series
  • Gene Simmons Axe
  • Gene Simmons Punisher

In addition to the models currently being made, Cort has produced many others, such as the S series guitars, the Viva, MGM (Matt Guitar Murphy),Freedom Bass(Billy Cox),Neil ZaZa, Larry Coryell, Elrick Bass, Triggs, Katana, Effector and numerous others. Several of the earliest Corts were direct copies of popular models such as the Stratocaster.

Parkwood[edit]

Up until 2006, Cort manufactured a line of high quality guitars under the name 'Cort Parkwood'. In 2006, Cort turned Parkwood into a brand of its own and now does not feature the Cort name or logo. This is a brand sold exclusively through big box stores such as Guitar Center. Cort continues to manufacture the Parkwood Brand in South Korea although it is printed "Handcrafted in China" inside the guitar body. The Hybrid series coming from Indonesia.

Masterpiece (MMP) Series electric guitars[edit]

The Cort M-Series is as close to a signature shape as Cort gets across its range. Cort has released a limited production run of MMP series electric guitars from its own custom shop. Somewhere between 25 and 50 of each MMP model were released. So far Cort has released an MMP1, with 'tree of life' inlay up the neck and finished in antique sunburst, an MMP2 and MMP3 available in "transparent cannon blue" and "brown burst" finishes. These guitars are generally highly regarded [2] and appear to be heavily influenced by higher-end PRS models, in both quality standards and style.

Contract production[edit]

Cort’s main production focus is not on Cort-brand guitars, but rather on contract work for numerous other companies. Generally, large companies contract Cort to build lower-priced guitars that have that company’s brand on them. Ibanez, Parkwood, Squier, G&L Tribute series line of guitars are among the most well-known brands that Cort produces. In recent years, small companies known for extremely high quality (and high-priced) guitars have begun contracting Cort to produce budget line models. Avalon, based out of Northern Ireland, sold 8,000 guitars and more than doubled their income from the previous year when they contracted Cort to build a lower-priced guitar for them.

Controversy[edit]

Since 1997 controversy has surrounded Korean factories of Cort and Cor-Tek due to its alleged mistreatment of factory workers. Grievances include the closing of its Daejon factory with no advance warning on April 9, 2007, mass redundancies of all staff from its Incheon plant on April 12, 2007, and the firing and mistreatment of union officials and members.

On July 12, 2007 a Cort worker set himself on fire in protest, and on October 15, 2008 workers conducted a 30-day hunger strike and sit-in occupation on a 40 meter electricity tower. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian - both partners in the Axis Of Justice - joined representatives of the Cort workers in a protest concert against Cort and Cor-tek on January 13, 2010 at the Nanum Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Morello said "I fully support the Korean workers' demands for justice in the workplace. All American guitar manufacturers and the people that play them should hold Cort accountable for the awful way they have treated their workers."

Notable guitarists of CORT brand[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]