** Update as of November 2012 - New stock has arrived and looking good so far - new low prices and A1 quality! **As you may know I have been a long standing advacote of Cort guitars and have championed them literally for 17 years since I opened my original business in 1995 (Regent Guitars).
One thing in life you can always guarantee is that things will change. I have seen much change over my 17 years but thankfully Cort has remained solid throughout and maintained keen pricing when other brands seemed to sky rocket over recent years.
However, regrettably there have been a growing number of scenarios which have impacted on my feelings toward Cort guitars and the direction I have seen it "travelling".
Cost of production has impacted on many manufacturers - as has the global recession. So, rather than produce an acoustic guitar for £400 that used to be sold at £300, a manufacturer will simply stop producing the guitar. They assess whether the market will stand the price rise, and if they feel not - out it goes.
The UK Distributor for a product has to be confident that they too will sell the product through at the new price and equally importantly GET PAID by the dealer once it has been sold.
Inevitably, when costs go up, manufacturers also try and cut as many corners as possible, without being obvious so as to keep the price down. Effectively you get less and less guitar for the money.
So where does Cort fit into all this?
I hate to say it but over the past couple of years I have been experiencing more and more problems specifically on Corts acoustic ranges and very much on the mid / higher price points.
I have witnessed key models become unavailable for sale for months on end and models I have always loved be discontinued!
With my focus on quality instruments, I am not going to spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to make sows ears into silk purces and this is what we have often found ourselves doing in order to maintain the quality image of Cort guitars I have always enjoyed promoting.
The bottom line is that if someone wants a nice starter acoustic - I will supply it HAPPILY but do I need to chase this market? No. Its a pain in the backside. Trying to supply a guitar that lives up to my personal standards at £200 or less is quite frankly disturbingly difficult - and it seems Cort are focusing more and more on this sub £300 market - and not doing the best job of it I have to say.
If you want a quality electro or acoustic under £200 I tend to personally recommend you are patient and buy one of my reconditioned acoustics - you get so much guitar for your money. The likes of NineBoys are producing really great work horse guitars with solid tops, Grover machine heads and a hardcase for £250!
Crafter have really destroyed Cort at the £350-£400 mark with stunnings specs on their electros so why would I beat myself up rejecting a Cort time and time again purely because I have always loved the brand "historically".
However.... the one pull for me is their excellent solid body electrics such as the M series and Z series. Great value, superb quality, always loved them and they continue to be as good as ever. So we'll see.
I can assure you that if you order a Cort guitar from myself it will ALWAYS be 100% - the very best it can be. My frustration with Cort, like so many brands before is simply the consistency of what they are able to produce from the box - I never thought I would be saying it about a Cort acoustic but thats the reality of the situation.
As I say, my focus these days is on quality - and maybe Cort are focusing more on "budget". Quality does not have to be expensive. I would say my realistic starting point for a quality acoustic is £200 with a superb electro from £300. Below this I would recommend buying a reconditioned guitar.