June 26, 2012

Cort › Cort Guitars ›

Richard has been playing guitar since the age of 8, educated at the Guitar Institute in London and specializing in online consultation and World Wide deliveries for 21 years - Each and every one hand finished bespoke to the customers requirement.

Richards reputation for first class playing instruments and dedicated service goes before him - with customers in most Countries around the World.  In the past 3 years alone Richard has accrued over 1000 testimonials from customers all around the World.  Every single customer dealt with personally by Richard.
Richard only sells guitars he truly believes in - each brand being an Industry benchmark in their price or genre - a view built on 21 years research.
Richard is available most hours for consultation which is provided in a personal but comprehensive and professional manner via the live chat facility.

Specialist guitar advice for 21 years

I (Richard) have been providing specialist advice for 21 years. My previous business Regent Guitars ran from 1995 to 2008, starting with just 6 guitars and closed selling 8-10 guitars a day with a turnover well in excess of £1,500,000.

So why did it close?

In 2008 I closed Regent Guitars and opened Richards Guitars with a desire to get back to ONLY selling guitars I love, that I have a true passion for – which should also mean a volume that I could handle personally from beginning to end – like my previous business USED to be!  To this day the only person I have to rely on is my wife Teresa who liases with all my customers during the order process and I am more worried about letting her down than vice versa - behind every good man as they say!

Regent Guitars had left me disillusioned and “too close” to the reality of how most guitars are sold. I didn’t want to be part of the marketing “machines”. It just wasn’t me and I believe anyone who is truly passionate about guitars and in my industry will know exactly what I mean.   It seems 90% of my industry is hype - so I try and focus on the 10% I truly believe in.

My reputation now spans Locally, Nationally and Internationally with customers from Stratford Upon Avon  to Singapore.

I specialize in a select range of guitar brands—Brands which I believe represent something unique in the market be it value, quality, tonal range or shear beauty.

You may not realise you can buy all solid wood hand made acoustic guitars from as little has £500, even a superb quality electric guitar hand made in the UK from £600!  If you chat to me I will tell you how to avoid the mass produced, over hyped brands and focus your attention to stunning beauty!

Guitars sold on personal passion, not marketing hype

Heard of Eastman, Furch,  Faith, Gordon Smith or Godin?  If you haven’t then you need to have a chat with me before you spend your hard earnt cash on your next guitar.

I am aware that many people do not buy for “quality only” but for image and prestige. If you want a Fender, Ibanez, Shecter, Gibson, Jackson etc. then you are talking to the wrong man entirely (although I do specialize in used examples which will play better than new and won’t lose value on resale) – you can find these products hung on a hundred guitar shop walls around the UK but for me personally they just don't excite me and conversely represent well marketed, over hyped mediocrity.

Just remember when you are talking to the next salesman that he probably cares not for you, but for his employer. His job is to sell you what is hung on the wall – not to ensure you get the very best guitar available in the market.

Want to know about guitars with heart and soul? I am your man. From a quality starter guitar through to World Class hand made guitars.   With honesty and integrity central to my philosophy in life and business I assure you that you are in safe hands and I will guide you based on your needs and requirements. If I can’t help I will tell you and point you to “a man that can”.

Try guitars in a welcoming environment..

I try and make your stay at Richards as enjoyable as possible, which may include boring you to death about the guitars available, their history/pedigree etc. or it may just be you want to spend some time on your own trying out the guitars available. Either way you should find the shop welcoming and totally un-intimidating.

Read: Richards History - From Birth To Now!

Mixed Emotions... Saying Goodbye To Cort?

** 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.