Players seeking a new guitar with vintage vibe have been lucky as there have been many offerings from many manufacturers. The downside is the more affordable imports, while having “the look,” often need costly replacement parts to move these guitars into the professional realm. Cort’s new Sunset l removes these concerns by equipping this cost friendly guitar with actual name-brand parts straight from the factory: no upgrades are necessary.
These parts include a TonePros bridge, Grover tuning gears, TV Jones Classic and Classic Plus pickups, Graphtech NuBone nut, and a Bigsby vibrato.
All of these parts are fitted on the thinline single cutaway body that is shaped somewhat like a vintage single cutaway Epiphone with a slight squatty lower bout. The body is formed in the manner which is favored today by routing the back and sides from a piece of mahogany which is then capped with a top of maple (which is flat on the Sunset with no carve or arch). The set neck is also made of mahogany and features a rosewood fingerboard with distinctive 3D block inlays.
Our review model is finished in Candy Apple Red (Black is also available) and features a Ric style slash soundhole. The finish is beautifully applied with nary a ripple or orange peal dimple to be found and absolutely zero run over on the top’s multi-ply binding.
The vintage vibe is carried through with a pair of chicken head knob for the volume and tone control. Two back plates hide access to the 3-way toggle switch and the volume and tone controls. It might have been a nice touch to have full-size potentiometers and vintage-style oilcan type capacitors to complete the vintage aspect of the package.
The tone of the Sunset 1 is twangy and bright, with a substantial amount of Telecaster style spank despite the Sunset’s shorter 24.75” scale length. The TV Jones pickups sound great with a complex midrange and sweet top end. The polepieces on the neck pickup are spaced closer together than those on the bridge pickup so strings align perfectly with both – nice touch, guys.
The Bigsby functions as a Bigsby should, providing subtle dives and a nice warble giving notes and chords nice warmth and/or surf and rockabilly character. Even with substantial Bigsby wanking, the Sunset stays in tune, thanks to both the TonePros roller bridge and nicely cut Graphtech nut.
The Sunset l would look completely at home on any Rockabilly stage and fits the Mersey Beat bill as well, delivering deliciously twangy Gretsch tones thanks largely to the TV Jones Classic and Classic Plus pickups which as reputed to be wound the same as ‘50s Gretsch Filtertrons.
While the Cort Sunset l contains elements of the classic guitar companies from the golden era, it comes in more like an “influenced by” than a mashup of models: It is its own beast with its own vibe and it is stage-ready for the pro at a price accessible for those without the pro paycheck.