Corts new range of concerts, cutaways and mini-jumbos brings nice shapes, old-school appointments and extra-thin finishes to a grateful populace. Review by Jerry Uwins
Producing over one million instruments a year in its own right and as a contractor for other brands, Far East guitar giant Cort offers an extensive tally of acoustics, to which has recently been added the Chinese-made Luce Series. Luce is Italian for ‘light’, and these affordably-priced guitars claim that characteristic thanks to fairly small body sizes and low-weight, resonant construction. There’s an eight-strong line-up of concert, folk-cutaway and parlour styles, and a new electrostatic lacquering process, reducing finish thickness by 30 per cent, which is also said to enhance sonic quality.
The L900P is a flagship Luce, modelled on the intrinsic elegance of a vintage 12-frets-to-body 00-style parlour with a very tasty cosmetic treatment. The quality, even-grained solid cedar top has an abalone rosette and broad herringbone purfling; the solid rosewood back and laminated sides are bound in ivoroid, as are the diamond-markered ebony fingerboard and the slot headstock, the latter with a retro set of Grover Sta-Tites. The body’s gloss livery is richly buffed; the neck, save for a glossy head capping, is satin, as on the folk.
Our sample’s sumptuous presentation is compromised in only a couple of respects. The lacquer on the inward faces of the peghead slots isn’t perfect, though these are hard-to-reach areas, both for spraying and finishing afterwards, and it’s not uncommon to see this on slot-heads.
Of practical concern, the truss rod access hole in the top’s cross-brace has been drilled off-centre, so it’s impossible to insert a key as the Allen nut is partly obscured. This came to light because I wanted to adjust out a slight neck overbow, but couldn’t. Most unusual, and surely a one-off.
Despite this, the guitar plays well, and the neck – two-piece with a diamond volute under the headstock – is configured for fingerstyle, with a nut span of 45mm. Curious, then, to discover that string spacing at the bridge is marginally tighter than the L100‘s; one would expect it to be more spacious.
Playing-wise, however, it’s not something that adversely affects fingerstyle, just a slightly perverse arrangement. As for the neck itself, it’s a little fuller in profile than the folk’s, providing an appropriately more traditional grip, but not one that feels unduly bulky.
This is an enthusiastically projecting parlour. It’s noticeably louder than the folk despite their soundbox capacities being not so greatly different, and the cedar/rosewood combination gives an all-infusing warmth and richness to the sound which is instantly rewarding. It doesn’t share the bluesy tonal brashness of smaller-bodied parlours, but that’s in its favour because it can sit comfortably within a far more wide-ranging repertoire.
Both these Luces (the other is the L100F - See below for link) are deft players. The L100F, if a mite understated acoustically, is a fab folk electro for the money, while the L900P is an indisputably generous, fine-sounding parlour, with elegant old-school looks to match. They may well make you see the light, whatever meaning you care to place on the word.