BGRA: Cort Cort RB5 (Elrick Designed)

Manufacturer Cort Model Cort RB5 (Elrick Designed)
Reviewer Timothy
Experience 3 Item owned 2-5 years
Review Date 2010-10-29 Price paid $650 ($500 ish on sale)
Bass type5 string fretted
Neck joinBolt-On
Neck construction3 Piece Maple
FingerboardRosewood, 24 frets, 35'
BodySwamp ash
FinishFlame Maple (not sure, looks so to my eyes)
PickupsBartolini MK1 (Korean)
ElectronicsBartolini MK1 3 Band EQ preamp (Korean)
Hi, I'm reviewing my first (and current bass), the Cort RB5. This Cort model was a product of the collaboration between the luthier Rob Elrick (Elrick Basses) and the giant Korean guitar manufacturer Cort. Just a little trivia, Rob Elrick worked for Cort before he resigned and started his own production line of Elrick Basses. Therefore, these Cort RB5s (and Cort Josh Paul and Cort RB4, its predecessors) were build first before the Elricks! (CMIIW) Now these basses are discontinued by Cort.

The thing that makes this bass an A+ bass for the value is the exceptional playability and construction. A balanced body, excellent fretwork, a THIN neck, fast fingerboard, easy access to upper frets, and a decent string spacing. The hardwares are rock solid (no rattles, no buzz, no detuning), and its a joy for the fingers to move on this bass. Whether its slapping, rapid fingerstyle, tapping, chording, everything works with this bass. The zero fret (usually a feature in high end basses) removes half the problems relating to a bass (out of tune, high action, fret buzzing), and you get it in a less than $700 bass.

Appearance wise, the bass looks very "handsome". The swamp ash body with the slight flame maple top gives the bass an expensive look, and the dark color of the rosewood fingerboard gives it an elegant look as well. The headstock and the body is very similar to the original Elricks.

Unfortunately, the sound is the not so exciting part about the bass. Compared to the grades given to the construction and playability, the sound is not so exceptional. The stock Korean Bartolinis dont give much of a good sound, with not enough lows and brittle highs. However, the mids are very strong in this bass, which makes it very good for fingerstyle playing. Slapping, although very easy on the fingers, is not so pleasing to the ears. Several reviews have said that changing the pus and electronics makes a huge a difference, but I have yet to change and try them personally.

Another very minor downside is the strange shape of the body. If you're not careful, then the bass might be unbalanced and fall down when you place it in the stand. But as long as you're careful in positioning it, this won't happen.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this bass. I've owned it for three years, and I dont think I'll let it go anytime soon. Except maybe when the time comes for a Fodera or Ken Smith for me, even then I think I would still keep this bass. It IS that GOOD!

Cheers, Tim

construction (95%)
One of the best, never had any problems. Zero Fret makes it even more exceptional!
playability (100%)
Certainly the best playability bass I've ever encountered/get a hold of.
appearance (95%)
Looks twice or thrice its price, looks like a real Elrick (which is elegant
sound (85%)
Could be much much better, the electronics are a bit weak
value (100%)
Best bass for value IMO, pro quality with very very affordable price
overall (95%)
Very Recommended, a couple of upgrades in the electronics and optimum setup makes this bass KILLER!
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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