At Cort, we are driven by a passionate commitment to design, manufacture and deliver some of the finest guitars and basses to musicians and music enthusiasts all around the world. This commitment is backed by over 50 years of experience and know-how in guitar and bass manufacturing as well as an undying desire and will to continuously improve our processes and products. From our designers and engineers to managers and the craftsmen on the factory floor, we are singularly focused on providing instruments that will last generations with the best workmanship possible, the best materials and components, and the best service long after the instruments have been purchased.
Cort’s long history in the guitar industry is a story of perseverance, of overcoming adversities in changing times and environments, and of dedication to continual improvement through research and development and investment in its employees to foster talent and the utmost knowledge about the instruments we build. Through those years, Cort has worked with some of the largest and the most well-recognized guitar companies in the industry as well as artists of international recognition and standing. This experience and knowledge is continually rechanneled into our employees to build better and better instruments, guitars and basses that we can now proudly call world-class.
What sets Cort apart from many brand name guitar companies is that Cort manufactures all of its instruments in state-of-the-art facilities developed and expanded over five decades. Through this long period of know-how, trial and error, and engineering over every aspect of manufacturing and quality assurance, the Cort facilities measure up to the capabilities of the best guitar manufacturers around the world. Manufacturing is in our bloodline and we invest heavily in the best materials, the most advanced modern equipment, the cleanest and well organized facilities and the talented and skilled workers who design and build the instruments.
This fervent commitment to manufacturing our own products has resulted in guitars and basses of unparalleled quality and value at a wide range of price points. From serious beginners and casual hobbyists to the most demanding professionals and artists who tour around the world, Cort provides quality, consistency, and value that emanates from our extensive manufacturing expertise and experience. From wood procurement and seasoning to the use of the most advanced CNC machines in existence, from electrostatic and UV painting facilities to assembly and setup work by passionate musicians, we consider every little detail in the manufacturing process to guarantee instruments that will provide music-making enjoyment over a lifetime.
As Cort forges ahead in the 21st-century, we are more committed than ever to continuously improve and build even better instruments than we have in our long illustrious history. Our love and passion for music as well as our dedication to designing and building the very best guitars and basses possible will form the foundation for many more exciting and innovative new instruments from Cort in the future. We proudly invite you to begin this unending journey.
Cort has a long history that stretches back to 1960 when the founder Young Park’s father started a piano importation business. Eventually, that business evolved into piano manufacturing and sales operation and finally into guitar manufacturing in 1973. During these early years, this company was strictly an OEM supplier.
As it advanced rapidly as a producer of low-cost and high-value guitars, the company changed its name to Cort Musical Instruments and introduced the first Cort-branded instruments in 1982. At this very beginning stage of Cort guitars and basses, the focus was stronger on producing samples and limited runs of guitars based on classic designs from the 50’s and 60’s for name brand OEM buyers to assess and consider. Nevertheless, it is at this juncture that Cort’s own branded instruments were born, produced and marketed.
1984 – Cort begins production of headless guitars with licensed designs from Ned Steinberger. With this contractual agreement with Steinberger, Cort had the exclusive license to manufacture headless design guitars for Cort’s own brand as well as OEM production for brands such as Kramer and Hohner. The Cort-branded headless guitar is often remembered as the defining image of Cort during this era.
1993 – As Cort continued to grow and improve as a guitar manufacturer for global brand name companies, the company starts investing in new manufacturing technologies for improved quality and consistency. In 1993, Cort made a major leap in finishing technology with the acquisition and implementation of the electrostatic paint system.
1994 – To further improve consistency in woodworking and build quality, Cort invests in CNC machines at its manufacturing facilities.
1994 – Cort again took the lead in the Asian guitar manufacturing industry by starting production of solid-top acoustic guitars when all other mass manufacturers were still producing only plywood-top guitars. Cort’s Earth Series acoustic guitars are introduced to the market with Solid-top acoustic guitar line. Providing much higher quality at low-cost price points, the Earth Series becomes a mainstay in the Cort acoustic line with a strong value proposition.
1995 – Exhibiting manufacturing acumen and versatility, Cort introduced the Artisan Series of quality electric basses with features at prices that signaled the arrival of a brand to be taken seriously in the guitar and bass market. The Artisan Series remains Cort’s flagship of the brand’s highly regarded line of electric basses.
1995 – Cort establishes a new electric guitar factory in Surabaya, Indonesia as price competitiveness in Korea slides for lower-cost instruments.
1999 – Cort establishes a new acoustic guitar factory in Dalian, China to offset rising costs in Korea. Dalian is chosen due to its ideal climate and humidity levels for acoustic guitar production.
2000 – Cort shifts acoustic guitar body-neck joint construction from dowel-joint method to the dovetail joint, resulting in improved sound and stability.
2000 – To meet demand for ever higher quality instruments at reasonable prices, Cort establishes the Cort Custom Shop for the production of the company’s new Limited Edition and Masterpiece Series guitars. Always seeking continuous improvement, Cort begins production of acoustic guitars with all-solid construction. This was a major step in Cort’s relentless pursuit of achieving the highest quality possible from its manufacturing facilities.
2000 – Cort introduces the Curbow bass in a partnership with renowned bass designer and builder Greg Curbow. This collaboration was the first in a line of more joint development projects between Cort and small but innovative and cutting-edge guitar designers and builders.
2000 – Further broadening and expanding Cort’s product lineup, the X Series electric guitar line is launched to satisfy the demand for sleek and versatile “superstrat”-style guitars.
2014 – Highly renowned and respected jazz-fusion bass virtuoso Jeff Berlin becomes a Cort signature model artist, bringing much pedigree to Cort’s already impressive bass lineup.
2014 – Ever focused on improving its production capabilities, Cort implements UV finishing technology to its acoustic guitar manufacturing facility.
2015 – Matt Bellamy of the hugely popular and influential alternative rock band Muse becomes a Cort signature model artists
2015 – To meet the demand of acoustic players seeking old vintage tone and feel, Cort implements nitrocellulose lacquer finishing system at its acoustic guitar manufacturing facility.
2016 – Fusion guitar legend and virtuoso Frank Gambale becomes a Cort signature model artist with an acoustic guitar model that Gambale had a significant input on. This unique acoustic guitar further reinforces Cort’s desire and willingness to explore and experiment new concepts and ideas with leading artists and musicians to create and produce innovative new instruments long into the future.