Cort Space Arrow Bass
In the race to get a reasonable quality Steinberger-like headless bass onto the market, various manufacturers have adopted different ways of getting round the fact that the Steinberger bridge/tuner design is carefully tied-up with worldwide patents.
Korean-made Cort guitars, however, have found the best answer - they've officially licensed the original design and have fitted it to numerous models, from Steinberger look-alike basses and guitars to the Flying-V shaped 'Space Arrow', one of which we recently borrowed.
Like most (all?) Far Eastern headless types, the Cort Space Arrow is made of wood rather than Steinberger's advanced plastics, and doesn't have the 'swinging plate' strap fastening found on the original.
Being a 'V' means that the Cort is impossible to play sitting down but, once strapped on, the balance is good and the playing action quite acceptable.
Neck dimensions are a little on the chunky side, but the action on our Cort was low-ish and you should find it easy enough to handle. The rosewood fingerboard was nicely fretted and the intonation was 'in'. Access to the top frets (there are 24) however, wasn't too good, as the heel is quite obtrusive - a pity, but you could get used to it.
Twin pickups are fitted, one 'Jazz', one 'Precision', wired to two vols, a tone and a selector switch. A bit 'all or nothing' in use, they were nonetheless smooth in operation.
The main attraction of the Cort, of course, has to be the Steinberger-licensed bridge. This carries the tuners in a bottom recess, and is far better than most cheap-ish basses can boast in terms of its adjustment potential (full intonation and string height). What's more it's massively stable, and the tuners turn with a precision which makes accurate tuning extremely easy. The Cort only accepts double ball-end strings, by the way, but these are easy enough to get nowadays, from Superwound.
Sound-wise, the neck pickup delivered a good, rich bass output, but the bridge one was a bit on the 'clangy' side for our tastes. Used together, however, they provided a good range of sounds from classic deep bass to modern funky tones. Despite lacking a headstock, and with a fairly light body construction, sustain was also good and the overall impression of this instrument, taking into account its looks, feel, sound and style, would be that it'd suit a younger heavy metal player admirably.
Unfortunately, manufacturers seem to charge a premium for headless designs in general and, at over £200, this bass doesn't compare all that well for value against many more conventional instruments. Among headless basses generally, though, the Cort is pretty well priced - which makes it good value if you take into account its far superior tuning system.
If a headless bass is what you really want, and you like the V-shape, then this is a well made, very usable instrument with a decent sound.
RRP £224.95 inc. VAT
More details from Rosetti & Co., (Contact Details).
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