The following content is related to the October 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
The enduring popularity of Cort’s MR710-F acoustic-electric dreadnought reminds us that a guitar does not need to be expensive to become a classic. As one of the company’s best-selling products, it serves as a benchmark for the quality and tone that can be achieved at an affordable price. Not long ago, Cort honored the instrument’s legacy and its devotees by revising the MR710-F’s construction, materials and electronics, ultimately improving the guitar’s tone and aesthetics while maintaining its wallet-friendly price point.
Fans of the MR710-F will instantly recognize the cosmetic enhancements, including a multilayered abalone rosette on the solid Sitka spruce top and ivory binding that surrounds the rosewood fretboard and mahogany back and sides. Unseen is the advanced, scalloped X-bracing, which increases punch, sustain and harmonic presence. A genuine bone nut on the 25.3-inch-scale mahogany neck adds a final dose of acoustic kick and top-end clarity, thus improving dimensionality and attack. Capturing the MR710-F’s acoustics is a new undersaddle Sonicore pickup, which sends its signal to a Fishman Classic 4T EQ system with controls for bass, middle, treble, brilliance and volume, as well as a built-in tuner.
Part of the MR710-F’s appeal is how well the relatively compact neck profile translates for players who are used to the feel of an electric. Playability aside, the tonal balance and even response are outstanding. Midrange hues are conservatively warm, maintaining spatial note projection and dynamics. In my tests, fingerpicking produced the most brilliant and complex tonalities, while notes created with a Dunlop Ultex Jazz III plectrum were a close second. I have to also praise the MR710-F’s ability to produce full, loud and properly intonated upper-register notes, made easier to reach by the Venetian cutaway—amazing for a guitar that sells for less than $500. The Fishman Classic 4T EQ system coupled to the Sonicore pickup put the Cort’s sounds over the top, bringing out the dreadnought’s surrounding bass, round attack qualities and upper-midrange details.