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Cort KX300 sandblasted swamp ash tone machines

Cort KX300 sandblasted swamp ash tone machines  ·  Source: Cort

There seems to be a bit of a trend in guitar finishes at the moment: sandblasted swamp ash tops! Cort is the latest maker to clothe its guitars in a look used recently by PRS on a limited European run. Is this the modern-day version of an ’80s crackle finish? Either way, Cort has just announced its KX300 ahead of NAMM 2020.

Blasted finish!

Cort’s new model uses a 15 mm solid swamp ash top that’s then sand-blasted for an open-pore finish. The body is mahogany but what makes these guitars stand out is how the paint job is applied to that blasted swamp ash top. The paint is applied only to the wood grains, giving the KX300 a look and one that reminds me of the crackle finishes on classic ’80s shredder guitars.

Cort KX300 Red and Black

Cort KX300 Red and Black

Cort KX300 Gold and Black

Cort KX300 Gold and Black

Cort KX300

The KX300 models are a bolt-on design with a new high-mass hardtail bridge to improve sustain. You get a 25.5″ scale length hard maple neck with a 24-fret pau-ferro fingerboard. This has a 15.75’’ radius fretboard, which is pretty flat, but not as extreme as some guitars.

Now to the pickups. The KX300 is loaded with a set of EMG RetroActive Super 77 dual humbuckers that are based on a classic PAF-style humbucker, just with an incorporated preamp for an enhanced response.

Cort KX300 with sand blasted swamp ash tops

Cort KX300 with sandblasted swamp ash tops and EMG pickups

Minimal finish, maximum tone?

I’m not sure how I feel about all this style of sandblasted guitar finish. Maybe they’ll grow on me. They are distinctive, though, and a lot nicer than a lot of the thick polyester paint jobs that can really kill a guitar’s feel.

The new high-mass bridge looks substantial and I’d like to hear how it sounds paired with the EMG pickups. Without all that heavy finish, these could be killer-sounding guitars. I’m looking forward to hearing some audio demos of this new model. One to watch.

RRP – USD 749

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by Jef

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