1988 to early 90's Cor-Tek Greco LP Custom

We love Greco guitars here and I've written plenty of blogs about them if you're interested but I haven't really touched on the Korean made ones so since this one is ready to head to shop I thought I'd do a quick blog to let you know what the differences are and how that effects the final instrument.

I'll get this out of the way now so as not to confuse things, I'm actually a fan of some Korean made guitars and I've owned and sold many Korean made guitars that were of course mostly made by two factories who made for many different names and brands, and quality depending on those names. Samick and Cort are the two big Korean manufacturers who took over excess production from Japan as markets for cheaper guitars opened up. Both Samick and Cort had been manufacturing instruments for many years and both companies set up factories in places like Indonesia and China as more budget production needed to be met. 

 

While both companies had been around since about 1960, Cort didn't start guitar production until around 1973 with their own brand guitars hitting the market around '82 and was the main factory Greco contracted to make guitars in the late 80's. The Cort factory was making guitars on several quality levels and these Grecos are actually great, and very good value for money. Cort also made guitars for Steinberger, Hohner and Kramer from the mid 80's. 

 

Starting around 1988 Greco contracted Cort (or Cor-Tek) to produce their Gibson copy guitars still using the open book headstock design. These Greco guitars have no serial numbers or way of actually dating them, except for the fact they were only made from '88 to approx mid 90's in this form. 

Greco also contracted Tokai to make some Gibson style guitars that also don't have serial numbers around this time but construction, and electrics were different, so if you have the guitar in your hands, you can work out which factory made it.

The Cort made Grecos from this period are well made and finished well. The detail is nice and they feel, great. This one of course looks like a Les Paul Custom and is solid timber body, solid carved top and set neck all with the appropriate multi layered binding everywhere.

It's unclear exactly what "timber" this all is and without taking paint off, I'm only guessing it's some sort of Asian "mahogany" but it is reasonable heavy and feels "solid" 

 

The neck is set with a deep tenon and is thin (for a LP) with a volute and fully bound headstock with split diamond logo and two screw trussrod cover. The truss rod is a metric hex key (as apposed to nut) adjustment and is very sensitive and functional. The fretboard is rosewood (not ebony) and is fully bound with nice fitted block inlays. 

The pickups are standard Cort humbuckers and actually sound very good. They're strong and full but have no markings or details and all wiring is plastic insulated wire. The pots are branded "Cor-Tech" which is of course one of the giveaways of where, and who made this guitar. Tokai made non serial Grecos have Japanese made pots fitted. These Cort Grecos also all have shielding paint in all the cavities, which is another giveaway of where it was made. The shape of the pickup cavity routs is also apparently another way of telling but I don't have a Tokai made one her to compare, so I'll just show a picture of this one so you know the Cort style rout.

This has Gotoh sealed gear tuners and good quality hardware with an all brass Tune-O-Matic bridge with small posts, like a Gibson. The correct knobs are a nice touch too.

 

All in all this guitar feels and plays really well and sounds great. I've played Samick made Epiphone Les Pauls that are very similar to this guitar but this one has a really nice thin neck, which I personally love. While probably not as nice as some Japanese Greco LP Customs I've played, it is still a very nice LP and these Korean ones go for less than their Japanese counterparts, which makes them great value, and with a cool name on the headstock. 

This one will be in the shop from this weekend if anyone wants to try it out. 

 

Dec 04 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan