Cor-Tek Greco LP Std

I've written about these Korean made Grecos before but I thought I'd do a quick story on this one that went to the shop recently.

These early Korean Cor-Tek and Samick made guitars can be real sleepers and as I've said many times, as long as you're not paying Japanese prices, and know what you're getting, they can be absolute bargains in terms of bang for buck.

When Greco decided to start using Cor-Tek in Korea to make some Gibson style guitars in 1988 they didn't just go to the cheapest manufacturer they could find. The Cort factory in Korea, much like the Samick factory made some lower end guitars for overseas brands, but they also made higher end guitars for reputable brands such as Steinberger and Kramer. The factory had been making guitars since 1973 and by the late 80's was looking for brands to expand it's manufacturing. 

From 1988 until around '92 (ish) they made Gibson style guitars for Greco (and others) with the open book headstock with no serial numbers or defining markings like their Japanese counterparts. 

 

There are a few tell tale signs of Cort made Grecos like the open "O" logo and cavity routs but if you're in doubt, ask to see the control cavity opened up. This factory made and supplied it's own electronics so pots are marked Cort and all wiring is plastic insulated. While the electronics are "fine" in these guitars it probably is the weak point with the pickups in particular being just OK. They sound good but usually feed back easily with too much gain. 

 

The cavities are all shielded and the timber quality is good, as is the build quality. These Gibson copies are all solid timber and can have long neck tenons and even nub end binding on rare occasions. This LP standard is quite heavy and feels solid and nice to play with a medium thickness, comfortable neck.

The hardware is all decent with the Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tail being well made and plated and the Kluson style tuners are smooth and hold tune well. 

 

The construction of some Korean (and later Chinese, Indonesian, Indian etc) can sometimes be a giveaway with few Japanese factories using the neck heel joint like this, although some did.

The joint at the 3rd/4th fret around the back of the neck can also be a giveaway as it's a cheaper method (less timber) of building an angled headstock but these early Corts have the joint between the nut and tuners like some Japanese companies used. If I can't have a one piece neck in this design this is definitely my next choice.

As I've said before, if you know you're buying a Korean made guitar (pre 1997 as there were political issues with this company that would hinder me selling from after this period) from this factory and are paying accordingly (ie: not being told it's Japanese) then you should consider at least trying one out.

 

They can be GREAT value for money and with (possibly) a pickup change can be as good as lower end Japanese versions and seriously better than current (late 90's onward) "bigger brand" Gibson copies from most other Asian countries.