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Anybody have info on Cortez guitars?


hardtdc
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Hi guys and gals, I usually post in EG but recently picked up this 70's (78?) Cortez J200 (Gibson SJ200 copy), and am trying to find as much info on this guitar line as I can. I've done a lot of internet searching and have come up with very limited resources other than the fact that this was the original line of Cort guitars and was started in Japan before being eventually moved to Korea in the 80's. I will say the build quality, playability, and tone are amazing and easily worth the $250 I gave for it. If others are out there that can put me on a path to finding info on this original line of guitars, I'd be most appreciative. I'm very intrigued as to how many other great offerings they produced and might still be out there. I have heard that they made a very close replica of a Martin D-28 back in the day. Anyway, I'd be very grateful for any help. Here's a few pics:

 

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I've got tons of info on Cort and Cortez. Change your offensive sig and I might consider sharing it.

 

Oops, sorry. I forgot that was even still in there it's been so long ago. I guess at my age I should know better. Oh well, it was so funny at the moment, you just had to be there to appreciate it.:p

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Thank you!

 

Michael Wright wrote the definitive history of Cort and Cortez for Vintage Guitar Magazine. The introductory part, which is the pre-Cort background, can be found online here:

 

http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=127

 

The actual history of Cort as a brand was begun in the January 2001 issue of VG. Part 2 followed in March of '01. The third and final part appeared in April.

 

All of these back issues of VG are available from www.jklutherie.com. That's where I purchased mine.

 

That's one good-looking guitar, BTW. Enjoy!

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Thank you!


Michael Wright wrote the definitive history of Cort and Cortez for
Vintage Guitar Magazine.
The introductory part, which is the pre-Cort background, can be found online here:


http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=127


The actual history of Cort as a brand was begun in the January 2001 issue of
VG.
Part 2 followed in March of '01. The third and final part appeared in April.


All of these back issues of
VG
are available from
www.jklutherie.com
. That's where I purchased mine.


That's one good-looking guitar, BTW. Enjoy!

 

Thanks. I had already read that article and done some other internet research, but haven't found much. I was hoping maybe you had some other sources that could give me some good reading material.

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Thanks. I had already read that article and done some other internet research, but haven't found much. I was hoping maybe you had some other sources that could give me some good reading material.

 

If it's out there, I sure haven't been able to find it. Cort's USA website doesn't tell you much, and I've never been able to get the Korean one to work properly. Westheimer/Cort's attention is focused on their OEM customers, whose production far outweighs those branded as Cort. They seem to be much more active as a brand overseas - particularly in the UK and Australia, but very much under the radar in the US. Even Parkwoods, sold as part of the Cort family elsewhere, are run as a separate operation in the US, and sold only through the GC/MF123 family. Cort US seems to be much more about the electrics than the acoustics. FWIW, I love my solid-top Earth GC. Just a fine little guitar.

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The problem with MIJ guitars of that era is that there is a fine line between fact and folklore. There were so many guitars built and some of excellent quality but the builders and factories were interwoven. It reminds me of the USA in the 40s' when Regal, Harmony, Kay, and others built guitars for each other in Chicago.

 

IMO The important thing on these guitars is to just take them on their own merit. Overall condition, quality of materials, Is it solid wood. How does it play, how does it sound, and quality of craftsmanship?

 

By the way it's a beautiful guitar and if it's half as nice as you say it is you made a fantastick deal. There was a thread on Cortez guitars a few weeks back on this forum if you care to dig through the archives.

 

Congrats on a beautiful guitar.:thu:

 

We have some members who are in Japan that may have better answers if they happen to pass by.:idea::wave:

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love:love:

 

Hi guys and gals, I usually post in EG but recently picked up this 70's (78?) Cortez J200 (Gibson SJ200 copy), and am trying to find as much info on this guitar line as I can. I've done a lot of internet searching and have come up with very limited resources other than the fact that this was the original line of Cort guitars and was started in Japan before being eventually moved to Korea in the 80's. I will say the build quality, playability, and tone are amazing and easily worth the $250 I gave for it. If others are out there that can put me on a path to finding info on this original line of guitars, I'd be most appreciative. I'm very intrigued as to how many other great offerings they produced and might still be out there. I have heard that they made a very close replica of a Martin D-28 back in the day. Anyway, I'd be very grateful for any help. Here's a few pics:


IMG_0615.jpg
IMG_0618.jpg
IMG_0619.jpg
IMG_0620.jpg
IMG_0624.jpg
IMG_0625.jpg
IMG_0626.jpg
IMG_0630.jpg
IMG_0621.jpg

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I bought one of these too.in the mid 70s  Except it had Kizo Suzuki on the head stock.  I was polishing it one day and the paint came off and it said Cortez in Mother of Pearl . The dealer I bought it from set it up for me.I have since played a Gibson J2000 Artist which is what the Cortez was copied from and found little difference. In fact the owner found my Cortez faster to play than his J200. I have seen later ones with the neck made up from  glued blocks which weren't as good. The only problem I had was electrfying it. In the end I bought a Guild which had the built in pick up but to this day I still have my Cortez which has got smoother by age  right alongside my chair. 

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Cort(ez)
Teisco del Rey and Kingston were not the only brand names associated with Jack Westheimer. Another, which would have added significance today, was Cortez. Cortez would be important because it’s from that moniker that today’s Cort brand derived, in abbreviated form.

The Cortez brand name dates bact to around ’60, and the beginning of our tale. The Cortez brand was given (by Westheimer) to a line of good-quality Martin-style dreadnoughts manufactured in Japan by the Hiyashi (or Yashi?) factory. Westheimer dispatched some of his staff to visit the factory and work with them to develop the product, resulting in Cortez acoustic guitars. Remember, guitars were still called Spanish guitars in those days, an appellation that has fallen by the wayside; hence, the “Spanish” names like Cortez and del Rey. According to Westheimer, Hiyashi was one of the top Japanese acoustic factories, and it was responsible for many Cortez and Emperador acoustics. Hiyashi was bought out by Pearl sometime in the early ’70s and that marked the end of its glory days.

Again, no reference materials are available to document Cortez guitars in detail.

Westheimer recalls one acoustic/electric model made by Hiyashi carrying his Emperador brand that was actually played by the Everly Brothers. Fewer than 180 of those guitars were imported because they just didn’t catch on. One day, the Everly Brothers’ manager called Westheimer to see if any more could be obtained because the Everly’s guitars had run into repair problems. Westheimer was able to locate several examples in various warehouses and got them to the crooners. He still gets requests for that guitar.

Most Cortez guitars have fallen into a “copy” vein – Strats and Les Pauls. The latter came in both bolt-neck and set-neck versions, many made by Matsumoku, the factory responsible for many of the better Aria guitars, as well as the Electra, Westone, Univox, and Westbury brands. Matsumoku also made sewing machines, and was purchased by Singer in 1987, after which the guitarmaking operation was closed.

There are also some Cortez copies of the Gibson ES-175 that appear to be similar to Japanese-made Venturas of the time.

Cortez guitars were always made in Japan, never in Korea. The Cortez brand remained active at least until ’86, although it may have lingered another year or two.

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