As some of you may have noticed, I got myself a secondhand Cort Action PJ today. This is a bass that was recommended as a budget beginner bass in Josh’s instrument review.
This instrument is not pristine – it definitely needs some TLC, but considering what I paid for it, that was sort of to be expected – the tuners alone are worth the money I paid for it.
The action is not as low as I’d want. Sir Slapalot would probably be happy with this action height but I’m not. I’m going to use this bass to practice my setup skills, so the fact that it needs a setup is a good thing.
Playability is nice! I like the nice, thin neck profile, it has a Yamaha-like feel. The satin finish on the neck feels nice as well, and adds to me feeling at home on it. The neck feels slightly wider than on my J, but not overly so. It’s definitely not as wide as the ironing board that Fender uses for its Precision-fretboard.
It’s a fairly lightweight instrument, and to my taste, the balance couldn’t be better.
Electronically it’s pretty sound – it’s a passive bass, so there’s not much you can screw up. That said, mine is different from the one Josh tested: I have one volume control, and one pickup balance control – the middle control balances between the neck and the bridge pickup. The tone knob, as Josh said, doesn’t do much. That’s not a problem for me – I can use the Zoom B1X Four to take care of that.
When I use a preset I created using the J, the Cort growls less. With both pickups in use, the J (a Gregg Bennett Fairlane made by Samick) is positively gritty and very present, but the Cort is more peanut-buttery… more old-school-Motown, and when I take the bridge pickup out of the mix even more so. It currently has pretty-much-deceased roundwounds, and I’m thinking of getting flat-wounds on it – but on the other hand, this thing sounds so nice with rounds…
So here’s the plan:
Decide on strings
Restring and clean (the body and the chromke bits are a bit grimey, the fret wires could do with a wee polish, and the fret board could definitely use some cleaning and oil!)
Setup (to lower the action to an acceptable level for this plucker who refuses to slap)
Is this a nice beginner bass? abso-fornicating-lutely! I think it’s more than that.
Not only will it get you through the course, it’ll also be a worthy instrument when you’ve reached badass level. There’s just one thing you need to do: forget what you paid for it.
In that sense, it is very much a bass to my tastes – a member of the League Of Underappreciated Instruments.
And let’s face it: outside a studio, nobody, not even a trained ear, is gonna hear the difference between this and a P-bass.