The first thing you'll notice about Cort's GB99, is it's burl poplar front. It's gorgeous.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. My history with this bass, goes back around 6 or 7 years. I bought one, when they had
recently been released. It was top of Cort's GB bass range, then. At a low to mid price range, I was really impressed with it. I'd had a number of high end basses before this and couldn't believe how good the Cort was. It was inspirational, in that I wrote a number of bass lines on the GB99, for a recording I was doing at the time, that still stand out to me, today.
Then, I decided to leave bands and electric gear behind and sold all my bass stuff. And delved into the fascinating world of acoustic guitars. This lasted a number of years, until the call of the bass and gigs came back to me. And I remember hoping I might find another GB99. But it wasn't to be and I acquired other, amazing basses.
Then recently, I discovered the Manchester Bass Lounge. And guess what? They had a mint, preowned, GB99 in stock.
At first I went for another bass, the amazing Gordon-Smith Gryphon. On my second visit, after trying a number of very
tasty basses, I decided on a Musicman Sterling. But, as it was going at such a reasonable price, I had enough left to also get my old favourite, the Cort GB99. Result!
OK, it may all seem a bit un-necessary but I was so glad to have one of these again. I'm not saying it's up there, with
the Sterling and Gryphon. But bloody hell, it's not that far off.
Made in Korea, the GB99 is loosely based on Fender's Jazz bass. The body and head differ in shape a little, from the
original but the pickups and controls (2 vols and a tone) are the same. It's a simple, passive bass, with reasonable
hardware. The Hipshot tuners are nice, as is the bridge, although I'm unsure as to it's brand. It even has a Neutrik, locking jack socket. It's good quality but I really can't see the point in a locking jack socket. I'd rather the jack came out than the bass be yanked and it takes 2 hands to remove the jack, which can be mildly irritating. The rotary controls are solid and fitted very well. The pickups are single coil alnicos, by Mighty Mite. They have a reasonably good J-bass sound but the output is not high. Infact this is the one element of the bass I may change. I'm a big fan of Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pickups and am seriously considering putting a pair on this Cort.
The build quality is very good, as is the finishing. The body is basswood, with a topping of that gorgeous burl poplar. It has a sunburst-like darkening, around the edge, which all blends and goes together, rather well. The maple fretboard is bound, with block markers. It looks very nice against the body and matching headstock. Also, it is quite a slim, J-bass type neck, that is very easy to play. The action is pretty low but still feels nice and solid.
The feel of this bass is light and quite fast. But there's enough there to keep it grounded and quite ballsy. The fretting is accurate and overall the bass has a smooth sound and feel to it, with a tiny bit of growl. The Cort GB99 would make an excellent gigging bass for most players, who prefer the passive, J-bass sound and feel but want something a little lighter and a little different. The bass has charisma and character. For low-mid price, you get a high-mid price bass. Add some pickups of your choice and it's a winner, all round.