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Cort Retro for Christmas!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass V, Dec 4, 2017.


  1. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    just secured purchase of this nice newish Retro... Cort Retro 4 | Jireh Music and More
    made an offer and got it shipped to Hawaii for $300, not too shabby considering the chances of scoring a nice one locally at any price are next to nil. you never know, but why wait?
    it seems these are still quite under the radar, there isn't much info or discussion on them and I'd never even heard of the Retro until this year yet have been very hot on the Curbow. but by all accounts this is the better bass and comes minus all the Curbow's issues and unique / sterile sound, how retro this actually is... we'll see, but one quote was that these are the most J sounding Jbasses out there. of course I'm not immune to thots of modding mine with a big fat mudbucker in the middle and a Chromacaster switch to play with Deaf Eddie - Guitar Whacko! these are probably a modder's playground.
    I'm stoked to finally have a Curbow design and expecting big things out of this bass.
    anybody else a fan of these? or got bad news to report?
     
  2. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Illinois
    That is badass! I had 2 Curbow basses when I was in high school. This looks much more comfortable. Good score!
     
    Bass V likes this.
  3. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    thanx! looks-wise I'd say it has badass potential, overall it's pretty hot, they could have sleeked the pickguard better but I may need that extra space for ?.
    I liked the burst better than the black option, fingers crossed for safe shipping...
    I already have another Cort on it's way, a sweet PJ '90s thing. I may be a new Cort fanboi!
     
  4. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty

    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I've had about 4 Curbow basses, but never had the Retro. Nice score. Body of the Curbow is pretty small, entire bass actually fits in a guitar gig bag.
     
    Bass V likes this.
  5. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    much appreciated, that is v good info, this has no case :/ so I'll hit them up for a beater hsc, that primo headstock is half the deal! discovering these Retros was a real surprise, and nary a negative to be heard about them has me anxiously awaiting and wanting to jump on a local Line6 Lowdown 300 Pro combo @ $250 to compliment it. it's a buyer's paradise out there.
     
    Maxdusty likes this.
  6. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    after being put thru the ringer of endless delays and junk service by both the retail seller in Lawrenceville, GA and the USPS I FINALLY got this thing and it all adds up to a rather unHBD, it didn't even arrive undamaged... and I'm pissed.
    as I assumed, the bass does have potential but it'll take time, effort, and some $ to hopefully bring it all out.
    1) there's a half dime size chunk out of the finish to bare wood along side the input. nobody said diddly.
    2) the J PUs can but won't raise, maybe no springs, the neck PU sitting 1/4'' away ain't sitting well with me, and tho it's sounds pretty good and has some beefy punch it might be able to sweeten further. the bridge PU is about 3/8 down and while it has the J growl that we want it's fairly anemic at this stage, and each are very noisy.
    3) the tone knob has to stay at full bass or it starts to suck away all the tone, at full treble it's just pathetic.
    4) the G string is incompatible with the others which are ok overall and sound full, the G is a skinny wimp.
    5) and they sent it in rather filthy condition.
    6) after having to get on a friggin City bus of all things and travel an hour to pick it up at a PO many miles away cos they screwed that all up too I wasn't about to let it get away again with them trying to reroute to my apt. I was literally sick to my stomach about it, and didn't even know the issues awaiting my inspection.
    7) I get to call the seller tomorrow and have a crappy conversation about his end of it.
    8) after writing this I couldn't care less about setting it up properly til I get things figured out or whatever positives there are and what might end up being great. with the endless hell I tolerated in forced calmity and now considering all it will take in getting things improved I'm pretty bummed. I sure don't feel like playing it.

    so, my high hopes of being a new Cort raver are squelched for now but I'll sleep on it once I get past the phone call and regenerate some enthusiasm towards figuring out the pros and cons and what can be improved we might get a smile, but that's the yin and yang of buying on a whim and without trying, sometimes it simply ain't gonna turn out as expected. at $200 I'll survive the hit but I really wanted this bass to be a special standout and instead it's turning out to be a project where only time will tell.
    that said, I do like a lot of the bass's many other aspects after examining and briefly playing it and tho the neck isn't chunky as I tend to prefer, it'll do nicely in time I'll bet. it's definitely on the narrow Jish side at the nut and kinda shallow but so far no overt dead spots and few hots, and while the frets need some gorgomyte attention they might escape a leveling, we'll see. as for weight this might not even be 7 lbs. and the body is rather petite and it sports a cool headsock, all of which reminds me of my Toby, that ain't half bad, but that's about where the comparisons end for now.

    good thing I've got my stable to fall back on as I suss this out, and my old Cort PJ carved top is still an old school monster as is our friend, Toby, and the rest of the crew, but these first world problems remain a PITA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  7. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    call made and situation rectified with $100 compensation.
     
  8. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    after a set up the strings are closer to the PUs and certainly helped the sound / tones improve to where I can now find a J version of my old PJ Cort's BIG tones reminiscent of a neck positioned mudbucker (my fave), so there's a massive leap in satisfaction along with the sweet med. low action which had me enjoying the process without even touching the truss rod. I may be able to get it lower as there's plenty of travel left for the saddles, seemingly a rarity to find that much adjustment at hand. now that the BS is in the past and this thing continuing to show high promise, combined with the $fin reimbursement I'm finding reasons to smile about this bass again, and if shielding can quell the single coil noise it will elevate the Retro substantially to equaling the nice sounds with both PUs on full. this silly tone knob is said to be a boost / cut but who needs a cut in tone quality? that will likely go asap once I pop off the pickguard and asses the PU adjustment issues. happily, this is no longer a pig in a poke, now the goal is to mod out the bad and find what works best. for $100 this may turn out to be the best Christmas gift I got this year, but what an ordeal...
     
  9. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    these PUs are so hot I've been struggling to get my favorite sound, that Felix Pappalardi grind, and had put that on the back burner as I sussed this thing out til this morning when I dialed back the gain way more than normal and found the sweet spot, now she's in full glory and the honeymoon can finally began. I'm a happy boy.
    this went from pretty gloomy to where I can suggest these Retros as a very viable consideration, and that they go for peanuts is proof that insane quality is still available for the price of a nothingburger even if mods are warranted. it's become a fun play as is but I'll have no problems now investing towards perfecting what is ending up pretty sweet.
    btw, the boost / cut switch actually comes in handy depending on amps settings, the tone suck can bring out preferable responses instead of the overt deficiency it seemed at first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  10. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty

    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I was looking for the nbd post about the Retro and seeing how the bass was working out for you- didn't realize it was delayed for so long and the condition it came to you. Thankfully, you got a great refund and for what ultimately ends up as a $100 bass (that's pretty darn good). I think on Youtube, there's a video of Scott Grove fixing up a Luthite Curbow - some require some work to get it just right, I remember one of mine needing a shim (just like what happened to Scott in the video) to get the action as low as I'd like. Not too familiar with the two single pickups and how it works with the electronics but even on the single soapbar pickup version, it took a while to figure out how to dial in the right tone - at first I was underwhelmed by my tone options as I didn't really understand the boost/cut thing all too well on this particular bass. Once I understood how to use it, I was able to get it to sound pretty much the way I wanted it or close to it (as mine only has one pickup - two would have made it a better bass ). However, the biggest selling point of the Curbow basses which holds true whether you have the Retro or one of the luthite ones, is that they are incredibly comfortable so once you've got the sound issues all figured out or modded, it's going to be a very nice bass indeed and well worth the effort.
    Anyway, congrats on your new bass - I'm pretty sure it'll all work out.
    Here's the video:-
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Bass V likes this.
  11. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    thanx for all that ;) I'm enjoying the video as I always like Scott's vids and this is a new and long one.
    yes, after a rough start it's come full circle to where I was 2 months ago when I was really stoked about the Retro's potentials and now it's showing it's pros and cons with the negs pretty much being left behind with 2017, and recouping that $100 chunk is all the better after I went straight to the boss at Jireh Music Supplies and he came thru respectively.
    I'm still exploring the simple but sensitive controls and finding a lot in that boost / cut, it really goes from one extreme of huge low end and tonal beauty to the mid notch of normality all the way to other end of what at first seemed unusable yet was deceptive to the extreme. it responds differently with each amp and I'll call that inconsistency a good thing as simply more variety out of 1 bass. I luv how I can get a match to my older Cort PJ's vintage depth of tone and that BIGness in sound is addictive, it's completely different than Curbow's other offerings and is more or a regular bass without the little adjustment screws on the back, slap switch, an whatever else, so I don't know what I'm missing there but not feeling any loss now that it has it's own thing going on. comfort wise it's as expected at the body but the skinny Jazzy neck kinda disappears in my hand at the nut end and I prefer beef so that's on me to make it work.
    (omg :) Scott is slapping his fretless in the video... never heard him do that before)
    but yeah, this is a good bass off the rack and has plenty of room to mod to personal perfection, I'll surely be seeking to shield the electronics in hopes of quieting the single coil hum and that might be it for me. I'm sold on it and should anyone discover an interest in the scarce Retro and search for info there's at least a bit more to be found now and maybe they'll make the cheap leap towards one, especially as a Jbass alternative with more tonal options.
    Maxdusty, I appreciate your interest and support along the way in this saga and I think there's a Curbow club here that I can now check out with a smile on my face. too bad Greg Curbow isn't around to be applauded for his efforts in his expensive customs, the lucites, and this very viable wood option for couch change. he done good!
     
    Maxdusty likes this.
  12. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I too wished this thread would be completely necrotic by now but the ineptness continues!
    check in hand ...with no signature, and my bank mgr. inexplicably unwilling to cover a measly $100.
    tomorrow $ will hardly be an issue but I had plans for that fin today, if I wasn't so happy with this bass my exploding head would've made up for the recent ballistic false alarm. it's been over 40 yrs since someone got me on a bum check, but I'm sure it'll work out. on the plus, I've managed to obfuscate the nasty finish chip with a black sharpie and some drop-in superglue rather nicely and secured a few weak screw fits, especially the strap pins which were only there for show and will get some gorgomyte soon if someone local still carries it. this bass will be a total winner once the losing ends with the retailer, after decades of guitar dealings I've got horror stories galore but man this is definitely one for the books, sure hope the store boss is in tomorrow morning to face this!
    update: supposedly the check is in the express mail.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  13. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    in Retro-spect;
    whatever hassles were had in the past have been easily forgotten as this awesome little bass has been the greatest addition since my last greatest addition/s, the E,A,D are as delicious and commanding as anything I could want, and once the G is perfected it'll be one of the great basses in history. it does everything a good J does plus a bunch more and certainly compares equally with my much aggrandized Toby Std. IV along with it's equally imperfect G string, and being of similar distinction by way of top designers Tobias vs Curbow we have another stunning bargain basement beauty. as much as I've tried to push away this bass has refused to share time with any others, it's a real winner and easily a bass I can admire, but once my new Peavey T-40 arrives that whole landscape will change yet again!
     

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