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I need my Cort refretted and some good fret leveling done - sources?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Hey folks. I have a 12 year old Cort A4 Artisan that has served me incredibly well since I bought it new in 2000.

    (EDIT: To prevent you from having to read for more than 2 minutes, here's a synopsis. I want to refret my bass. I would like stainless steel frets. I don't have a luthier I trust in my area and I need a reference. There ... that's the short version for those suffering from Twitteritis. However, if you're able to read roughly about as fast as you can speak, below is only about 2 minutes worth of informational time suckage. :) Thank you.)

    I'm attempting to answer more questions than I generate, so here's everything I can think of:

    MAIN REASONING: I was about to buy another mid-priced bass to continue moving forward with some project ideas I have going on. But I've decided to instead invest that money into doing some refurb work on my Cort.

    WHY STAINLESS?: I've wanted another bass with stainless steel frets since I built a Warmoth with them years ago. I have since built (uh ... assembled?) ten other Warmoths .. all guitars .. and each one has SS frets on them. I live in a rural area with nothing in the manner of trustworthy luthiers anywhere within driving distance. So these SS frets are nice simply because they last so long, as does any fretwork done to them. That alone is a nice feature due to our location and lack of anyone capable of doing touch-up work.

    JUST DO IT YOURSELF, IT'S EASY.: I've often been inspired by the likes of Billy Sheehan to begin doing my own fret-leveling work, or even just minor touch ups. I have some equipment needed for that, such as a high quality 24 inch framing square, mics and dial calipers, and a complete machine shop (mill, lathe, TIG, MIG, Oxy-Acet torch, several drill presses, bench grinders, and so on .... still short that Porter Cable router though!! A powered mitre saw would be a nice addition as well). But I don't feel confident enough to actually do refretting.

    So, I'm looking for someone to help out with this and do the work for me.

    SOLID ENOUGH AND WORTH INVESTING IN?: What follows here are the details about this bass. I'm thinking that this bass is worthy of putting some money into, I really think it could be made into a very excellent player if handed over to the proper person. I'll be converting it over to 2-channel operation soon as well just like I did to my Squier ~modified~ Vintage Modified Jazz 70's bass ...


    This is the first generation of A4s, with the old style bridge and tailpiece and no passive EQ toggle switch. This ain't no plywood bass with a veneer top either, as you can clearly see the solid figured maple wings are .. well .. solid figured maple wings. I'm not sure what the multi-piece laminated neck is lam'd with ... I'm told it's wenge. The headstock is even part of the lams, as the neck is one lamination from the strap button all the way up to the tip of the headstock.

    So I think this is a good foundation worthy of putting some effort into to take it a step or three up the quality totem pole.

    So may I have some suggestions? "SPAM" is welcome, so if you're someone capable feel free to self promote, you have my blessings to do so. I'm willing to ship the Cort off to anywhere stateside, and ~yes, I have a decent case for it. :)

    Here's what you'd be working with ....



    The neck does NOT have binding, it just kinda looks like it does from some angles.


    This is the Cort "Fortress" bridge. It is a certified bitch to do adjustments on. The strings have to be relaxed enough to allow you to turn the threaded saddles up or down. To adjust intonation there is an allen headed machine screw inside of each saddle track that must be loosened, then the saddle is simply slid by hand to another spot, then retighten the saddle screw, retension the string(s) and retest intonation. It isn't impossible it's just a hassle. The payoff is unreal sustain and crazy harmonic overtones ... piano-like. The bridge is counter-sunk into the neck quite a bit, so it is pretty massive, and solid brass.



    Frets 1 through 4 are pretty worn out in a few places. I used this bass during my "animal" phase of learning to play more aggressively. I'd like to have it given that "Warwick" level of playability. I've owned one and got a bit spoiled! :)

    I currently have the J as my beater, which I go from pick to fingers with. But the Cort is played fingers-only. It's been used on countless gigs, over 250 recorded songs, and been hauled all over the Desert Southwest. And it still looks as good as these pics present.

    Top end budget is about $500 for this project. That has to cover all of the shipping/insurance as well. I plan on retaining the stock licensed Bartolini single coils, and the stock tuning machines seem to be adequate. The nut is solid brass and seems to be in fine shape as well (although it falls off everytime I restring it, it's been that way since the first month I owned it. I've never felt like it needed to be attended too, it seems to stay put and notes still ring foooorrrr ~~~~ evvv ~~~~ errrr.......

    There, that's the whole pile of noodles. Sorry about the verbous post, but I'm notorious for that.

    Thank you, Flux Of Earth.
  2. Here's the back of the headstock. The tuning machines are most likely Gotoh Y-key copies, or something along those lines. They seem to work well enough and hold it in tune though. Unless advised otherwise I see no need to replace them for no other reason than "prestige value". This bass was made in Korea.


    And here's the edge of the fretboard, in case any of this makes any difference (I wouldn't know) .....




    I am no kinda expert on bass design issues or bass contruction issues as far as what makes for a solid foundation and an instrument worthy of putting a few hundred dollars in to, but from my untrained eye this bass seems to have many of the ~right stuffs~ to make a very nice, great playing bass guitar.

    I've tried to offer as much information that I can as well as present things I thought were relevant.

    So, I'd appreciate opinions about how worthwhile it would be to put time/money into this bass, aside from any sentimental value.

    Thank you for tolerating my long winded presentation. There are hundreds of dollars worth of decisions hinging on the fruits of this topic, so I needed to make sure I covered everything. I'm not wealthy, and five hundred moneychecks is something not easily come by, so it has to be wisely spent. I hoping to determine if what I am proposing is .. in fact .. a wise thing to do with that much money, or would I be better off saving a bit more and buying a midrange Spector or something along those lines (that seems pretty redundant though, considering what I already have in this Cort as a resource).

  3. Well, I think I have this situation dealt with. I am going with a fella known as Jay Kolanda at NTL Guitars in Nashville.

    Since I couldn't get anyone to reply to this inquiry I had no choice but to seek out another source. It's too bad really, I'm literally trying to throw some work to someone here at TB and I couldn't get a single reply or even a single reference.

    My instincts about the national economy must be valid. Things must be getting better, I mean where I live (pop less than 100k) last month there were fouteen new business licenses issued just to taxi cab companies alone. "Manpower" has reported over 750 jobs they have listed without takers. Several auto dealerships are building all new facilities with new lots and additions to old lots. My sister works at a local tire company (a really BIG place) and they were advertizing for an opening in the upper management (six figure job) and couldn't get a single taker in three months time and still haven't filled the position. The postal service and UPS are predicting the busiest holiday season ever. Ticket sales to motor racing events are reporting record sales (some by nearly double) .. of course this does not include NASCAR which is on it's way out (it isn't real racing anymore, it's just this giant TV drama/money game .. even some of the ~racers~ sarcastically refer to the races as "marketing events" instead of races. It's pretty much some boring stuff that's centered more around "social media involvement" and advertizing that it is about racing.).

    Anyhow, Jay will do a fine job on my bass. I've used him for a repair on a Warmoth neck before and he did excellent work at highly reasonable rates. Warmoth actually recommended him for the repairs in that particular situation, and they didn't steer me wrong.

    Thanks anyhow. :) I'm glad that everyone is so busy! That's very encouraging :).

    Best wishes, and be well everyone........