Today, the Cort Guitar Corporation is known as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for guitar brands such as Ibanez, ESP, Schecter and G&L. In its earlier days, it mostly manufactured inexpensive guitars as well as brand-name copies. During the 1970s, the Korean-based company manufactured acoustic guitars, notably under the names Cortez and Cortley, of which the J6000 was a popular model. Currently, the Cortez and Cortley J6000 have somewhat of a cult following.
Founded in 1973, Cort guitars is the result of a partnership between Yung H. Park and Jack Westheimer. Early on, Cort was involved in many lawsuits with major guitar corporations -- including Fender and Gibson -- for offering knock-off copies of well-known guitar models. The Cortez J6000 is one example of a copy cat. Despite any reputation for cheapness, however, the Cortez J6000 is a fine guitar in its own right.
For a copy of the Martin D45 Dreadnought, the Cortez J6000 is a fairly well-made guitar. The back and sides of the guitar are constructed of maple with darker wood used for the sides and partially on the three-piece back. The J6000s front consists of lighter-shade spruce. Abalone trim is used extensively on the J6000: on the front and back bindings, between the color separation on back and for the sound-hole rosette. Green Abalone is used for the fret inlays on the J6000s rosewood neck. The Cortez name is featured running the length of the headstock's center.
Similar Cort Guitars
Cort guitars also manufactured both the Cortley J6000 and C75 guitars. The Cortley J6000 is identical to the Cortez J6000, while the Cortley C75 is the same as the Cortez J6500. Both guitars were manufactured in a lighter shade of maple on the sides and back, with a light-spruce top, distinguishing them from the J6000 models.
The Martin D45
The Martin D45 Dreadnought acoustic guitar, the inspiration for the Cortez J6000, is considered one of the finest acoustic guitars ever made. Originally designed for Gene Autry before World War II, the Martin D45 is made with 100-percent Indian rosewood and is completely assembled by hand. The Cortez and Cortley J6000 models are not completely handmade. However, the Cort guitars and the Martin D45 share the abalone-shell trim.