Quick Hit: Cort Action HH4 Review

A dual-humbucker 4-string with plenty of switching options defies its price with a tight, light build.


Recorded direct into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: Passive mode, neck pickup soloed, flat EQ.
Clip 2: Active mode, bridge pickup soloed, flat EQ.
Clip 3: Active mode, neck pickup soloed, flat EQ.
 

Ratings

Pros:
Impressive, clean build for a “budget” instrument. Well balanced. Plenty of tone options.

Cons:
Volume pot sensitivity.

Street:
$349

Cort Action HH4
cortguitars.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

Cort’s budget line has a new player in town with the Action HH4, but its low price should not spark prejudgment. This well-balanced 4-string has a body cut from meranti (aka Philippine mahogany) and weighs in at a tidy 8 3/4 pounds. Our test bass was finished in a chic-looking blood-red metallic, and when I scanned the bass closely from top to bottom, I didn’t find an errant glue drop, finish bite, or non-tight component to speak of. The fast, lightly finished Canadian hard-maple neck and damn-near-perfect fretwork kind of had me wondering if I was really sent a bass in the company’s budget line.

The fast, lightly finished Canadian hard-maple neck and damn-near-perfect fretwork kind of had me wondering if I was really sent a bass in the company’s budget line.

The Action HH4’s electronics package provides a bucketful of options with its pair of alnico-5 humbuckers, a 2-band EQ, 5-way switch, and passive tone control, but the tone control’s degree of effectiveness seemed to vary depending on the pickup selection. Though the HH4 is a mid-prominent instrument, I was able to pull some old-school warm tones—yet not overly murky—from the neck pickup in both modes. After cycling through the different configurations in active mode, I parked myself in the third position with both humbuckers fully engaged for a good all-around rock tone with warmth and a nice amount of bite. If I had a single gripe about the Action HH4, it would be the sweep/taper ratio of the volume dial, which was not so gradual from closed to open. Other than that, the Action HH4 is simply a well put-together bass that offers a ton of bang for the buck.

Test Gear: Gallien-Krueger 800RB, Orange OBC212, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4


Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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