GET A MOTHERFUCKING CORT
A-series or B-series.
I just tested some of them out for fun, in the end I've been playing on all sorts of them for over 2 hours.
Seriously, their quality blew me away. Low-low action (also with the B4 which came right out of the box, B4 is probably THE best bass I've ever played in its league, better than any Ibanez I've ever laid hands on), good and usable pre-amp, and nice finishes.
Also, the woods resonated real good, especially on the A-series and Masterbuild series.
Artisan B4 series
This was about the lowest price-class model I've tested there, with good all-round specs and a fancy pre-amp with nifty active/passive-switch.
Of course active would be where it's at, with it's HOT output and "touchiness", which can easily be neutralised with the pickup-mixer (which is very accurate).
But it was suprisingly easy to get a full and rich tone out of it in passive-mode, easier than on my Warwick even, which is dare I say a top-of-the-line bass, but on that one passive-mode is more of a lifesaver-function when the battery's dead. Still, impressive fact.
Yes, rich really is the word you need when describing these electronics. A nice, and especially full tone, but not at all "boomy", and with the pickup mixer you can instantly make your tone sharper (bridge pickup) or more rounded (neck pickup), with the 3-band EQ allowing you to expand on the sound you get out of the mixer.
The bass itself felt sturdy, and to me appeared as very light-weight, but once again, this might be because I'm used to play on a XX-pound Warwick.
Actually, I don't like playing on light-basses, I find comfort and especially trust in heavy woods, but still, this bass didn't seem to dent easily at all.
The wood would be Mahogany, which adds to the punchiness of the sound, but doesn't/didn't really colour the sound in another way, which is just fine.
The hardware was good quality aswell, with Hipshot-tuners and the same bridge ESP-models have, I can't name it, but it gives a whole lot of added sustain.
The price should range between €550 and €600
My experience with the Artisan A4-series
was after the B4, so it might have been a bit underwhelming after the mid-class revelation the B4 was.
The difference between A- and B-series are actually just "some body-features", like neck-through construction. Electronics were the same (Bartolini MK-1 pickups). It was actually just the upgraded version of the B4, but the added features were enough to go with the A-series if you'd have the money.
Should sell for about €750-€850
The most expensive model there was the Masterpiece ABMP-1
, which can be considered their prestige-series. I'll give you a moment to look at its finish.
Mmmm-m what woods.
That would be a maple body with poplar burl top. Maple-bodies can sound a bit flat, but the poplar burl top with its incredible resonance fully compensates that.
The neck is a 5-piece Maple/Wenge one, and Warwick uses wengé wood a lot, cause it adds a distinct 'growl' to the tone.
So in this series, it's obvious the sound doesn't only or mainly come from the electronics, but that the woods colour the tone aswell.
The pickups are different to the other Cort-series aswell, being Seymour Duncans, SJB-3 (the jazz pickup) and SMB4 (the humbucker).
Now the configuration may seem like it's fixated almost solely on the growl (J) and hot output (HB) kind of sound, and yes, it does this with class. But once again it's amazing how usable the pre-amp was. Just a couble of turns on the pickup-mixer, the treble and the mid, and you get a much more neutral and smoothe-sound.
And what remained was still a very clear sound, whereas most if not all 3-band EQ's I tried left you with a much less defined and even muddy sound if not everything on the pre-amp was turned to 100%
Now, the A4 and B4 both were exceptional examples of playability by themselves, with low low action, no fret buzz and "tight" feeling strings, but somehow this masterbuild-series still took it up a notch, I can't put my finger on exactly how or why, but it was very, VERY comfortable, almost bizzarrely so. Played like a dream, really.
This one went for €1080 in our store.
So yeah, long story short, OP: Cort B4 would be good.