Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Swap
Cort G280 Select
Playability
73
Sound
68
Build
65
Value
79
Score
69

Reasons to Get
Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Release Year
2021 vs 2020
From a more recent year
Compound Radius
12" to 15.75" vs 12"
Balanced playability for chords and single-notes
Nut Width
1.654'' (42mm) vs 1.625'' (41.3mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Value Score
79 vs 63
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top vs Cort G280 Select

Country of Manufacturing
United States vs Indonesia
Built with higher quality standards
Pickups Quality
Music Man vs Cort
Better pickups
Nut Material
Compensated vs Plastic
Fixes intonation issues
Nut Width
1.625'' (41.3mm) vs 1.654'' (42mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Pickup Mods
Boost vs None
Increases the output of the pickup

Other Key Differences
Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Bridge Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 vs Music Man Custom Humbucker
Different Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 vs Music Man Custom Single Coil
Different Middle Pickup
Neck Pickup
Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 vs Music Man Custom Single Coil
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Alder vs Okoume
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple vs Figured Maple
Different Neck Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-2
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Plastic vs Compensated
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Fretboard Wood
Rosewood
Same Fretboard Wood
Strings
6
Same tuning options
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
5
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Pickups
HSS
High output with beautiful cleans and tone versatility
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Tremolo
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Decorative Top
Flamed Maple vs Figured Maple
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Neck Profile Type
V vs V
Great if you like to hang your thumb over the fretboard
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Medium
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio

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Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top: Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top is probably the better product overall with its final score of 78 compared to the Cort G280 Select's 69 score, although not by a lot.

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top wins when it comes to sound, build quality. On the other hand, the Cort G280 Select has the upper hand when it comes to value for the money.

If you got small hands, none of these guitars will make a big difference when it comes to comfortability.

Which Guitar is Better for Beginners?

If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, the Cort G280 Select is the better choice.

The Cort G280 Select meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top meets only 5. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players.

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing a guitar, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Cort G280 Select Overview

  • From Cort's 2021 G series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" to 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Flamed Maple top
  • Alder body
  • Hard Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Cort CFA-III Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Ergo-V Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Cort Staggered Locking tuners

Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Overview

  • From Music Man's 2020 Steve Lukather series
  • Steve Lukather Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Figured Maple top
  • Okoume body
  • Select figured roasted maple neck neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Music Man Custom Humbucker (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Music Man floating vintage tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • Steve Lukather Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Schaller M6-IND locking tuners

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the guitar. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Cort G280 Select compares to the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top.

Country of Origin Comparison

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Cort G280 Select was built in Indonesia while the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top was made in United States.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Woods Used in Both Guitars

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones.

Woods Used in the Cort G280 Select

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany.

Woods Used in the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top

Figured Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Figured Maple
Okoume wood pattern used for guitar building
Okoume

This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Okoume is an affordable wood and one of the first to replace Mahogany when the prohibitions started. It's generally softer than Mahogany and the tone has warmer lows.

Winner: Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top.

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same guitar model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Cort G280 Select has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

On the other hand, the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top comes with a Compensated nut. Each hole where the string sits at the nut is cut at a different distance from the bridge, which compensates for the different amount of tension that each string is subject to. This fixes most intonation issues across the fretboard, so it gives great tuning stability.

Winner: Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top.

Fret Material

Most guitar fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most guitars end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive guitars come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of these guitars come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both guitars come with a similar bridge: Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

They both have locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune the guitar without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to an electric guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both guitars have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Cort G280 Select
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • High-Quality-Standards Country
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay
Strengths & Weaknesses
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top
  • Locking Tuners
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Boost Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • High-Quality Nut
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Final Build Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Quality of materials 56
Features 75
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 65
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top
Quality of materials 73
Features 70
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 81

Sound Quality Comparison

Determining which guitar sounds better objectively is a difficult task since not everybody will love the same pickups. However, we still can take a look at the instrument specifications to determine how versatile, how much sustain, and the tuning stability it might have. Let's see now how both these guitars compare to each other when it comes to sound quality.

Pickup Configuration

Both guitars have an HSS pickup configuration. HSS provides a great balance if you like to play with a lot of distortion, but also love to use clean tones. You'll get a lot of output at the bridge position, but you'll be able to play bright clean tones at the other positions.

Pickups Quality

The Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top pickups from a more specialized brand than the Cort G280 Select. Its pickups should give you a fuller, richer sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Hard Rock and similar genres.

Both guitars use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top.

Versatility Comparison

Some guitars offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both guitars compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both guitars are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Only the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top comes with some kind of pickup modification: Boost.

A Boost will give your pickups more output, similar to an active pickup. It's great if you like to use a lot of output for heavy genres, but also like to use a cleaner tone often.

Here's the diagram comparing all the pickup combinations you can get with both guitars:

Cort G280 Select pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Cort G280 Select's switch options
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Cort G280 Select
Pickups 60
Sustain 70
Versatility 71
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 68
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top
Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 81
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 79

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare the playability of both guitars. Bear in mind that the guitar will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test a guitar before buying it. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the guitar for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar is to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when we're comparing guitars. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width Comparison

Cort G280 Select Nut Width
Cort G280 Select Nut Width
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Nut Width
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Cort G280 Select has the wider nut with 42mm (1.654'') vs 41.3mm (1.625''). This is a 0.7mm (0.029'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Cort G280 Select, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length Comparison

Cort G280 Select and Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top's Scale Length
Both guitars have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both guitars have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile Comparison

Cort G280 Select Neck Profile
Cort G280 Select's neck profile
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Neck Profile
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

Both the Cort G280 Select and the Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top have a V-shaped neck. This neck shape was more common during Fender's early years. Some people like it because they use their thumb over the edge of the fretboard to press the lower strings. It's rather thicker than most modern necks, so it's not usually used for playing fast solos.

Fretboard Radius Comparison

Cort G280 Select Fretboard Compound Radius
Cort G280 Select's Compound Fretboard Radius
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Fingerboard Radius
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top's Fingerboard radius

Most electric guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Cort G280 Select is the only one with a compound radius. This is a huge win because it will give you the best of both worlds: a more curved radius in the first few frets for chords, and flatter as you come closer to the body for soloing.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both guitars in this comparison are balanced for most hand sizes.

Cort G280 Select:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Fret Size Comparison

Cort G280 Select and Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Frets Size
Both guitars have a similar Medium fret size

Both guitars have a Medium fret size. If you like feeling the fretboard when you play, but also appreciate some easiness to press down the frets, this size offers a good balance for that.

Final Playability Scores

Cort G280 Select
Bending & Vibrato Ease 60
Chord Playability 100
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73
Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 90
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73

Cort G280 Select vs Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top Specs Comparison

General Cort G280 Select Music Man Luke 3 HSS Maple Top
Brand: Cort Music Man
Year: 2021 2020
Configuration: HSS HSS
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Indonesia United States
Series: G Steve Lukather
Colors: Black, Yellow Green, Red Burst
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Alder Okoume
Bridge: Cort CFA-III Tremolo Music Man floating vintage tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Cort Staggered Locking Schaller M6-IND locking
Fretboard: Rosewood Rosewood
Neck Material: Hard Maple Select figured roasted maple neck
Decoration: White Dots Atlante Dot Inlays
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: Ergo-V Steve Lukather
Frets: 22 Medium 22 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12" to 15.75" 12"
Nut: Plastic Compensated
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'') 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way 5 Way
Knobs: Dome Dome
Pickup Mods: None Boost
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 1
Bridge Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTH-77 (Humbucker / Passive) Music Man Custom Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive) Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Cort Voiced Tone VTS-63 (Single Coil / Passive) Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)