Adam Black O-7CE review

  • £225

You may not be familiar with the brand, but Adam Black is a name you'll want to remember

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Our Verdict

Some sloppy construction lets down an otherwise promising budget instrument.

For

  • Solid performance with onboard Fishman preamp.

Against

  • The top's unappealing hue, minor construction flaws.
Buying options

The entry-level acoustic market is a competitive one indeed and the Adam Black Guitar Company is trying to stand out.

Hands on

The Indonesian-made 0-7CE cutaway features a dovetail neck joint, solid top and scalloped bracing.

Scalloped bracing is an important feature as in theory it allows the guitar's solid top to resonate more freely, thus enhancing the tonality and dynamic response of the instrument.

Along with such construction features that impact upon the way that the guitar sounds, there are a number of decorative additions over and above what one might expect for the price.

The abalone-inlayed rosette is attractive and adds an element of luxury to proceedings, although sadly the same can't be said of the headstock logo.

The font choice for the logo itself isn't the most inspiring and we reckon the abalone here is a little superfluous.

Reassuringly, 0-7CE features sealed Grover tuners; a quality touch that bodes well for tuning stability.

The guitar also feature unusual, eye-catching rosewood back that has dramatic dark streaks running near parallel to the back's centre join.

The solid cedar top is a little too dull in its colouration for our tastes. The application of the maple binding around its edge also looks rather hasty.

There are several instances, most notably in the cutaway, where a glue-filled gap and instances of feathering are clearly visible.

The electro component is a Fishman Classic 4 preamp, with the expected three-band EQ, volume and a brilliance control that either enhances or tames the high-end content.

Inspection inside the sound hole reveals that the preamp's mounting screws have been screwed into the sides without any internal lugs to act as an anchor, so as such the screw ends are literally exposed and protruding inside the guitar.

While such corners are often cut at this end of the price scale, this lack of attention to detail isn't merely untidy, there are practical impactions too.

As battery access for the preamp involves unclipping and lifting the whole unit from its cradle in order to replace the nine-volt PP3 battery, this means the unit is at a greater risk of working loose over a period of frequent use.

Sounds

Plugged into a quality acoustic amplifier, the piezo pickup colours the sound somewhat, negating a little of the 0-7CE's natural character.

The Fishman Classic 4's brilliance control should be approached with caution as the tone sounds overtly artificial in the higher reaches of its range.

But when used to roll off a little of the innate zing of the pickup we were rewarded with a warm, balanced and versatile voice, albeit one lacking a little personality.

Conclusion

Our principle beef with the 0-7CE is that it just seems to lack a little personality, and the construction imperfections are rather unsightly.

Nevertheless, the piezo performance is solid enough and the Fishman Classic 4's brilliance control proves to be a valuable aid to tone shaping.

It's always a challenge for a brand to establish itself, particularly in the already crowded field of entry-level acoustics, this has much offer the guitarist on a budget.

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Tech Specs

Country of OriginIndonesia
Available FinishNatural finish only
Back and Sides FinishLaminate
Back MaterialRosewood
Body StyleOrchestral
Bolt-on NeckYes
Bridge54mm
Bridge MaterialRosewood
Case IncludedYes
CutawayNo
Fingerboard BindingMaple
Fingerboard MaterialRosewood
FretlessNo
Includes BagNo
InlaysAbalone Dots
Left Handed Model AvailableYes
Manufacturer's DescriptionElectro cutaway version of the O-7 acoustic. Ideal for the studio, live or just unplugged! Now available lefthanded.
Max Rim Depth90
Neck MaterialMahogany
No. of Frets20
No of Strings6
Nut MaterialSynthetic
PickguardNo
Scale Length (mm)648
Sides MaterialRosewood
Top FinishNatural Gloss
Weight (kg)4
Weight (lb)1.8
Width at Nut (mm)44
Built-in Chromatic TunerNo
Low-battery LEDNo
PickupPiezzo
PreampFishman Classic 4