Adam Black HS Centre

A semi-solid electric that looks like a zebra, but has it earned its stripes?

We're big fans of Adam Black, so when we stumbled across a racing-striped semi that had pickups called ASBOs, we just couldn't dial his number fast enough.

Hands on

It's refreshing to find a semi that doesn't think it's still 1958.

"This is a modern classic with a finish to match," says UK distributor Rosetti. "It's a hard-rocking guitar hidden beneath a classic-looking exterior".

Structurally, the maple body isn't a huge departure from what you'd expect from this style of semi-solid, but we're intrigued by those humbuckers.

"ASBOs are for players who don't care about clean tone, noise regulations or neighbours!" says the company website.

Visually, the HS Centre is arresting, as is the physical performance.

The finish is neat, the tuners held pitch well and there's a modern feel to the neck and board that meant we played this model with more technical ambition.

When you call a humbucker an 'ASBO', you had better make sure it rocks. Mission accomplished.

Traditionalists will be pleased to hear that, played clean, you get the mellow flavour that's central to the semi mythology.

The difference is, we felt this guitar was that bit more convincing when we cranked the gain, spitting aggressive lead at the bridge and a scary rumble at the neck.

Granted, it still wouldn't cut it at the Download Festival, but hard rockers might be surprised.

Conclusion

So it's not quite the guitar that Ibanez-lovers should run out and buy, but rock players could do worse than give this zebra a second glance.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Modern vibe. Great distortion tone.

Cons

We can't complain at £219.

Verdict

A modern-looking semi that gives the style a real up-to-date makeover.

Country of Origin

USA

Available Controls

2 x Tone 2 x Volume 3-way Pickup Selector

Available Finish

White/Black

Fingerboard Material

Ebony

Guitar Body Material

Maple

Hardware

Black

Neck Material

Maple

Pickups

2 x Humbuckers

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.