Adam Black HS Centre review

  • £219

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

Image 1 of 2 Adam Black HS Centre
The black racing stripe is really complimented by the open humbuckers
Image 2 of 2 Adam Black HS
The angular headstock and slightly pointy horns give the guitar a modern feel

Our Verdict

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

For

  • Modern vibe. Great distortion tone.

Against

  • We can't complain at £219.
Buying options

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.

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Tech Specs

Country of OriginUSA
Available Controls2 x Tone 2 x Volume 3-way Pickup Selector
Available FinishWhite/Black
Fingerboard MaterialEbony
Guitar Body MaterialMaple
HardwareBlack
Neck MaterialMaple
Pickups2 x Humbuckers