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This article was originally published in issue #25
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Admira has been making guitars in Spain since 1944 and has been successful ever since, thanks to its wide range of well-crafted and reasonably price models. I first heard of this make in the '90s, while visiting the UK distributor Barnes & Mullins, when they were still based in London. In those years, many of my London based colleagues were using Admira guitars, as these were great for day-to-day gigs, thanks to their overall quality, tone, playability and really good pickup, but also great for recordings (particularly the best models). I vividly remember being shown one of their top-of-the-range models at Barnes & Mullins. It was a predecessor of the Virtuoso 2147 EC that we are trying today and, suffice to say, I was so impressed that I bought that guitar on the spot and I have played it for over ten years, recording many CDs, including two of mine: ‘Lo Scenario’ and ‘New York Sessions’.
Straight from its box (this guitar doesn’t come with a hard case), the Virtuoso model has a beautiful natural look, as you would expect from a classical guitar. It features a well-finished classical style headstock with a sticker stating that the instrument has been handcrafted. This is always a plus in a classical or acoustic guitar, as this ensures the guitar has been refined to a higher standard and it has been assembled with care and attention to detail. Framing the headstock are the lyre design gold machine heads, which as well as working really well, add an elegant touch to the guitar.
The Virtuoso model features a well-finished rosewood fingerboard, with a bone nut for maximum sustain. Rosewood is a popular tone wood for electro-acoustic models as it is resonant and cost effective. The wide neck is ideal for a classically trained guitarist and for comfortably performing the classical repertoire, as well as for any solo guitar music. Electric guitarists, however, may need a while to get used to it!
As most nylon string guitars, the neck meets the upper bout at the 12th fret and it does so in a fluid and beautifully finished manner. The guitar features a cutaway, which makes soloing on the higher register very comfortable. The main ingredients for its body are solid cedar for its top, rosewood for back and sides and African mahogany for its neck.
A rosewood bridge and nut saddle ensure an improved resonance, intonation and tone and the rosette and purling add another elegant touch to the aesthetic of this instrument.
Playing this guitar, a balanced response, as well as the sweet and equally present timbre is noticeable from the treble to the bass register. The action is quite comfortable, and this could be easily adjusted for an even-more personalised outcome. Beautiful craftsmanship is evident from the headstock to the lower bout, which flow in a harmonious and refined manner.
This model features a Shadow pickup, which guarantees a clear and balanced amplified tone and makes this a really versatile model for both live and studio performances. This features a 3-band equaliser, with bass, mid and treble plus an extra brilliance control to emphasise the higher frequencies. This pickup doesn’t feature a tuner, but this in my opinion is not an issue, as clip-on tuners are so reliable and affordable these days. As you can hear from my demo, the sound solely through the pick up is clear and balanced. You may prefer using a condenser mic, as I have demonstrated, for a more faithful reproduction, or you could combine the two sounds, for a faithfully, but slightly more punchy and feedback-free, tone.
Over the years Admira has produced a wide variety of mid-price-range Classical and Flamenco guitars, earning a good reputation for making well-crafted, reliable and affordable instruments, as well as for offering a wide range of sizes (cadete guitar ¾, senorita guitar 7/8 and requinto guitar ½), and are, as a result, said to be the best selling manufacturer in the world, which judging by this sample is really no surprise.
In conclusion, its finish, playability, tone as well as its Shadow pickup and its cutaway design make this a versatile gigging guitar, ideal for the guitarist looking for an instrument which sounds good through a PA, as well as acoustically.
I strongly recommend finding an Admira dealer near you and trying the 2147 EC Virtuoso model for a ‘test drive'. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised!