In this issue's Quiet Room, Nick Jennison reviewed the Adam Black O-6CE Legacy, a small-bodied electro cutaway folk/orchestral acoustic guitar with a solid spruce top and layered back & sides. Built from well-rounded tonewoods, the O-6CE is suitable for many styles of playing and features an active preamp system with a built-in tuner making this guitar ready for the stage.
As acoustic guitars go, it's hard to go wrong with a good spruce/rosewood orchestra model. With a powerful, deep strumming voice, these larger-bodied guitars are the go-to instrument for songwriters and solo performers, but also for sitting in a full band mix. The Adam Black 06CE is a fine example of this classic formula that's priced to be accessible for most players.
When I say "classic formula", I mean it. The O6CE sports a solid spruce top, laminated rosewood back and sides, a 25.5" mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard. It's a time-tested combination of specs that works great for just about any application.
The body style is what I'd describe as a large "orchestra" model. The waist is quite narrow, and the shoulders are wider and more rounded. Typically a narrower waist on an acoustic guitar results in a more "scooped" midrange, and while the O6CE does have a little less of the midrange fullness I'd expect from a typical dreadnought model, there's still plenty to sit neatly in a busy mix.
Playability on this guitar is unusually good, with an exceptionally low action right from the factory. It's common for guitars in this price range (and even in much higher price brackets) to exhibit the kind of action that works great in the open position but becomes thoroughly unpleasant further up the fretboard. Not so on the O6CE, and this is particularly welcome given the sizeable cutaway. A cutaway is pretty pointless if a guitar's action is so stiff that you can't actually play on the upper frets, after all.
Electronics come courtesy of an under saddle piezo pickup with a large and very full-featured preamp mounted on the side. I'll be honest; I'm not a huge fan of this kind of preamp for a few reasons: firstly, I feel like major EQ adjustments are best left to a sound engineer, and secondly, I'd rather not have a huge chunk of wood cut out of the side of my guitar. My personal biases aside, however, this preamp system sounds really good, and its inclusion makes this guitar a great choice for the gigging musician.
The Adam Black O6CE is a guitar with a classic voice, an equally classic aesthetic and really great playability right out of the box. Whether you're a student looking for a great first/second acoustic guitar, or a working musician who wants a dependable acoustic without breaking the bank, this guitar is a great choice.
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