Fred Reviews His “Stellar” NEW/USED Adamas Guitar

Fred is a good, trusted friend, a regular reader and contributor to this blog, and I think it’s safe to say that his knowledge of guitars is significantly above average. His ability to find a bargain is uncanny and world class.

Fred recently purchased a used Adamas on ebay, and since he wrote to me about it, I’ll simply quote him and then add my two cents – or more. we’ll see

“Hello Prof. Dave,
I recently bought one of the most under rated electric acoustics made in the USA. As far as acoustic dreadnaughts go, I have played every thing that would be considered the best. That includes Martin, Larivee, Taylor, Gibson, etc.. Recently I managed to get my hands on an Adamas. This is not a dressed up Ovation. if you get the chance to play one you’ll find that is an exceptional instrument. Ovation has always been a great guitar to play, they are extremely stable, and playability can be maintained and relied upon for what ever your style. My last Ovation was however lacking in tone and projection. The Adamas, with its carbon fiber top is far better suited to the synthetic Lirichord back.  Projection is very good, but the tone is off the charts. It is the brightest guitar I have ever heard, without a hint of tininess. The response is razor sharp, it remains crisp and crystal clear even during hard driving hard strumming. Another aspect of this guitar that I find I’m liking more and more as time goes by, is the round back. Those times I go from some weeks of working with an electric and I go back to a normal acoustic, I find the thick body to be uncomfortable to hold. The bowl back however allows the guitar to roll giving a better position for your right arm.  It dose take a bit of getting used to but once you’ve got it, it’s like riding a bike, it just feels natural. These guitars are expensive and are priced with the high end Taylors and Martins. I consider myself very lucky, I found mine (a stellar example) used on e-bay for under a thousand dollars. This guitar is one of two in my collection I plan to keep for ever.”
Those were Fred’s comments – these are mine: don’t count on finding an Adamas in stellar condition for under $1,000 – Fred’s a pro and his tricks should not be attempted by amateurs. That really is an amazing price to pay for an Adamas. I say that for a few reasons.
First, they’re so well constructed, so strong that I believe you can put one of these in a case and in 4,000 years archeologists can unearth it, pull it out of the case and play it. It’s simply not subject to some of the damage that even superbly made wood guitars may experience.
As far as tone is concerned, I completely agree with Fred. Although I’ve played some Ovations in the same lofty price range of $2,500 – $3,500 with AAA Sitka Spruce tops that sounded magnificently, which is what you’d expect from a guitar in a lofty price range.
Adamas and Ovations have exceptional playability. The construction of the Adamas redefines “durable.” When introduced, Ovation was a true innovation in guitar design and use of alternative materials. Adamas is no less annointed. They are underrated and do stand up to competition very well.
I think Ovation and Adamas have superb electronics too that really take advantage of the science of the instruments design. One of my regular performers at our Open Minded Mics, singer-songwriter Joey McGowan, has a high end Ovation that stads up to anything else being played onour stage for tone, sustain and playability.
The bowl, the bowl, the bowl; what to do about the shape of that body? Or the shape of my body? I think Fred is right again in that it takes some getting used to and then it becomes second nature. That may be the biggest resistance to these guitars. When you first strap one on, ti does feel awkward. Not bad, but different. So you’ve come to a point where you’re willing to shell out $3,000 for a guitar, do you choose one that you played in the music store that felt awkward and different or one that feels familiar? Most of us will go withfamiliar.
If you favor the carbon fiber construction but the back is too distressing, you might consider trying a Rainsong guitar. It’s a fine instrument with similar durability. Since sound and tone, like beauty, arein the eye (and ear) of the beholder, you decide. I’ve played both and prefer the Adamas. But the Rainsong is quite good too.
It’s a bit of faith that you need to show, that you will adjust. If you’re really interested in an Adamas, and willing to shell out the bucks, here’s a thought, but an inexpensive Ovation, used for a couple of hundred dollars, get used to the bowl, sell it and get your money back and buy the Adamas with confidence. OR, you can have Fred find you a super deal on an Adamas, and if you find you don’t like it you can resell it at a profit.
So the gauntlet is down Fred: bring your “stellar” Adamas down here, get on the stage and let’s hear it in action.
Thanks Fred.
If you have an opinion on a guitar or bass, I’d love to hear from you. If you recently shopped for an instrument, what did you try? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What did you end up buying? Please reply on this blog or write to me at or reply on this blogy. Thanks for reading. Prof. Dave

3 thoughts on “Fred Reviews His “Stellar” NEW/USED Adamas Guitar

  1. So now you know. It is a real pleasure to read this, and I have a smile on my face. I own several Ovation Elites, Legends and even a few Adamas guitars. I also own higher end Taylors (916, 816) and I STILL love my Ovation guitars. My 1537 (a.k.a ‘wood topped’ Adamas before they started actually making wood topped Adamas guitars) is just absolutely excellent in every way a guitar should be, and it’s beautiful, too. The true “wood topped” Adamas are actually available now. The ‘real’ Adamas wood tops have the suspension ring, which is what makes Adamas guitars Adamas guitars. However, the Ovation Elite 1537′s are exquisite instruments, with fabulous sustain, excellent tone, wonderful necks … I could go on and on. If you can find one, grab it, even if it’s a bit beat up. You won’t be sorry. It’s so nice to discover that people are starting to hunt them down. Also, Ovation/Adamas 12 strings are the best you can get out there! Maybe not the most expensive, but definitely the best for sound, playability, blah blah blah! That’s MY story, and I’m sticking’ to it. Please forgive any redundancies or typos!

  2. i was seriously thinking about a new purchase myself. I was leaning towards a new Taylor or Gibson Hummingbird. I own a 1651 Ovation. (one associated with Lennon) I’ve got to tell you I love the way this sounds and plays. I could not be happier.
    Now I may have to rethink my purchase….and look into Adamas.
    Besides they’re still manufactured in the U.S. A very big plus in my book.

    • Thanks for your comments. There are a lot of great guitars out there – wonderful sound, exceptional playability and I advize everyone to have fun shopping and keep an open mind.

      Adamas does have a sparkling sound and great electronics. I tend to prefer the warmer, less lively sound of a solid wood guitar but Adamas is not a “second best” choice. They make great guitars.

      If you play at outdoor events, an Adamas has some interesting advantages. I find the electronics to be top of the class, and the graphite body in unaffected by moisture and the weather – that’s the graphite body, not the electronics, they can still be damaged.

      There are a few lesser known brands made in America iand also other all graphite guitars such as Rainsong and Composition Acoustic that are worth checking out.

      In the higher price range my personal favorites are Adamas, high end Ovations (with solid wood tops), Taylors, Martin Performing Artists Series, Laravee (awesome stuff), and for sparkling sound in a solid wood guitar, Gibson offerings are wonderful choices too.

      Have fun shopping and thanks again for writing.
      Prof. Dave