A guitar designed by Greg Bennett, produced in Indonesia, and styled after the vintage high-end. Does it Deliver?
Greg Bennett is a no-bullshit kinda guy; soft spoken and passionate, a consummate gentleman and a true designer of fine instruments. When Samick approached him to re-invigorate their brand and merch, I was thrilled. I knew that the man behind the plans had no place in his heart for making pawn shop plywood.
When I was sixteen or so, I went to my local music shop and played a Greg Bennett Les Paul. After many years and many mods and lots of destructive tendencies? That guitar is still my ONLY stage guitar. I won’t play without it. To say it’s a work-horse isn’t giving it enough credit, but I digress.
So we’re here to talk about the Om8ce. This is one of the acoustic offerings from Greg Bennett. Should you buy one? Yes. Yes you should. Why? Many, many reasons.
As a guitar player, everyone kind’ve mimics what they love. I love the sound of acoustic guitars, played with intricate finger paterns and lots of harmoic resonance with oodles of crisp tone. In the video for this particular guitar, Greg himself says that the Om8ce has a very “James Taylor” sound. While yes, that CAN be true, I find that to be a bit lacking in descriptve depth for the active player or potential buyer.
Starting at the headstock, there’s a beautiful attention to detail on the cap-wood. Greg’s signature is done in gold to compliment the gold-plated Grover Tuners that come standard on this model. Grover tuners. Makes a WORLD of difference when you’re trying to get the note correct, and I’m damn glad they didn’t skimp out and use chinsey die-cast junk. The headstock itself? Distinctive, certainly, but still kinda goofy lookin. I have to say though, it’s still substantial enough to suit the guitar overall, so I can’t complain too too much. The nut is white graphite if I’m not mistaken, and again, that’s really the way a mature designer thinks; as a guitar player would. The neck is a beautifully thin, elegantly rolled Nato. The frets are immaculately done, and leave plenty of room for action adjustment and string thickness changes. The fret board adornment is simple, and understated with petite snowflakes; and then we get to the body.
Wow. I mean it. I don’t CARE if it’s REAL abalone on the rosette, and around the binding. I just don’t. It looks BEAUTIFUL, and it’s flawlessly done. The Cedar top is a nice straight grain, and gives the guitar an aged appearance straight out of the box. The Rosewood sides and back are equally stunning, and not to get too poetic about it, but for the men, remeber that one girl in highschool who’s hair was almost hypnotizing? That’s what the grain on this looks like.
The electronics are Fishman. That’s right. Fishman. What does that mean? That means that even plugged in, you’ve got an advantage over the guy with OTHER electronics.
The only real issue worth dickering over is the bridge pins. The Om8ce comes stock with plastic pins with black dots. Really, not a bad choice stylistically, but for a guitar that’s this good already? Go ahead and buy some Tusq abalone bridge pins. The upgrade in tone and appearance more than justify your shelling out a little more cash after buying this guitar.
Once you have those installed? You can re-string with confidence, and put a pillow on the floor where you plan on playing so you don’t break the jaw you’re about to drop.
Crystal clear highs, a mid-range that rivals some of the best guitars I’ve ever played, and a low end that’s strong without being muddy or over-the-top. Is this a finger-style guitar? Probably. Do you have to play it that way to appreciate the sound? Hell no, play it the way you want to, and it won’t let you down. When you take a pick to this guitar, it SINGS out, and for a smaller bodied guitar, it’s got a really impressive amount of projection.
I picked mine up on ebay for, I’m not kidding, 250$. I’m so pleased with this purchase that not only did I just spent twenty minutes of my time going over this guitar in a review, I plan on doing a video with it to showcase the sound. I don’t care how much they’re asking for it, BUY one of these guitars. You’re not going to be dissappointed.