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Old 03-13-2010, 07:33 PM
gary0319 gary0319 is offline
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Default Greg Bennett (Samick) OM 8Ce Review & Pics

Recently I have been on the lookout for a Cedar topped OM size guitar. I’ve had a number of Cedar topped Taylors including a 712, a 712ce and most recently a GC5. Each time I’ve traded them away as not having that special Cedar sound I get when I play my brothers mid 90’s Taylor 514c. Since $ are tight right now, shelling out a couple of grand+ for a new 514ce is not in the cards at this time.

Then last week I dropped into our local Mom’s and Pop’s Music store and was playing a few new Larrivees they had on the rack when this cedar topped Greg Bennett (who the heck is that??) OM size guitar caught my eye. I picked it up and got a stool and ran a few chord progressions and the memory of my brother’s ’97 514c cam flooding back. Now, I didn’t know anything about this Greg Bennett guy or this strange company, Samick, that was on the label. I put the guitar back on the rack and left the store, but………that tone was really fetching and it stayed with me through the weekend. So, this last Monday I went back and played it again and after talking with the shop person and haggling some price reductions I put the guitar on hold with a promise to come back two days to buy it or put it back on the rack.

Just to get to the end of this tale, I bought it on Thursday of this week and here is the results of my 2 days of putting this guitar through its paces (or at least my paces).

Here is what I have……….

This is an Indonesian built OM size guitar designed by Greg Bennett and produced by the Korean based company, Samick, which has been making guitars since 1958 and is currently one of the largest, if not the largest, builders of guitars in the world. Samick builds under it’s own Greg Bennett label as well as for other companies. Some say a lot of the Epiphone guitars are built in a Samick factory. The Greg Bennett (GB)/Samick line of guitars are mostly noted for their low entry level pricing, but do produce some all solid guitars.

The OM 8ce is one of the models in the Continental Series of Greg Bennett guitars. The Continental series all have solid tops and laminated backs and sides. The OM 8CE has a solid Cedar top and Laminated Rosewood back and sides.

The specs……..

Lower bout – 15 3/8”, Upper bout 11 ”, Depth at the end pin – 4 ”, Depth at the neck join – 3 ”.

Rosewood fingerboard with MOP slotted square markers, and rosewood bridge; 25 scale. 1 nut and 2 3/16 string spacing at the saddle.

Faux Abalone rosette and top purfling, 3 piece mahogany neck, all gloss finish

Grover gold tuners, Fishman preamp with 4 band EQ and built in tuner (that actually works well).

Before I bought this guitar I checked the neck angle and it was dead on, action was 3/32 at the low E at the 12th fret and 2/32 on the high E. Nice neck relief when strung with the D’Addario EXP 16 light gauge Phosphor Bronze strings that are standard.

The scalloped bracing is clean and sanded smooth. No excess glue is to be found on the inside of the guitar. The fretboard is a nice piece of rosewood and is even grained with no striping, same for the bridge. I have no idea what the nut or saddle are made of, nor the white colored bridge pins.

The Cedar top shows perpendicular grain in the sound hole, but there are some other minor irregularities in the grain. The Rosewood back & sides are a nice chocolate color but the two sides are not a bookmatched pair. The back has a decorative center stripe. The binding is an ivoroid colored plastic. The headstock is a unique shape with a Rosewood overlay. Some will not like the design, but I find it kind of attractive, at least a welcome diversion from the rest of my guitars that all have the standard “paddle” design.

For me the best part of this guitar, other than the surprisingly warm and robust tone is the playability of the neck. It is almost a dead ringer for the pre-NT neck on my ’94 Taylor 612c. I can swap a Shubb capo between the two guitars without ever having to change the tension knob. The frets are pretty small making barre chords very easy. The guitar has a lot of bass presence that is enhanced with dropped tunings. It is a joy to play and hear.

In summary, this is a very nice sounding cedar topped OM guitar with a wonderfully slim profile neck (my opinion). The woods and fit and finish are on par with other Pac Rim guitars in this price range and the Fishman preamp, while not the best in the Fishman line, would be adequate for light gigging. I find the tonal quality to be at least the equal of my Yamaha FG730S, my Guild GAD 30R, or even my Taylor GC-4

The shop I purchased the OM 8CE from had two of these and there was a pretty big tonal difference between the two so I suggest trying before buying, if you can. I also found a huge price variance among several online dealers and other small shop owners, so it pays to do your shopping carefully. The price I finally paid was several hundreds of $$ below the original shop sticker price. We can’t divulge prices here, but my final price was in line with other Solid Top/ Laminated Back acoustic-electrics from Yamaha, Epiphone, etc.

Here’s some pics………..










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Taylor 612c (1994)
Taylor Custom GC All Mahogany (2010)
Eastman E10-OM
Recording King ROS-06
Greg Bennett OM 8CE
Yamaha CGX 171 SCF Flamenco

Last edited by gary0319; 03-13-2010 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:43 PM
leeasam leeasam is offline
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how would you like another one for a back up at a great price!!

http://davesguitar.com/samick/greg-b...cent-10079.asp
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:52 PM
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Crossroads Crossroads is offline
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I had one of these, for about 4 years, and sold it last summer.... ( another i should have kept)

Very nice warm sound, and I am sure you will not be disappointed. I read in a guitar mag somewhere that 75% of all guitars were mfg by Samick...
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:08 PM
chas52 chas52 is offline
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go to wikipedia and look up samick music corporation.
I've played a really great piano and a bass (also greg bennett) made by this company.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:13 PM
gary0319 gary0319 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
I had one of these, for about 4 years, and sold it last summer.... ( another i should have kept)

Very nice warm sound, and I am sure you will not be disappointed. I read in a guitar mag somewhere that 75% of all guitars were mfg by Samick...
+1 on the warm sound. Even the lightest touch brings out this lush velvet tone.
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Taylor 612c (1994)
Taylor Custom GC All Mahogany (2010)
Eastman E10-OM
Recording King ROS-06
Greg Bennett OM 8CE
Yamaha CGX 171 SCF Flamenco
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:37 AM
Don Lampson Don Lampson is offline
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Besides being a consultant designer for the Samick operation, Greg Bennett has been a heck of a session guitarman for a long time! He also designed a capo, that reminds me of some 14th century torture device, using a roller to clamp down the strings, which is the largest capo I ever saw!

I've never been impressed with Greg's guitars, but his playing is very impressive! He plays a few standards - Two at a time! His "Stars and Stripes Forever" is one of the best versions I've heard!

I saw him at a music store in Fresno a few years ago, and I'd go to see Greg again! He rocks!

Don
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