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This article was originally published in issue #28
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Faith Guitars are designed in the UK by Patrick James Eggle, one of the world's top guitar builders who, since 2005 has been an integral part of the Faith design team. A hand built Eggle acoustic will cost you thousands (we reviewed one back in Issue 5 - Ed) and Patrick has used his expertise to develop this range of Asian-built acoustics which has grown from the Faith Series 1 (2002 - 2005) to Series 2 (2006 - 2009) and most recently the Series 3 (2010 - present). With a comprehensive line-up based upon a selection of Eggle designed shapes and proven all-solid tonewood combinations, there are plenty of options to choose from and the one we had in for review this time, by no means our first Faith, was an all-mahogany Neptune electro cutaway.
Mahogany is currently fashionable in acoustic circles, after a period where it had been somewhat in the background of tonewoods. Well, this one is all-mahogany - the neck, back, sides, and bracing are all the same wood. Topped with a Macassan ebony fingerboard (also used for the bridge), this is a beautiful looking instrument, with an immaculate finish and attention to detail throughout.
Mahogany is a stiff, hard and dense tonewood that provides a characteristic sound. As a top end wood, it's often referred to as very “warm” and “woody” sounding and used throughout this handsome guitar tonal continuity is maintained and the common adjectives ring true. All the notes rang clear, including individual notes in a chord - nothing ever sounded muddy or lost in the mix. The guitar resonated well and generated fantastic acoustic volume and dynamic range. Check out the video to hear it for yourself.
The set-up on our sample was perfect, providing great tuning stability and intonation throughout. The action certainly wasn’t high, but if you are used to a very low electric guitar set-up than this may feel a little tougher on the fingers, but the slightly higher action only aided to the excellent tone across the entire scale length. As we always say, adjustments are easy and any good guitar shop will be happy to set yours up to suit your style.
The satin finished neck was comfortable and the cutaway allowed ample access to the high end frets. This particular Faith was an electro-acoustic which features a Shadow Performer tuner/pre-amp, and a Shadow Nanoflex II pickup. The built-in tuner is a nice touch and works well, using a clear LED display. A basic EQ including Phase button and Volume control, enable you to get the tone you require. Plugged in, I'm happy to say that the Faith didn’t lose any of its natural tone or clarity. There were no feedback issues, and the Nanoflex II Pickup responded well to dynamics and does a great job of delivering the guitars true tonal characteristics. A hard case is also included, that was of the same excellent standard.
In conclusion, the Faith Neptune Cutaway is a brilliant acoustic guitar, capable of all the sounds and styles most players could ever want. Build quality was exceptional, as was the finish and most importantly the tone, which excelled whether unplugged or plugged in. I suppose not everyone will want the mahogany sound, though I've yet to meet a player who dislikes the warm tone of a great mahogany guitar - and this certainly is one! An excellent top end high quality acoustic, I advise to go and give one a try. You can easily compare it with guitars costing a lot more. Don't be surprised if you prefer the Faith!