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This article was originally published in issue #33
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Faith is now established as a quality manufacturer of very credible acoustic guitars. Designed by the highly respected British luthier Patrick Eggle, though the guitars are made in Indonesia, it's his knowledge and DNA that is put into every Faith guitar. From past experience, it shows. But do the latest models live up to the high reputation Faith won, more or less from the moment it was launched?
On review we have a Faith Drop Dreadnought FRSB45 which to me has hints of a cool old Gibson look about it, with its dark burst that has some deep browns, reds and ambers - all quite understated and tasteful. It's one of those looks that will look better and better the older and more played this guitar gets. The body is finished in a very high gloss lacquer and I suspect for the price range that this guitar sits in it will be a poly finish rather than the much more labour intensive, and therefore more expensive, nitro cellulose finish (he's correct - Ed). Some nice touches are the binding around the body which is rosewood, and the single abalone rosette around the sound hole.
The Faith's top is solid red cedar, while the back and sides are solid mahogany, so there is no compromised laminated manufacture going on here and it's the real deal. Mahogany is a rich and warm sounding wood that gives this guitar emphasis in the lower mids, whilst the cedar top balances the equation by giving the tone focus and clarity. Even the bracing inside the guitar is quarter sawn maple. When maple is quarter sawn, it is cut in the direction of the grain for maximum resonance. The bracing is also in an X brace design, which Patrick uses in his own hand built guitars.
The neck is very comfortable and this guitar comes in a choice 43mm or 45mm nut width. I am not sure which our review guitar is but it feels very comfortable and instantly playable. The neck finish is satin which is great in the hand, and the fretboard is made of macassan ebony with a nice brown and black grain to it - a real high quality wood. Up the top there are quality Grover machine heads with black ebony buttons, and the head face and bridge are also the macassan ebony to match the fingerboard.
There are no onboard electrics with this one, so the choice of pre-amp is left to you if you really want one. I say 'if you really' because acoustically this is a fine sounding guitar and any decent mic will give great results in the studio and also give that purity and warmth that you can sometimes lose when using a direct out to desk from an on board pre-amp. That said, there's plenty of choice of pickup/mic on the market and there's a lot to be said for leaving the choice to the customer.
Soundwise, as I say, the guitar is loud, warm, almost strident and resonant. Great for aggressive loud/soft dynamic playing. The guitar will also improve with age like most good acoustics do, but straight out the very nice plush lined hardcase, it's a do it all sound that can cater for most situations. Each guitar has its own character. Even the same models with same wood will all be slightly different, which is part of the beauty of wood, and due to the mahogany spec of this one, it's a nice fat warm rich tone which I personally like very much. Being made of solid woods, you can expect it to age and play-in well, developing even more character as time passes.
Being asked to give my opinion on various amps, pedals and guitars is obviously a lucky position to be in. Not only does it keep me in the loop about what's going on gear wise with all sorts of products that I wouldn't otherwise search out, but it also enables me to form a more objective opinion on what is average, good, and very good. Having tried three or four Faith guitars now, I can safely say they are consistently great sounding and playing acoustics that you would be hard pressed to better for the money. In fact, at the price it's easily the equivalent of some of the megabucks 'big name' brands, so be sure to check one of these out if this style of Dreadnought is what you're looking for. Even though it's quite an expensive guitar, we still feel that it offers excellent value for money - hence that coveted extra half a star.