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This article was originally published in issue #38
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I was excited when I heard I was going to be looking at this Faith 12-string. Faith is one of the most respected acoustic brands in the UK - and with good reason. Though they are made in the Far East, the design and QC is by Patrick Eggle, one of the world's top luthiers. We have never had an even remotely 'off' Faith pass through our hands in the Quiet Room - they have all been of the highest quality - and it's no surprise the brand has won major 'best acoustic' awards for several years in a row. Readers in the USA, incidentally, who haven't been able to find Faith guitars in the past should find that situation easier, following the relatively recent appointment of a distributor there. Google is your friend!
Faith's Venus range will be well known to many readers. The combination of a 15" lower bout and a slimmer depth of body looks to classic OM or Auditorium body-shapes for inspiration, and makes the Venus the perfect compromise, delivering big sounds with a more comfortable and nimble body size. As always, be sure to check out the video to hear and see this guitar for yourself.
The FV12TB Trembesi is a great looking instrument keeping the traditional Faith look and styling. The headstock, as you might expect for a 12-string, is a fairly large affair, but the weight seems to have been evenly distributed so as to not cause a massive issue when playing standing up. The Grover Rotomatic Gold machine heads were smooth and solid offering great tuning stability. The neck is mahogany with a Macassan figured ebony, 21 fret fingerboard. I found the fretboard and shape of the neck very comfortable to play, as was the action and spacing between frets. There were no buzzing or tuning issues anywhere on the guitar, and upper fret access was achievable thanks to the ample cutaway. The top is solid Englemann spruce coupled with a solid Indonesian trembesi back and sides. This wood combination gives it a definite sound, making it ideal for the jangly strummy tone that one might look for in a 12-string, but also warm lows and ringing highs were ample. Quarter-swan spruce bracing in the body helps to bring out the full, rich and warm sounds Faith acoustics are known for.
A Shadow Performer pre-amp and Shadow Nanoflex pickup provide the on-board electrics. The built in tuner was easy to read and accurate and provided a two band EQ and phase control as well.
It's quite often at this point that things start to go wrong. Take a great acoustic guitar, stick a pickup and pre-amp in it and the results can be disappointing but I'm happy to report that the Shadow pre-amp and pickup on this guitar match the quality of the rest of the instrument. A little bit of bottom end was lost when plugged in but you really had to listen out for it. There were no feedback issues, despite being close to the PA, and no unnatural sounding overtones. A 3-band EQ might have been nice for those that really like to tweak their tone to the nth degree, but that's not a noticeable loss when weighed up against the rest of the instrument.
This was the first 12-string I have played from Faith. All their guitars I have played in the past have been top notch so my expectations were high. I wasn't disappointed, it is a fantastic instrument, the build quality alone is a thing of beauty, and it sounds the business. It's not even that expensive on the grand scale of high quality acoustic guitars, and you are getting so much for your money. The high quality wood and build means it’s only going to sound better over the years, think of it that way then it’s an investment... A fantastic, fun to play, beautiful, and great sounding 12-string.