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This article was originally published in issue #42
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Faith is an interesting guitar company that seems to have carved a considerable niche for itself, particularly among younger players who aren't too hung up about historical brand names, and who want an affordable, higher quality guitar than the run of the mill offerings which, however good they are today, are often a bit characterless. We have had quite a few Faiths in for review at GI over the years and never been less than very impressed. I certainly had a lot of fun playing two small scale Nomad series travel models, both of which produced tone far greater than you would imagine possible from small bodied guitars.
Both our review guitars are part of the Faith Nomad series and they come equipped with a built in active Faith CnR-3 pre-amp pickup section which features a tuner and 3 band EQ. The guitars even come with a sturdy Nomad gig bag. The build quality is exceptional and the sound of these small guitars is quite the opposite of their appearance. They sound big, resonant and crisp, despite their size.
Essentially, these two are very similar guitars made from different but identically satin finished woods. The mini Neptune is all mahogany (and solid mahogany at that - no laminates here!) while the mini Saturn features the traditional combination of solid spruce for the top with mahogany back and sides and is more like a dreadnought in shape against the rounded more 'Folk' styled Neptune. Both sport mahogany necks featuring the same scale length of 590mm and a finger board radius of 16”. As we've come to expect from Faith, all the details are right, from the well constructed X bracing inside to the Macassan figured ebony of the bridge down to the Indian ebony bridge pins with abalone dots. These are both very classy looking instruments!
The sound in the room whilst I was playing was impressive, especially for the size of them - very loud, clear and resonant. Chords rung out and sustained with no trouble at all. The necks are small, of course, as these are travel guitars but they didn’t feel fiddly to play. This is actually a useful extra feature as it means these two Nomads are not only great for travel but would be ideal for younger players or anyone else with smaller hands.
The electronics work as well as you'd hope they would and would be equally useful on stage through a PA or via a decent quality acoustic amp (it would need to be decent quality to deliver the rich tone of these two beauties).
So...which do you prefer? Given they are almost the same price, it comes down to looks and tone. Looks, only you can decide on but as you might expect, the spruce topped version is a bit zingier, even if it has more of a Dreadnought shape. While the mahogany Nomad is warmer - but never woolly. Being made of solid woods you can expect these two both to improve and mature with age, so that's something else to look forward to! Have a listen to our video and decide for yourself but best of all visit a shop and try them side by side. I don't think you will be disappointed.