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This article was originally published in issue #47
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If you've always wanted a guitar with stunning looks and a sound to match but assumed it would be out of your price range, think again.
Exceptional Build quality and finish
Top end woods and components
None at all
If you've always wanted a guitar with stunning looks and a sound to match but assumed it would be out of your price range, think again. Faith has come up with a breathtaking looking guitar at a sensible price. But how does it play and sound? Lewis Turner flexed his fingers and began to play....
Faith has become one of the most respected and loved names in the acoustic guitar world here in the UK and Europe and is now beginning to make a mark in the USA and elsewhere. For those who already know the name, Faith instantly conjures up an image in your head of beauty and unrivalled attention to detail in a factory made guitar. They aren't the cheapest around but every one we've seen at GI has offered superb value for the high quality offered. For that reason, I was very excited and more than happy to have the task of trying out the much raved about FVBMB electro acoustic - otherwise known as the Venus Blood Moon.
There are a lot of elements in Faith's success but a fair part of stems from the fact that they are designed in the UK by Patrick James Eggle. Many readers will be familiar with Patrick from his own hand built top-end acoustics and electrics, championed by the likes of Albert Lee and Frank Turner. Since 2005 Eggle has been an integral part of the Faith Guitar team. Using his expertise, the range of Faith guitars has evolved from series 1 (2002 - 2005) to series 2 (2006 - 2009) and most recently to series 3 (2010 – present). From Patrick's workshop and drawing board, the guitars are then produced in Indonesia and as regular GI readers will know, we have been constantly amazed by the quality that is coming out of Indonesia these days - on a par with the best from South Korea, in fact - and that means as good as from anywhere else but at a far lower price.
First things first, this is undoubtedly a stunning looking instrument, oozing pure class and phenomenal finish throughout. Being one of Faith's top-end guitars it uses solid AAA Grade Indonesian trembesi wood for the top back and sides. You may not be familiar with this wood as it’s not as common as, say, mahogany, but it has a beautiful depth of colour and grain to it, and has similar tonal qualities to mahogany. As a top end wood, trembesi is often referred to as very “warm” and “woody” sounding. In this case it has been matched perfectly with a mahogany neck and a Macassan figured ebony fingerboard. It looks superb!
Happily, the Blood Moon plays as well as it looks. It has excellent tonal continuity. 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. The set-up on our sample was perfect (that's another quality Faith always seems to get right) providing great tuning stability and intonation throughout. That said, though the action certainly wasn’t high, if you are used to a very low electric guitar set-up than this may feel a little tougher on the fingers, but that is a plus point for this guitar. It has been properly set up to aid to the excellent tone across the entire scale length. The neck was comfortable and the cutaway allowed ample access to the high end frets.
As mentioned above, this is an electro-acoustic, consisting of a Shadow Performer Tuner/Pre-amp, and a Shadow Nanoflex 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 Pickup responded well to dynamics and did a great job of delivering the guitar's true tonal characteristics. A hardcase is also included, that was of the same excellent standard.
In conclusion, the Faith FVBMB Blood Moon Venus Cutaway is a brilliant acoustic guitar, capable of all the sounds and styles most players could ever want to play. Build quality was exceptional, as was the finish and most importantly the Tone either unplugged or plugged in. It's no surprise to me that this guitar won the “Best Acoustic Guitar 2016” award from the UK's musical instrument trade. I personally have played more expensive acoustics that don’t come anywhere near the quality and sheer joy that this Faith brings, it really is one of the best acoustics out there that I have come across so far. Go try one out as soon as you can, you won’t be disappointed!