If you haven’t heard of Faith Guitars before, today is your lucky day! You could perhaps be forgiven as Faith are not as widely known as Taylor or Martin, who have been dominating the acoustic world for quite some time. However, getting familiar with Faith guitars may be the best thing you’ll do this year because, throughout their whole range, Faith has some amazingly crafted, beautiful guitars for you to get your hands on! Okay, maybe not the best thing you’ll do this year (hopefully) but I think you’ll be impressed with what Faith has to offer.
And that is where I come in… Let me take you through the brand, their leader, and the different ranges you can choose from.
In the Beginning…
Originally founded in 2002, Faith Guitars are an English-based guitar company based in Shropshire. Production is based in Indonesia and the instruments are made by highly trained luthiers to woodworking graduates, depending on the range. There is a brilliant section on Faith’s website where they have photographed the process of how they hand-make a guitar. From cutting the wood at the start of the process to stringing the guitar at the end.
Patrick James Eggle.
If you google Faith guitars, it won’t take long for Patrick James Eggle’s name to appear. Faith Guitars are led by Eggle, who is a world-renowned English luthier who has been building guitars since the age of 14, initially starting with a nylon string classical guitar that was a school project. After a few incarnations and different jobs where he learned more about the world of production, Patrick ran a guitar production company in Coventry. This lasted until 1994 when he started trading independently in the States under his full name Patrick James Eggle. Clientele includes Albert Lee, Toni Iommi and Rory Gallagher, whose Eggle-designed guitar sold for £25,000 at an auction in 2014.
After moving back to England from the States, Faith guitars invited Eggle to relocate his workshop into their headquarters and thus the relationship started. Since 2004, he has been working with and designing multiple different models with Faith guitars. So there is the history, let us dive into what different models Faith offers.
Faith makes all of the usual acoustic guitar body shapes that have become so familiar to all of us. From the traditional Dreadnought and Parlour models to more modern performance shapes like Concert and OM Cutaways. The different body shapes have been named after planets in our solar system. I have comprised a wee table to make it as easy as possible! No problems people:
|Mars||‘Drop’ Shoulder Dreadnought|
Now there are 12 different series that Faith has on offer and partially because I’m lazy and partially because I feel like I’ve long overstayed my welcome in the coffee shop I am sitting in, I’m going to choose five. This will still give you a good idea of what is on offer and give you an adequate flavour.
There is one thing I want to say before jumping in, every body shape and series that Faith create are all fully solid. Top, back and sides. Whichever one you pick will have that lovely depth and warmth that a fully solid guitar delivers.
The most suitably named series in the Faith repertoire is the Naked Series. As the name suggests, any guitar in this range has been stripped back to the bare bones. There are no added bells and whistles, non-essential frilly bits have been stripped away leaving a lovely smooth satin finish in its most natural state. Faith believes this makes the guitar as resonant as possible as there are no restrictions suffocating the wood.
The Faith Naked Saturn is a square-shouldered Dreadnought body. A Solid Englemann Spruce top with Solid Indonesian Mahogany back and sides all contributes to a well-balanced, loud tone. On top of that, this guitar (alongside every other guitar in this series) comes with a padded gigbag. The Naked Series is quite understated and is extremely good value for money.
Next up is the Eclipse Series. Faith originally conceived the Eclipse series as ‘stage guitars’ The aim was to offer workhorse functionality and optimum performance. This usually means a decent pickup, comfortable body and slightly thinner neck. The Eclipse series uses the same combination of solid wood as the Naked Series does – Spruce Top and Mahogany Back and Sides – however, these are glossy things. The PU lacquer stops the guitar from being as resonant compared with the Naked Series, to help eliminate squealing feedback on-stage. The slightly fancier appointments in the Eclipse Series include solid Flamed Maple binding around the guitar body and a splashing of Macassan Ebony on the headplate, fingerboard, bridge and heelcap.
A brilliant guitar in the Eclipse Series is the Eclipse Venus 12-String Cut/Electro. With a Macassan Figured Ebony fingerboard and Flamed Maple binding, this guitar looks gorgeous. The jump up in range means this guitar has a Fishman INK3 Preamp alongside an undersaddle pickup, which sounds great when plugged into a PA. A step up in accessories too, you also get a Faith Hardcase for extra-safe travelling when going from gig to gig.
Blue Moon Series
The Blue Moon Series is slightly unusual and really interesting, mainly because the wood used in this series is Solid Mango Wood, a wood that is found all over Java, Indonesia where Faith’s workshops are based. Mango Wood is exceptionally pretty and it varies in flame. Indonesian Mango Wood is slightly lighter than the Hawaiian counterpart, which makes a great base for adding colour. Sonically, it reminds me of Koa, but like every bit of wood, tone can vary.
The Blue Moon Neptune is a super playable model in this series. The Neptune is inspired by a body shape that Eggle created to much acclaim, the ‘Saluda’. In conventional speak, it is a baby jumbo-sized body and delivers plenty of bark without being engulfed by a huge guitar body. Also equipped with the Fishman INK3 and a Sonicore piezo pickup under the saddle, you can plug in and play. There is also a lovely brown, leather hardcase that comes with the Blue Moon Neptune.
Blood Moon Series
The next series on the list is the Blood Moon Series. Made from Javanese Trembesi on the top, back and sides, this wood is indigenous to the Indonesian island of Java. This one of my favourite things about Faith guitars, they use unique woods that you will not often find on other brands, it’s great to have something a bit more unusual. Like Mango Wood, Javanese Trembesi is also very pleasing to the eye and it usually has a brilliant, distinct flame to it. I guess it sounds closest to Mahogany, but there is still plenty of treble articulation.
The Blood Moon Venus sports one of the most well-known Faith body shapes. Faith are proud to state that the Naked Venus was voted ‘The UK’s Best Acoustic Guitar’ at the MIA Music Awards in 2013, good job dudes! It feels like an OM when you have it on your lap, as there is a lower 15” bout accompanied with a slimmer depth. It’s really comfortable, resonant and looks spectacular. If the Naked Series was too plain for you the Venus Blood Moon might be up your street.
PJE Legacy Series
Getting into the higher end of the series, the PJE Legacy series is an Eggle design through and through and focuses on a body shape that Eggle created during previous work. There are premium features included in this range such as torrefied wood tops. This is a process of removing moisture levels in the wood, then reintroducing moisture back into the wood which replicates an ageing process that can take decades. This results in an incredibly rich tone. Other premium features include a bone saddle, nut and bridge pins, figured ebony fingerboard and a Faith Premium Hardcase, which is Hiscox-esque.
The Faith FG5HCE-PJE Legacy Dark Roast Earth is in the history books, as it’s the only 2nd model to be granted access to Eggle’s Earth Body style. Top, back and sides is all Solid African Mahogany wood with the top going through the torrefacition process which results in a super smooth mellow tone. The body is an Orchestra Model shape which is a comfortable size for stage and sofa players alike.
For the record, there are 7 other series in the Faith range, if you want to know about the rest you will have to get in touch as my stay in this coffee shop has come to an end. Hopefully, that has done justice to Faith and the next time you are in a Kenny’s Music shop, ask us for a go-on one, you won’t be disappointed!