Ben Morgan-Brown gets to grips with one of the most handsome guitars we’ve yet reviewed. But how does it play and, most importantly, how does it sound?
Faith Blood Moon Neptune cutaway electro-acoustic
Faith guitars have earned a strong reputation over the years. Bravely, the company decided from its inception not to go head-on into the mass market for lower priced acoustic guitars but aimed to take on the big names – at least in terms of design, materials and build quality but taking advantage of manufacturing in Indonesia to offer exceptional value. In a way this was a gamble – it would be easy to look at a Faith and just assume it was another mass produced Far Eastern guitar at quite a high price, but that would be a mistake. Premium woods, expert design (by renowned luthier Patrick James Eggle) and manufacture by one of the best firms in the business mean that it would be more realistic to compare a Faith to one of the major brands in the acoustic guitar world.
There’s no doubting the special quality of the Neptune Blood Moon from the moment you open the case. As Ben says in his review, this is a simply breath-taking looking guitar with a beautiful Blood Moon burst finish over an Indonesian figured trembesi body – back, sides and top. Trembesi is reckoned to have some of the qualities of koa and mahogany, so when coupled with Faith’s careful design and quality build should provide for an interesting sonic result!
The Neptune doesn’t just look good, it plays very well, too and the cutaway makes it ideal for the adventurous soloist, which is probably as well because the sound also seems to lend itself to that style. A mini Jumbo, you might have expected the Neptune to be bass heavy but it isn’t. Ben found that while it had a bit of zing at the top end, it was strongest in the mid-range. This is fine if that suits your style and it’s true that some extra top and bottom may well emerge as the guitar ages and plays in, but if you are drawn towards this larger sized guitar because you are expecting a more Dreadnought-like tine, then you might be surprised.
The Fishman INK 3 pre-amp and undersaddle pickup perform very much as you would expect from mid-range piezo to – pretty good when played softly but a lit less so when you start to dig in. This isn’t a major criticism, it’s just doing what a piezo does and if you want to go beyond that method of amplifying your sound there are other choices. In the meantime, as Ben says, any competent engineer will get you a pretty good sound from the Fishman’s output.
If you like smaller bodied guitars, one of Faith’s Venus models might be more to your taste but if you don’t mind, or even like, a chunkier body, the Neptune handles well. As always with Faith, it played very well indeed with a good low action.
It’s hard to imagine what a guitar made of this quality wood and to these standards might cost if it had a more historic name on the headstock and the fact that it comes with a good quality case makes it an even more attractive buy at the price. Definitely one to audition if you like the idea of a visually striking guitar and like a tone balanced more towards the mid-range, ideally suiting the soloist or adventurous player.
Reviews are recorded in a top quality studio with the finest equipment. To get the best from our reviews and really hear the instruments perform make sure you listen on good quality speakers or headphones!
Faith Blood Moon Neptune cutaway electro-acoustic £949
Top Wood: Solid Figured Indonesian Trembesi
Back Wood: Solid Figured Indonesian Trembesi
Side Wood: Solid Figured Indonesian Trembesi
Binding: Flamed Maple
Bracing Material: Quarter-Sawn Spruce
Bracing Pattern: Patrick James Eggle X-Brace Design
Rosette: 5mm Abalone with Fibre Border
Neck Finish: Satin
Neck Joint: Patrick James Eggle Bolt-On Design
Fingerboard: Macassan Figured Ebony
Fingerboard Radius: 16″
Fingerboard Inlays: Mother of Pearl ‘F’ at 12th Fret
Machine Head: Grover Rotomatic Gold
Trussrod: 2 Way
Nut / Saddle: TUSQ (PQ-6116)/(PQ-9110)
Nut Width: Nut 43mm / String Spacing 55mm
Bridge: Macassan Figured Ebony
Bridge Pins: Macassan Figured Ebony with Abalone Dots
Finish Type: Gloss Top / Gloss Back and Sides
Preamp / Pickup: Fishman INK3 Preamp with undersaddle pickup
Upper bout: 298mm
Lower bout: 405mm
Depth at neck: 105mm
Depth at base: 116mm
Body Length: 510mm
Soundhole Diameter: 100mm
Scale Length: 650mm
Fingerboard Radius: 16 inch