For this model smaller bodied model, Faith has combined a red cedar top with a solid mahogany back and sides to deliver a warm, bluesy sound. Can it convince Ben Morgan-Brown?
We make no apologies for looking at another Faith. In a world of top US brands and an awful lot of clones and lookalikes, Faith has managed to create its own style, probably because it was designed from the outset by a top guitar maker, Patrick James Eggle, and has used the best Far Eastern manufacturing facilities and top quality woods to offer an impressive blend of quality, individualism and price.
The Classic Burst Venus Cutaway features a solid red cedar top with solid mahogany back and sides. It’s a wood combination, as Ben Morgan-Brown says, that should give a nice warm sound. Fitted with a neck that is perhaps slightly larger than some other Faiths we’ve seen and with a sensible width to it, it seems to have been designed with fingerstyle players in mind. That neck by the way is also made of mahogany, is satin finished (the rest of the guitar is gloss finished) and has Macassan ebony fingerboard with a Tusq nut – materials replicated at the bridge end, too.
First impressions were slightly marred for Ben when he looked closely at the guitar’s top and spotted what he suspected were small paint spots that had somehow strayed onto the cedar, presumably during the application of the burst finish, which was in all other respects well applied. This is something you would easily be able to see in a shop and given our experience of Faith guitars we think is most likely to be a one-off fault. In all other respects, the guitar was very well made and was set up in the way we’ve come to expect from this maker.
Soundwise, the Venus delivers what its materials promise – a warm, punchy mid-range tone which really suits country blues and rootsy playing. It’s perhaps less happy when strummed as the mids tend to dominate and you can loose some of the bass notes. This is something you would have to try for yourself to see if it worked with your playing style.
Amplified, the Fishman IQ system fitted to the Venus didn’t really impress us. As you can hear on our video, it exhibits the dreaded piezo ‘quack’ quite noticeably. You get a three band EQ which might help to tame that a bit, but only a bit. It may be best to regard the pickup as a handy extra feature rather than a main attraction on this guitar.
Given the use of solid woods throughout, which should age and improve over the years, the build quality and the inclusion of a good quality hard case, Ben felt this version of Faith’s Venus body style performed quite well and was pretty good value for money, only really let down by what is likely to be a one-off finishing problem – although the Fishman pickup didn’t really impress in this application either. For the right player it nevertheless represents a sensible buy, not least because it’s a guitar with its own style and qualities. Particularly if you are looking for that mid-frequency heavy sound for rootsy playing from a smaller body size, it could suit you well.
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Faith Classic Burst Venus cutaway £939
Top Wood: Solid Red Cedar
Back Wood: Solid Mahogany (Deep Stain)
Side Wood: Solid Mahogany (Deep Stain)
Binding: Solid Ebony
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: 45mm
Bridge Pins: Indian Ebony with Abalone Dots
Finish Type: PU Lacquer Hi-Gloss all over
Preamp / Pickup: Fishman INK3 / Fishman undersaddle pickup
Upper bout: 290mm
Lower bout: 385mm
Depth at neck: 100mm
Depth at base: 115mm
Body Length: 490mm
Soundhole Diameter: 100mm
Scale Length: 645mm
Fingerboard Radius: 16 inch