A Leap of Faith: High Class Acoustics for the Discerning Player
Discussion of premium acoustic guitars will typically include heavy hitters such as Martin, Taylor, Gibson, and occasionally more boutique brands such as Atkin or Bourgeois. One brand that deserves more recognition in this regard is Faith. Hand-crafted in a family-run factory in Indonesia, I’ve personally always regarded Faith as a little left-field: boasting a feel unlike a Martin or the arguably diametrically opposed Taylor, and with a sonic response that is entirely Faith’s own. In this post, I’ll take a look at some Faith guitars, and aim to show that they are certainly contenders for consideration amongst premium, stage-ready, lifelong instruments.
Faith guitars are the creation of a small team of experts based in Shropshire and led by renowned luthier Patrick James Eggle. Amongst guitar aficionados, this name requires no introduction: almost a byword for quality and craftsmanship, Eggles’ guitars have been wielded by guitar greats such as Tony Iommi, Rory Gallagher and Albert Lee. His vision for Faith guitars is a simple one: to create great sounding and playing instruments that, at the same time, are ultimately functional in any playing environment.
Lacquer drying in the workshop
Manufactured in West Java, Indonesia, Faith guitars have developed a sound reputation for luthiery based on skilled hand-building and hand-finishing techniques, as well as an ethical conscience towards both the environment and their staff. Faith are an official partner of “Just One Tree,” for example: a non-profit based in the UK that focuses on reforesting and re-developing ecosystems devastated by the climate crisis. To this end, a tree is planted for every Faith guitar sold globally.
The guitars themselves are certainly something worth writing home about. A focus on solid tonewoods is something that sets Faith guitars apart from similarly-priced competitors. This is a requirement petitioned by Patrick James Eggle personally, citing the capacity for solid wood to mature and open up with time that laminates simply lack.
Solid Englemann Spruce is a tried and tested luthier’s favourite that one will find on the tops of all Faith guitars: providing guaranteed tonal clarity and articulation. For the back and sides, one can find classic choices such as mahogany for that pronounced, drier mid-range, or rosewood for a more complex flavour. This is also an area, however, where one is likely to find Faith diverging from mainstream practice. Expect to find exotic selections such as trembesi, a tonewood similar in resonance to mahogany and native to Indonesia, and even mango: a uniquely voiced tonewood that Faith render in an equally striking “Blue Moon” finish. Not only are these selections driven by a desire to impart unique sounds to the faith guitar catalogue, yet tie closely in with Faith’s eco-conscious narrative – native tonewoods, after all, require less transportation than tonewoods imported from overseas.
The rather striking, solid trembesi Venus Blood Moon Burst
A customer-favourite aspect of Faith guitars that deserves mention is of course the pre-eminent pickup selection that one will find across the Faith range. Working closely with Fishman – an industry standard name at this point – Faith feature a small variety of pickups that are not only intuitive in their use yet transparently represent the voice of each instrument. Aside from the Fishman Sontitone – the controls of which are hidden within the soundhole – each Faith guitar is equipped with the distinctive “dial” controls for volume, treble, mid and bass, as well as the ever-convenient built-in tuner with clear LCD screen.
Characteristically, there is also a thought-out approach to the application of lacquer to each Faith guitar. Excluding the “Naked” series, each Englemann Spruce top has a thin coat of lacquer applied to allow the wood to vibrate without any great restriction.This ensures a resonant yet protected soundboard. On the back and sides, Faith offer a couple of different approaches. Patrick James Eggle maintains that satin finished guitars produce the liveliest tone: the unrestrained tonewood can move more freely, and therefore in theory produces a more naturally “woody” tone. One can find this theory in action in Faith’s “Natural,” “Trembesi” and “Naked” series. Application of gloss lacquer comes in at the Hi Gloss series. The purpose of this is not only aesthetic or protective yet, in contrast to the satin-finished guitars, contributes to a more tightly controlled tonewood, and overall more consistent tone.
Overall, then, with Faith guitars you can be assured of a depth of research and application of thought-out luthiery that is arguably a-typical of guitars at this price point. The focus on solid tonewoods coupled with a progressive eco conscience surely sets this brand apart as a serious contender in the field of modern luthiery.
Check out our full range of Faith guitars here: https://guitarvillage.co.uk/categories/guitars/acoustic-guitars/faith
Read more about the work over at Faith guitars on their official website: https://www.faithguitars.com/