Faith Naked Nep­tune Elec­tro Black Stain

None more black?

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

In­spi­ra­tion of­ten comes from un­likely sources in rock ’n’ roll. And although the Everly Broth­ers’ har­monies were sweet, their gui­tar taste was darker. We can thank Don and Phil for the early show­ing of the black acous­tic with their Gib­son J-180 sig­na­ture in 1962, while Martin made The Man In Black Johnny Cash his first be­spoke model us­ing shoe pol­ish.

Fast-for­ward across the At­lantic and Faith has been build­ing its rep­u­ta­tion on solid foun­da­tions since 2002. Lit­er­ally. All its acous­tics are made with solid tonewoods, and at pri­ce­points that are cer­tainly cause for cel­e­bra­tion in prin­ci­pal, but how about in prac­tice?

With its al­ready es­tab­lished Naked se­ries for its main shapes, Faith of­fer a more stripped-down aes­thetic; now its diver­si­fied the line with a hand-rubbed black stain that prom­ises a per­sonal touch to give each gui­tar a unique look. The matte fin­ish with vis­i­ble grain this process pro­duces helps to make the Nep­tune dif­fer­ent but also low key, with a thin abalone rosette and Faith’s ‘F’ 12th fret logo in­lay the only con­ces­sions to any­thing re­sem­bling deca­dence. The Nubone nut fol­lows the black aes­thetic else­where, though against the stain the ebony ’board and bridge take on a browner hue than ex­pected. Faith has also opted not to stain the head­stock front black, so it’s un­like the rest of the In­done­sian ma­hogany neck, but it ac­tu­ally helps it fit in with the flow from the deep brown fin­ger­board tones.

All this cos­metic sub­tlety counts for noth­ing if the gui­tar isn’t up to snuff in play but we find our­selves lik­ing this Nep­tune for a num­ber of rea­sons; the smooth satin neck and 16" fin­ger­board ra­dius are com­fort­able to the touch with the ac­tion low and fast but springy and re­spon­sive for bends, al­low­ing the res­o­nance to shine.

A solid In­done­sian ma­hogany back and sides build with a spruce top, it may look dark but it sounds bright and ring­ing in the midrange and tre­ble, bring­ing an airy qual­ity to strum­ming that projects well. While that comes at the ex­pense of some lower-end warmth, it comes into its own for fin­ger­pick­ing dy­nam­ics, re­ward­ing a softer ap­proach.

The only real dis­ap­point­ment is when we tune to E Modal / Esus2 (EBEF#BE if you’re won­der­ing) to en­joy some open string thrills; the Faith’s tun­ing ex­pe­ri­ence could ben­e­fit from smoother ma­chine head ac­tion. And, as has be­come com­mon around this pri­ce­point, there’s no gig­bag in­cluded ei­ther.

Plugged in, the Fish­man Soni­tone sys­tem here re­flects the bright­ness well. Although the only real tonal con­trol it has is a tre­ble roll-off if your sound­man is too gen­er­ous with the high-end. Over­all though it’s an­other fine en­try into Faith’s ros­ter.

Rob Laing

the ac­tion is low and fast but springy and re­spon­sive

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