GUITAR REVIEW: Faith Blood Moon Neptune Acoustic/Electric (FNCEBMB)Posted: February 26, 2018
Trembesi. Interesting name. So, trembesi is not the site of a battle during the Napoleonic Wars. Neither is it a monument, or square, of historical interest in London. It is a tropical hardwood native to Java. It has been used for furniture for years, but recently has been used for guitar tone woods. Britain’s Faith Guitar company now uses trembesi in two of its guitar series: the Trembesi Series (possessing a spruce top), and the Blood Moon Series. The Blood Moon Series consists of three body styles: the Neptune (mini-jumbo), Saturn (square-shoulder dreadnought), and Venus (concert-style body). The Neptune and Venus bodies come with cut-aways and Fishman electronics. As the title indicates, this posting reviews the Neptune model.
This Neptune Blood Moon is visually striking! The body is constructed entirely of solid trembesi which displays a striped grain. Its front, back, and sides all have a burst finish. The reddish hue of the gloss finish is nicely complemented by a maple binding which surrounds the front and back of the guitar (there is no binding along the fretboard). The fretboard, bridge, bridge pins, and headstock cover are all made of ebony. The neck is multi-piece mahogany with a smooth satin finish (which I generally prefer to a gloss finish). The lower bout is a generous 16 inches in width, while the nut width is a surprisingly narrower 1 11/16 inches. The guitar’s rosette is abalone. Its position markers and the Faith “F” at the 12th fret are Mother of Pearl. Peaking inside you notice a clean and tidy interior. Everything speaks of quality. Finally, Fishman INK electronics are part of the package: bass, middle, treble, volume, and an on-board tuner make up the set.
Guitars, of course, are meant to be played, and this Neptune is very playable. A physical ease of play is noted as I move through some of my personal “standards”: “Into the West” (Annie Lennox), “Waterloo Sunset”, “It Don’t Come Easy”, “I’m So Tired”, and “Norwegian Wood” to name a few. In addition to the ease of play, the tonal quality of this guitar gave them a freshness to my ear.
So, I move to its tonal / sonic qualities. Not only is this my second Faith guitar, but as such, is my second all hardwood guitar (my Faith FRMG is all mahogany: no spruce included). As part of a very non-scientific study, I set out three other guitars alongside the Neptune Blood Moon to make my own comparisons: the Faith FRMG slope-shouldered (Mars body) dreadnought, a Breedlove Pro-Series “rounded shoulder” dreadnought made of spruce top with rosewood back and sides, and an Eastman carved back jumbo of spruce soundboard, and all maple back and sides. I have read that trembesi has qualities of both mahogany and koa woods. Given the tone of this Neptune, a koa quality stands out: it is bright and clear. To my ear, another “koa’ish” quality shows up: the trembesi wood also puts forward a subtle chorusing not noted in the other three guitars. As with most who play guitar, sustain is a quality I value. An identical A minor arpeggio pattern was played on all four guitars, and both Faith guitars win the sustain prize (perhaps due to the hard wood tops?). However, the spruce tops won the prize for tonal varieties, or complexities, coming off the soundboard (possibly spruce’s physical qualities showing here?). Furthermore, even though it’s not a dreadnought or a jumbo, it’s volume is robust if you “dig in” just a little bit.
I am now a Faith Guitar devotee, and am quite impressed by their quality, all designed by British master luthier Patrick James Eggle. Though British owned, they are made in Indonesia. In spite of their asian manufacturing (a turn off for many), they are worthy of respect, and should make well deserved gains in the North American market. Additionally, this Faith Blood Moon was a Reverb purchase from Tallman Instruments — a Faith distributor — located in Erlanger, Kentucky. While I was inquiring about the guitar with owner Rick Tallman, I asked for, and received, his opinion of them:
I am smitten…they are just incredible…I count myself blessed to handle them…great craftsmanship and quality for the price.
I couldn’t agree more! The two Faith models I have mentioned in this review are well made, and I put them on par with any North American made guitar that falls within the general and comparable price range (the Faith being a third less the cost). All taken together the Faith Neptune is a complete guitar and very well priced. Try one out and you’ll be a “believer!”
Keep on playing!