The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is supposed to be where guitar brands unveil their most exciting new models, though in recent years it feels like a new finish or a sparkly set of machine heads rank as good enough. Faith Acoustic Guitars are determined to exist in a different stream, with their “Naked” series jettisoning flashy looks for superlative quality with every release. The FKVCD Venus Electro Cedar is the latest and greatest, adding the titular solid cedar top for an even lusher tone.
Although Faith advertise a disregard for cosmetics in their Naked series, the Venus Electro Cedar certainly tugs the brand toward a showier aesthetic. The new model sports stained mahogany back and sides with a satin finish and a few black fittings here and there. A mother of pearl “F” marks the 12th fret with some prestige while the inconspicuous Indonesian ebony fretboard is deceptively intricate. The solid cedar top itself, although added to improve tone, also has a richer finish that looks like it matches the price tag a little more than previous models. The Venus Electro Cedar still has the same patented Patrick James Eggle construction, with its quarter sawn-spruce and X-Brace design -- the architectural beauty of which can be seen via the soundhole. It’s hard to deny Eggle’s self-proclaimed status as the UK’s best luthier while holding a guitar with this level of immediate craftsmanship.
As with all guitars from Faith, the resonance from the first strum will make you fall in love. The brand new cedar top, a tonewood more typically used for classical guitars, creates a tone with a bulky low end, softening the trills of mids and highs. The body’s orchestral/classical inspired shape, crafted with a slimmer depth, produces a velvety sustain with plenty of volume. Some of that volume and balance can also be attributed to the Nubone nut and saddle, a synthetic material derived from TUSQ.
Faith’s purist philosophy hasn’t stopped them from including a token pickup/preamp system. The input in the bottom is not impressive -- bizarrely, it’s a tight fit for most leads. The integrated tech is from premium transducer company Fishman, so provided you have a quality amplifier the sound is accurate and clean with simple controls. The tuner in the side-mounted preamp panel is intuitive, however its accuracy is fairly broad. Luckily, Faith’s precision chrome machine heads were smooth and intonation was refreshingly pristine over a near-two week period of heavy usage.
In a time when many luthiers at major guitar companies are satisfied to refine classics, it’s comforting to know some still believe guitar excellence is earned. Excellence is a concept that has been rendered meaningless by hyperbolic PR, though it’s one that Faith embody in the traditional sense with their craftsman build. At the price point, the Venus Electro Cedar is a worthy purchase as a record-quality acoustic or a head-turning campfire beast.
Hits and Misses
Extraordinary build quality, with craftsmanship on show
Cedar top enriches the tone
Nubone nut and saddle’s volume boost
Simple aesthetic beauty
The pickup and preamp feel like an afterthought
Output jack is clunky