Faith FKV Venus | CMC Music | RRP: $1195.00
Faith guitars never cease to surprise me with something a little different, and the Faith FKV Venus continues this trend. I’m not sure they’re trying to be different – I think it just works out that way. Patrick James Eggle is the sonic and artistic mastermind behind Faith Instruments and it seems he’s quite happy to bend the rules, or at least some traditions, to deliver what he imagines a guitar could be.
The Faith FKV Venus Electro Cut is no exception. It is an auditorium-style guitar, but with a slightly deeper body, a more rounded body profile (almost like a classical guitar), and a soft Venetian cutaway. These three features alone make for a more interesting look, and the all-over satin finish gives the guitar an honest, organic appearance. But, some things just work, so why not: a solid Engelmann spruce top on a solid mahogany body with hand-scalloped spruce braces (if it ain’t broke…right?) The traditional long scale neck is mahogany with a beautifully figured ebony fretboard, and the 16” radius is super-comfy to play. And, for the acoustic guitar snobs out there (you know who you are) there’s even a soft volute behind the nut.
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Strumming an open E chord is a big surprise. The sound leaps out with a deeper voice than expected. While the mid and treble tones are clear and defined, the bass frequencies are rich and quite prominent. Thinking I’m hearing things that aren’t actually there (because I’m up before the crack of noon) I immediately switch to an actual OOO, a D-28 and a D-18 (those traditional reference instruments), and they clearly produce those great sounds that we all love and that work so well. Dreadnoughts are great for driving rhythm, when you want that woody bass thump, but sometimes the top end doesn’t cut through quite enough; auditoriums (OOOs and OMs) are perfect for when you want that even balance for fingerstyle tunes and bright rhythm parts (where the bass is already handled by someone else). Back to the Faith FKV Venus, and it falls somewhere between the dreadnought’s low-end drive and the OOO’s smooth balance. This FKV has a nicely-voiced “push” in the bass and low mids that kind of combines what we love about both dreadnoughts and auditoriums.
I know that the body shape and extra internal volume will contribute to this sonic character but, honestly, I don’t really care how they did it – I just love that it sounds the way it sounds. It’s rich and woody, responds super-fast, loves the plectrum, and fingerpicking is effortless. Right along the neck, the tone has body and the notes speak loud and clear. Complex chords hang together nicely, with every interval clear and articulate. The tone of the FKV is warm and organic, and the satin finish means that you feel the resonance through every part of the guitar that touches your body.
Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox combo amp and a Fishman SA300x/SA Sub PA system, the Fishman Presys pickup and preamp delivers a very authentic image of the FKV’s acoustic sound. There’s no latency or weird compression; there’s no bite or snap in the top end; there’s no fuzzy, undefined bass notes… just a lovely acoustic guitar tone that is completely infectious. You’ll spend some time here once you start playing. I did. And don’t be worried about the simplified preamp controls. Everything you need is here. It’s so simple to get a great sound because the guitar is already doing the business. In the studio, I found a sweet combination of a U87 near the bridge and either an SM81 pointing at the 15th fret (for a cleaner top end) or an SM57 (for a touch woodier tone).
Faith guitars have an uncomplicated, almost austere, appearance. This guitar has no binding, just real wood edges and hardly any inlays; only a 12th fret “F” and a 2mm rosette ring – and these are real mother-of-pearl – not, like on many guitars at this price point, mother-of-plastic. In fact, across their entire catalogue, they don’t really go in for a lot of bling. Faith guitars take a minimalistic approach, preferring to concentrate on what really matters. As Patrick Eggle told me in 2021, “Our thing with Faith has always been to build a guitar that’s as good as it can be as a playing instrument, not worrying too much about the looks and not worrying too much about gold hardware and fancy inlays, and all that. Yeah, but just build an all-solid wood guitar that’s properly built and as good as it can be for the money. So, let’s build it properly, let’s use the right tone woods… let’s actually build it absolutely right; put the money and the time into building a really good acoustic guitar.”
The FKV Venus Electro Cut is a beautifully elegant guitar with its own aesthetic and a fully-bodied voice that will cross-over from style to style. For the tragics (like me), there’s a complete spec list on the Faith website, so let’s not worry about that here. The important thing to know is that it is very easy to play, sounds great with fingers or a pick, and looks very cool. You’ll love it on stage and in the studio, but I think you have it out of its gig bag at home, too, because it’s just such a pleasure to play. And, at $1195, the FKV Naked Venus is simply great value for money.
For local enquiries, visit CMC Music.