CMC Music | RRP: $2,095
I remember seeing and reading about Patrick James Eggle in a very cool British publication in the late ‘90s. He had a range of guitars that showed (at least to me) some traditional stylings with a bit of his own flair. Being pre or early internet there wasn’t lots of information around so these odd glimpses in magazines was about all I could gather.
After some time it was clear to see that Eggle was a highly respected builder and it was then no surprise when I learned of his association with Faith Guitars a few years back.
While the guitars are hand-built in Indonesia, Eggle’s rigorous standards and practices leave no step of the construction process to chance. This even includes the final setup each guitar undergoes before leaving the factory to be shipped. More companies with reputations for excellent guitars are building some of their lines in Indonesia, but Faith guitars are workshopped, rather than rolled off production lines.
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So what is going to separate this guitar from the rest of the market around a similar price point from the seemingly hundreds of well-made cheaper guitars on the market or boutique-scale offerings like Eggle’s own? Four things: design, woods, build, and marketing.
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of Faith guitars for Mixdown in the past. The brand has a familiar calling card that trends over all its models; their greatest strength lies in superlative workmanship, avoiding gaudy additions and pretentiousness.
Hence, Faith Guitars has been a staple in the acoustic guitar industry for years, and the Faith Blood Moon Venus Cutaway Acoustic does nothing to tarnish this reputation. The guitar was awarded UK’s Best Acoustic Guitar in 2016 by the Music Industries Association, and I can see why. The Blood Moon Venus is lightweight and comfortable, while still being very well-built and hugely resonant. A Fishman Ink pickup completes the guitar, with an onboard tuner and EQ. Right out of the luxurious, fur-lined hard case, this guitar is a winner.
The quality of construction sings excellence at the highest level, and when combined with the range of gorgeous tones available from the Venus, you know you’ve got a winner. All this and much more awaits when the chrome locks on the case are snapped open, revealing the absolutely stunning guitar within.
The first thing I noticed was that the satin-finished neck differs from the glossy body and headstock and helps the player quickly change chords as glossy necks can get grabby. The guitar was well intonated out of the box, and the tuning was very stable thanks to the Grover Rotomatic tuners. The Blood Moon is beautiful to look at, right down to the mother of pearl ‘F’ at the twelfth fret. The Fishman Ink pickup is practical, classy, and out of the way.
The Blood Moon Venus is made entirely of Indonesian trembesi, and looks and feels elegant. The rich stain and glossy finish, coupled with mother of pearl and abalone inlays, rosette and binding makes for a classy guitar. The body is resonant in the most pleasing way – without being overbearing or boomy. The Macassan Fingered ebony fingerboard sounds and feels good, adding to the consistent sound produced acoustically. Chords are rich and strumming away at it is easy, while the cutaway provides good access beyond the fifteenth fret.
The internal Fishman Ink pickup does a great job of reproducing the sound of the guitar and would be ideal for smaller gigs, recording, or using effects pedals without sounding spanky and produced like most other acoustic guitar pickups. The controls on the Fishman Ink are easy to tweak as well, with little handles on the pots for changing settings on the fly. It also features an on-board tuner, which isn’t as accurate as I’m used to, but it gets the job done (I don’t trust any tuner that tells me I’m perfectly in tune).
The backlit LED flickers to green from blue when in tune so it can be easily read on stage. The EQ (bass, middle, and treble) sounds great, producing a usable sound even when maxed out either way. The additional hard case is well made, fur-lined and lockable. It’ll keep this guitar at an even temperature when travelling and safe when knocked around.
Overall it’s a very comfortable guitar to play; however, while big chords sound full, fretted notes and more intricate playing begins to lose some definition. This may not be a dealbreaker for all, but you’d struggle to use this for a lot more than strumming and rhythm playing. In saying that, the Blood Moon Venus sounds great for rhythm. The guitar reacts really well dynamically, and sounds great whether playing big rich chords or plucking away at quiet chords and passages.
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 embodies in the traditional sense with their craftsman build. The Faith Venus Blood Moon is a worthy purchase as a record-quality acoustic or a head-turning campfire beast.