Faith Guitars is a brand spearheaded by luthier Patrick James Eggle, who some of you may remember for his high-quality basses in the Nineties and early Noughties.
This instrument comes supplied with an impressive hard case and at £939, it sits in the upper midrange price bracket. With more and more venues turning to acoustic acts in the face of noise restrictions and the dreaded noise limiters, acoustic basses are seeing something of a renaissance. So does the Titan deliver?
The Titan is understated, classic and classy - what it lacks in ostentation, it makes up for in tasteful simplicity. Handmade in Indonesia and braced with quartersawn spruce using Eggle’s PJE X-Brace design, the guitar is constructed using solid mahogany timbers for the rear and sides, giving the instrument a midrange focus. Figuring is minimal, but that doesn’t detract from the bass’s pleasing appearance. Indonesian ebony binding outlines the rounded body, while the circular rosette surrounding the sound hole is made from a 5mm wide piece of abalone with a fibre border.
The body is comfortably substantial without being prohibitively deep or obtrusive. Unsurprisingly, there is no contouring, but the bass is no less playable for that. The bolt-on neck and angled headstock are also constructed from mahogany, while the figured ebony of the 21-fret fingerboard carries through to the headstock facing. The spruce top has had a gloss finish applied to it, while the rear, sides and neck have a satin finish; overall, the bass feels organic and reassuringly impressive. The rounded neck profile, which feels and plays like a hybrid of C and V neck shapes, is comfortable to play.
The bass is of austere design, with frills kept to a minimum. This means that the few small aesthetic touches that there are really stand out. One example of this is the twelfth fret marker, which is the Faith logo. White side dots have been added to aid navigation around the neck. The chrome Grover machine heads operate smoothly and are securely attached. The Indonesian ebony bridge maintains the simple appearance and feature set, with the string pegs facilitating easy string changes.
neck. The depth of tone is rich and warm. The bass comes fitted with phosphor bronze strings that give a fair degree of brightness and natural twang, although they may overemphasise string noise and finger placement when fretting. You might want to swap the strings for halfwounds, flatwounds or even tapewounds for a less lively natural tone.
Plugging in with the EQ of the bass set flat, the sonic display is impressive and the depth of tone highly usable, not just for acoustic applications but also within a full electric band situation. All playing styles are valid, so exploring how different approaches and playing methods sound is half of the fun of getting to know the instrument. Bear in mind that, as there is no contouring or chamfering, you might not want to stand with this instrument on a strap and your arm over the body for long periods.
Perfecting the EQ takes some experimentation - as with any acoustic instrument, beware of the dreaded feedback. Thankfully, the Fishman package works very well, offering diverse tonal options; a little can go a long way, so add EQ sparingly. In particular, handle the mid-EQ with care as the instrument has a natural mid response due to its mahogany timbers. The ebony fingerboard also contributes to the tonal performance; its hard, dense structure contributes a natural clarity.
Playability is excellent across the entire instrument and the level of finishing is equally impressive, with no sharp fret ends across the neck. The 19mm string spacing and 43mm nut width makes the bass easy to adapt to. If I have one complaint, it’s that the G string was a little high for my taste. On an acoustic instrument, this requires modification either at the bridge or nut to remedy. Despite this niggle, overall this is still a pleasing instrument to play, and it pulls you back time and again for just one more go.
With sound performance all round, the Titan Neptune is an impressive display from Faith. Okay, it’s not cheap - but then it doesn’t sound or feel cheap. You can clearly see and hear where your money is going. It’s definitely worth further investigation if you’re after an acoustic bass.