Guitar manufacturers have never shied away from playing the hits; most companies build their legend off just one or two guitars. Faith Acoustics are no different, returning with a stripped down and spruced up version of the Saturn shape that launched the brand at the beginning of the millennium.
The FKSE Saturn Electro Naked is quite old-fashioned in many respects; its square-shouldered dreadnought design is almost a blank template for acoustic guitars. No bones are made of its cosmetics either, as with all of the Naked series. The guitar is built with Solid Indonesian Mahogany tonewood, and finished with a neat two-stage satin. Elsewhere, there are no surprises if you’ve seen the rest of Faith’s Naked range; the patented Patrick James Eggle construction, with its quarter-sawn spruce and X-Brace design are all here, with a nice little product certificate pasted inside the soundhole.The careful simplicity of the FKSE Saturn’s construction coalesces into a kind of dignified prestige that most non-players would regard as quite an expensive-looking guitar.
As you’d expect, the FKSE is extremely comfortable to play. The ebony fingerboard is also easy to navigate, making it a very solid first steel string option for beginners. Faith are banking on the tone of this guitar to make it an attractive option for more experienced players as well, and it’s not a bad bet. The projective volume and sustain is nothing short of stunning for the price point, with lovely warmth to boot. The FKSE Saturn’s tonal range is a little more balanced than the FKVD Venus Electro Cedar we reviewed a few issues ago, with stronger mids. It shares the same NuBone nut and saddle as the latter guitar, a synthetic material derived from TUSQ, again responsible for the sizable resonant movement. The sound of the guitar feels best suited to a guerilla gig setup; its uncomplicated, brash volume will help you plug and play in a cafe or bar setting with ease. I found the guitar didn’t quite hold its tune as well as its Venus Electro sister, particularly when I was playing with a capo, though its intonation remained impressive.
Faith have retained the services of premium transducer company Fishmans for the pickup/preamp system in the FKSE Saturn. It’s a wise decision to not develop it in-house, letting Fishmans deliver an accurate sound and a solid tuner, albeit broad. The contour and phase dials on the guitar are also a nice touch, however the nuance they provide to your amplified sound seems a bit gratuitous. It’s important to remember to turn off the preamp panel, as its battery runs out very quickly. The Saturn does suffer the same bizarrely narrow undersaddle input as the other guitars in the Naked series – hopefully we’ll see an improvement here with future models.
Faith’s Naked acoustic range has surprisingly emerged as a relatively affordable quality option for the beginner guitar player. Despite the old adage about craftsmen and their tools, a quality instrument can provide the necessary motivation for a beginner to fall in love with the guitar world; Faith’s FKSE Saturn might just be the compromise they need. The Australian price point means this might not be your very first guitar, but it’s a reasonable entry to mid point for those wanting their first quality guitar. The guitar finds beauty in simplicity and ease-of-use, with an impressive tone that would possibly even suit a studio setting.
Hits and Misses
Great resonant movement, balanced tonal range