Faith Nomad: Mini Neptune & Mini Saturn
British luthier Faith has entered the mini travel-sized guitar arena with a couple of well-specced crackers that give most of the competition on this page a good innings. Both the Neptune and Saturn are about the same size as Taylor’s amazing GS-Mini only these guitars are solid bodied throughout and equipped with a piezo pickup beneath the bridge saddle and a side-mounted preamp replete with three-band EQ, a phase switch to reduce feedback and a digital tuner. That’s some package for a guitar roughly £40 shy of the GS-Mini.
The Nomad is available in two different styles and woods. The Mini-Saturn (pictured right, £459) is dreadnought shaped and has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides while the Mini-Neptune (£469) is parlour shaped and uses mahogany throughout. Looks wise, the Neptune walks it with its small curvy body and gorgeous dark mahogany satin finish. But the plain-looking Saturn trumps the Neptune for overall projection. Both guitars have mahogany necks and twelve frets up to where the neck joins the body; ample real estate for most guitarists.
These two guitars are exceptionally musical and eminently playable, but the Saturn has more bottom-end tone and quite a bit more volume. That said, it’s also quite bright and a little bit boxy sounding, though that may warm up after a while. The Neptune, on the other hand, seems quieter in volume projection but its tone is tighter and a mite warmer. It’s a tough call, to be sure, but having played both guitars side by side using various picking and strumming disciplines, our personal consensus is that the Saturn really suits fingerstyle and especially thumb-based playing while the Neptune sounds better when played using a plectrum. Both models are perfect for travel or snuggling up with on the sofa.
That said, to our ears neither guitar has quite the overall sound package of the Taylor GS-Mini (that guitar is just so deliciously warm) but then you need to bear in mind that the basic GS-Mini doesn’t come with onboard electronics (the Electro version costs about £590). Needless to say, both Nomads come in their own soft gig bags for easy transportation. And yes, although bigger than the Baby Taylor and Little Martin, you should have no trouble taking either guitar aboard most airlines, except of course Ryan Air and WizzAir.