Published On: Tue, Jul 7th, 2009

Freshman FA1FBJBK Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitar Review The FA1FBJBK acoustic guitar review by Freshman.

That’s not a catalogue reference that trips easily off the tongue. It translates as a deep-rimmed 16"-wide jumbo whose gloss-black livery hides a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. The neck is mahogany, too. It’s worth kicking off with this thumbnail spec, because our newcomer joins a pre-existing FA1FBJ that has an ‘M’ suffix to denote maple back, sides and neck and a natural finish. The choice therefore, at roughly similar money, is between a more traditional-looking instrument and the one here that’s glammed up a bit. That’s been achieved with high-contrast, white body and neck binding, abalone-style top purfling and rosette inlay, and pearl block markers along the rosewood fingerboard. Though a much cheaper instrument, the standard of presentation is again to a high standard inside and out, and the black machineheads deserve a special mention. They’re unbranded, but it’s a precise, smoothly geared set.
On paper, the neck’s dimensions aren’t that dissimilar to the Deluxe’s. The main difference is a more rounded ‘C’ profile that’s a little deeper along the crown, though it’s just as comfy in its own way. String spacing at the bridge is also a couple of millimetres wider, which feels more natural to me.

The FA1 sacrifices surprisingly little to the Deluxe. The delivery and tone are understandably not quite so forthright and muscular, but for absolute volume there’s not a lot to choose between them, and ironically this guitar has a more supple response under the pick, which may simply be due to its being a lighter-weight instrument plus, of course, the mahogany rather than maple build. I’m also taken with its sweet-edged sustain, which may not be regarded as especially jumbo-like, but it’s pleasant nonetheless.

Description: Jumbo acoustic. Made in China
Price: £279
Solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck with
20-fret bound rosewood fingerboard. Rosewood bridge, black diecast
tuners, bottom strap button
Options: FA1FBJM with maple back/sides in gloss natural finish (£249)
Left-handers: No
Finish: Gloss black
Scale length: 650mm/25.59"
Neck width:
Nut 43mm
12th fret 54mm
Depth of neck:
First fret 20.5mm
9th fret  23.5mm
String spacing:
Nut 36mm
Bridge 54mm
Action as supplied:
12th fret treble 2.0mm
12th fret bass 2.7mm
Max rim depth: 123mm
Max body width: 406mm
Fingerboard radius: 14"
Weight: 2.04kg/4.5lb
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01355 228028

Build quality    18/20
Playability    17/20
Sound    17/20
Value for money    18/20
Vibe    14/20
Total    84%


In the near-Super Jumbo stakes, the FA300J Deluxe is an unequivocally handsome instrument, beautifully put together, with a sound that, though not fully blossomed, promises future maturity. The FA1FBJBK, meanwhile, is simply great value for a no-nonsense biggish-box strummer with a moody visual vibe. Either way, Freshmans quality reputation remains intact.

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score

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