De Faoite Guitars - Terz Parlour
On the plus side the dog seems to be pretty well recovered, apart from what looks likely to be scarred muscle tissue under the skin causing a bulge. Which we need to keep an eye on. Thankfully we realised pretty quickly that something was wrong and he got treatment at the vets within a few hours.
During this time I have had the fortune to be able to try out for free over 3 weeks a hand made small parlour guitar. Dave White has a guitar building business called De Faoite Guitars and is a member of a UK based acoustic guitar forum that I'm a member of. He has sent one of his guitars on a "road trip" around some forum members for them to try out, make recordings and videos, and review. The guitar is called "An Fea Caol".
It has been a joy to play - beautifully set up with a very comfortable playing action and with an impeccable finish. The guitar top was made from Lawsons Cypree (a tree that used to grow in Dave's garden and had to be felled a few years back as it became a danger to the house). The back and sides and neck are Cuban Mahogany from an Edwardian Dresser. Cuban Mahogany is very dense and heavy. The resulting sound is sweet, mellow, rich and beautifully balanced over bass, mids and trebles. A very good bass and mid response for such a small guitar.
It is also the first guitar I've tried with a small sound port in the bass side of the upper bout. It gives the player so much more of an idea just how good a sound is coming from the guitar. I'm baffled that it isn't a standard practice.
It is a short scale instrument (610mm) and is designed for Terz tuning - like a normal guitar with a capo at fret 3.
So in standard tuning = G, C, F, Bb, D, G.
Though I had it most of the time in the equivalent of DADGAD with a capo at fret 3.
F, C, F, Bb, C, F .... not as easily said as DADGAD!
This is it compared to my Tanglewood TW73 Parlour. Quite a bit smaller and a you'll see the shorter scale.
This is it compared to one of my Vintage Giltraps that I usually play.
You will see that the "An Fea Caol" has a similar pinched waist to the Giltrap.
I have a real liking for sound produced by guitars with that shape and An Fea Caol was no exception.
No bling, and no flashy detail, but just a very pleasing look with an air of quality about it.
Comparing "An Fea Caol, the TW73, and the Giltrap guitars:-
Upper Bout = 225mm, 245mm, 282mm
Waist = 168mm, 207mm, 205mm
Lower Bout = 310mm, 355mm, 405mm
Waist v Upper Bout = 75%, 84%, 73%
Waist v Lower Bout = 54%, 58%, 51%
So it is close to the extreme pinch of the Giltraps waist - much more pinched than the normal factory made acoustic guitar shapes.
I don't know why there's so few factory made guitars with a more pinched waist like this - the sound so damn good.
It usually only seems to be the hand made operations that make guitars of that shape.
Here's a couple of sound samples :-
An improvisation in the equivalent of DADGAD with Newtone Heritage strings.
Semi Improvised around some of the ideas, note and progressions of a Pierre Bensusan piece - much simplified of course. Also in DADGAD equivalent.
I passed the guitar on to the next forum member in the chain today.
Fortunately I find I still enjoy the sound of my cheap Vintage brand Giltrap guitars.