* Fancy a guitar similar to this for Christmas?
We have all been spending more time at home and may continue to do so, so it’s a good time to learn something new — like playing guitar.
This is an all solid wood parlour guitar, spruce top, trembesi back and sides, so it’s a bit more expensive. Mercurys, like all the Faith models, come in a variety of versions. The cheapest is the ‘naked‘ version, with solid mahogany back and sides and matt finish solid spruce top.
Mercurys are easy to hold and play, perfect for kids, or for anyone to learn the guitar. It’s also great for doodling on the settee, all thanks to its smaller size, scale and 12th fret neck join.
Ideal for women especially, in my opinion, because historically this is pretty much exactly like the kind of guitar ladies used to play in their parlours!
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
The white cat in a snow storm
is staring at me
though there’s no sign of its face
and those glaring eyes
I had soon better come up
or it will soon morph into black
and hide in the coal house
copyright Francis Barker 2019
I’ve had my Faith Mercury parlour guitar for nearly four years now. I remember that it wasn’t a very easy purchase.
So OK, let me explain. I love electric guitars too; I’d had my American Stratocaster for number of years but it simply wasn’t getting played. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, far from it. I don’t gig so it’s far easier sitting around with an acoustic. I just wanted something smaller, lighter, easier in my lap – a ‘sofa guitar’ you might say.
Look, I’d got other acoustics (I’ll come back to them another time) but not a genuine 12 fret join-at-the-neck acoustic. They are usually called parlour guitars due to the fact that they were originally made in more genteel times for ladies to strum in their parlours. How quaint, I thought. I’ve seen plenty of women who can handle much bigger guitars than this, but again that’s another story.
You actually traded in the Strat?
So, once I’d come to terms with the knowledge that parlour guitars weren’t necessarily the exclusive property of women, I had to make a decision. Yes, I was going to trade in the Strat! What? It was hard to let it go: Heck, even the smell of it was great.
Yet, when I first took hold of that light Faith Mercury parlour it was the perfect fit for noodling, fingerstyle playing which is basically where I’m at these days. You might call it the quintessential songwriters’ guitar and I’ve been known to write a few.
The Faith Mercury is a perfect wee beastie: The simple Faith logo on the headstock, solid woods all round with a spruce top, trembesi back and sides and some beautiful rosewood binding to boot, which I really love. Mine has the glossy top, with matt finish back and sides. The solid trembesi, I am told, sits tonally somewhere between rosewood and mahogany. Sounds great.
Not boxy out of the box
However, perhaps the most surprising thing, considering it’s a parlour guitar, is that it’s not that boxy sounding; in fact there’s a fair amount of bass and thus a fuller, richer sound than I was expecting. It was in tune ‘right out of the box’ as the saying goes, and it’s so easy to play, the action just right for me. And by the way, it wasn’t actually a box but rather a very nice case emblazoned with the Faith logo.
My only ‘quibble’ is the fact that it doesn’t smell like a Martin (Martin owners will know what I mean) – but you can’t have everything, I suppose. Faith make some fantastic, great value guitars and I wouldn’t hesitate buying another. The only problem is making a choice. I’ve always fancied another Faith Mercury with the scoop and pick up. Equally I’d like a Venus, but which one?
Bog oak – is that a thing?
Then there’s the one made with that ancient bog oak, was it? Actually I think they’ve made several by now. One day I will make my mind up. I just hope I don’t have to trade in another to get one.
But get this. About a month ago my wife said, “can you teach me to play guitar?” After getting up off the floor and saying “yes, of course, Darling,” I wondered which of my several acoustics she would prefer to learn on. Absolute no brainer, the Faith Mercury won hands down. “It’s just the right shape for me,” she said, having struggled just a little with the others. Now she’s already trying to pick out the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme tune and I can’t get a look in!
It looks like parlour guitars are indeed very suitable for women and most especially the Faith Mercury. I’ll just have to remind her that it’s actually my guitar!