An affordable 14-fret 0-size flattop with a vintage vibe.
by Teja Gerken
September 30, 2019
A presence in the guitar manufacturing world for more than 40 years, Farida is a Chinese brand that is steadily gaining recognition from North American players. The company recently worked with a prominent American vintage guitar dealer to develop the Old Town line of instruments, which is comprised of affordable guitars and ukuleles inspired by popular vintage instruments. Following several well-received slope-shoulder and 00 models, the company has now introduced a 14-fret 0-size series, and I had a chance to check out the new OT-12 VBS in the Peghead Nation video studio.
The Farida OT-12 VBS is built with a solid Sitka spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. Its neck is made of nato (an Asian wood with characteristics similar to mahogany), and its fingerboard and bridge are made from acacia, which looks a lot like some rosewoods. The guitar has a great-looking sunburst finish, and the materials and craftsmanship are a notch above what I’d expect on a guitar costing less than $500. Farida’s original peghead shape, ivory-colored ABS binding, and vintage-style, three-on-a-strip open-geared tuning machines round out the OT-12 VBS package.
Playing the OT-12 VBS, I was pleased to find that the guitar had a tonality and feel similar to vintage 0-style guitars I’ve played. The guitar’s small body, short scale, and great setup (which includes a bone nut and saddle) contribute to easy playability, making it an excellent instrument for beginning players. But seasoned players won’t be disappointed either, as the guitar has the compact, yet complex voice that make good 0-size guitars sought-after instruments. With its pronounced midrange and pleasant tonal balance, the guitar offered great clarity, and it would do particularly well in an accompaniment role.
Once again, Farida has done a great job adapting a classic design. For players who want to upgrade to solid wood back and sides, the company also offers the OT-15 (mahogany) and the OT-16 (pau ferro). All in all, a line of instruments worth checking out.
SPECS: 0-size body with 14-fret neck. Solid Sitka spruce top. Laminated mahogany back and sides. Nato mahogany neck. acacia fingerboard and bridge. 24.7-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Three-on-a-strip, open-gear tuning machines. Made in China. $423. Faridausa.com
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