Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Farida OT-65 X Wide VBS

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An affordable vintage-style slope-shoulder dreadnought with a wide neck.

by Teja Gerken
January 14, 2019

Farida instruments may not be as familiar to American guitarists as some more-established brands, but the Chinese company was founded more than 40 years ago and has received acclaim in Asian and European markets. Offering models designed in collaboration with a prominent American vintage instrument dealer, the company has had US distribution since 2016. The first models available to US customers were based on a vintage 00-size body (check out our demo of the OT-22 model), and now Farida has added several slope-shoulder dreadnought models to its US line. We recently had a chance to check out the OT-65 X Wide VBS in the Peghead Nation video studio.

With its sunburst finish and vintage-style slope-shoulder appointments, the Farida OT-65 X Wide VBS looks like many vintage slope shoulders, but its 1¾-inch nut (the reason for the “wide” designation in the model name) and long 25.5-inch scale give the guitar a different character than most. The guitar is built from solid woods all around, with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The guitar’s fingerboard and bridge are made from pau ferro, and the bridge has some very cool striping. The guitar has a bone nut and saddle, and its tortoise-style pickguard and three-on-a-strip, open-gear tuners further enhance the vintage styling.

From the first strum, the Farida OT-65 X Wide VBS displayed the balanced, slightly dry, powerful sound that slope-shoulder dreadnoughts are known for. And while the guitar worked great for chordal work and playing with a pick, its wide neck makes it particularly suited for fingerstyle (players with large hands will also appreciate the dimensions). The narrow necks on most slope-shoulder dreadnoughts have been an obstacle for fingerstyle guitarists, but for those who’ve always like their sound, this guitar may well be a revelation. The longer scale also results in slightly more string tension, giving the guitar a little extra punch and giving the bass strings in drop tunings more definition.

The Farida OT-65 X Wide VBS may look like a typical vintage-style slope shoulder at first glance, but it has its own unique qualities that, combined with its affordable price and solid craftsmanship, make it worth checking out for anyone, especially fingerstylists.

SPECS: 14-fret slope-shoulder dreadnought. Solid Sitka spruce top. Solid mahogany back and sides. Nato mahogany neck. Pau ferro fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Three-on-a-strip, open-gear “arrowhead” tuning machines. Made in China. $774.

Category: Instruments & Gear

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