By: Josh Lucas
When we put out our last newsletter Andrew said to me, “Hey Josh, why don’t you write your own Guitar Spotlight on the Freja 1013? I think the magazine review is great, but I want people who are interested in our guitars to know what you think.”
As soon as I got to work today, I got started on this review–which is actually great motivation, because the first thing I get to do when I come in is play guitar.
If you’ve read any of my blogs, you already know I’m a big fan of rosewood and spruce. How could I not be? It’s an extremely versatile, palatable, and attractive wood combination that is tried-and-true. It’s my go-to unless I’m looking for a specifically unique and outside the box tone, because I feel I can coax just about every sound and dynamic nuance out of those tonewoods.
Andrew has always described the Freja to me as his most versatile model. When a customer comes to us and says they want a guitar that can sort of do it all, this is the one that he recommends. When I grabbed a 1013 for this review, I quickly realized why.
I played through my usual “guitar-test-repertoire” of classical songs, and then started to mess around with the timbre of the guitar, moving my right hand nearer to the bridge, or nearer to the neck, just to see what I could get out of this guitar. Near the neck, the notes are as meaty as I’ve heard on any acoustic guitar, and reminded me of the thickness you get out of a good neck pickup–plenty of body with a chimey and clear top end. It was fun to see how fat I could make my quicker scale runs sound with my hand in this position.
When I played near the bridge the guitar did not lose any body, but it shifted the character of the tone drastically to a more nasal and percussive tone. Of course, I had to start jamming on some bluesy riffs. I did my best Tim Sult impersonation, trying to play some cool Clutch-esque riffs, and then I figured why not go a little more extreme? I decided to get a little progressive death metal in, and went through “When”–an old Opeth song that I still remember from high school. That song in particular had so many nuances–elements of classical, death metal, classic rock, progressive rock–in other words, a lot of chances for me to experiment with timbre and technique.
It brought out the best in the acoustic interludes and the heavy parts alike, as I got some serious nostalgia thinking back through all the times I’d played the song before. In a way it brought together the times I played the it on my Les Paul, and the times I played it when I first tested out my own Freja, a 112 BV model.
Then again, quarantine due to COVID-19 has changed things drastically for me as a working musician in my state and surrounding areas. I’ve been so starved for a gig that, like a man wandering through the desert, I’m willing to accept a mirage for an oasis, and my imagination usually takes over somewhere during the course of my playing.
The crowd goes wild.
Then again, I’ve always loved having little moments like that while playing by myself. I don’t think I get it playing every single guitar, not even the ones that I review here–which is not to say that there’s anything unspecial about those guitars, or in any way sub-par. In fact, I’ve yet to play a guitar here that wasn’t up to snuff. But in terms of guitars that I connect with, it’s definitely not every single one. How could it be? Sometimes I listen with my eyes, and sometimes a guitar might be calling to me for reasons I don’t quite have words for.
But when you combine the familiar tone of rosewood and spruce with all solid wood construction, and the Freja’s bodystyle–you’ve got a winning combination whose versatility can fulfill the tonal requirements of any gig. And if you’re a musician who’s playing more than one type of gig, it can save you a lot of time and money to find that one great guitar that can meet all your needs.
But listen, somewhere in this batch of guitars, there’s a very special Freja 1013. And I’m willing to bet that there’s more than one–and if you’re a fan of rosewood and spruce, it’s definitely going to be the one that lands in your lap. Our tech, and teacher extraordinaire Brandon Arnold will be here to make sure that every guitar we put out plays its absolute best before it reaches your hands.
And don’t forget, you can pick up free lessons with either of us when you buy a new Andrew White Guitar.