|Body And Neck:|
Last Updated: Mar-07-2018.
The review is updated to reflect our thoughts about the FA-100 in 2018.
Fender is a brand most famous for their premium American-made electric guitars. But their affordable acoustic line is also worth taking seriously – especially their small budget FA-100, which pushes for the top spot in our chart on the best cheap acoustics. This steel-string acoustic barely hits $150 but delivers more than you could ask for in terms of value. Plus, you won’t be playing any old generic cheap guitar – you’re rocking a genuine Fender!
On the face of it, the FA-100 is a simple guitar in its design. There’s nothing extroverted about it – just the basic soundhole rosette and a black pickguard. Instead, Fender gives you a dreadnought body with a clean, uncomplicated feel, making it perfect for beginners.
As for materials, it’s the familiar sight of laminated spruce on the top, with basswood used on the back and sides to keep costs down – all finished with gloss. The glossy C-shaped maple neck is also quite basic and cost-effective, but very comfortable for all hands, along with a laminated hardwood fretboard and a total of 20 frets (joined at the 14th). For a mass-produced Chinese-made guitar, there’s little wrong with the fit and finish of the FA-100, and it feels pretty good out of the box.
It looks good, but what’s under the hood? Inside the neck is a truss rod for simple neck adjustments, while the headstock is rigged with a set of chrome sealed tuners, which – for the price – do a very good job of holding your tuning secure.
There’s also a rosewood bridge, along with a nut and compensated saddle made of synthetic bone, giving a more consistent tone and feel compared to the plastic you’ll find on many other budget acoustics. Finally, the guitar is strung with a set of Fender’s Duratone strings, and – on most marketplaces – it comes delivered with a basic gig bag for storage and transport.
Perhaps the FA-100’s tone doesn’t compare to a Martin, but then again you aren’t paying a few grand for the pleasure. This guitar offers a very good projection for the materials, aided by the X bracing, while the overall sound is crisp, clear and pleasant. You probably won’t want to gig with it, but for lessons, practice and campfire performances you couldn’t ask for much better without stretching your budget.
Sure, it’s no American-made acoustic and the materials are basic, but the FA-100 is a very popular model because it plays well, sounds decent and doesn’t cost much at all. For beginners and intermediate players looking for something to keep close by, the FA-100 does the job!