Brook Fan Fret Review
(This review was first published in 'Acoustic' Magazine May 2012 page 55)
Article by Russell Welton.
Please Click on the thumbnails below to see the original review.
Brook Tavy 010 Fan Fret
Producing a guitar which is both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional is a real design brief challenge for fan fret guitars.
Will the Tavy run through you and fan your musical flames?
"The overall look works perfectly - highly experienced"
Famous for their custom made guitars and small body instruments along with their ability to wow guitar players the world over with their line-up of orderable models.
Brook Guitars have developed their very own take on the fan fret design and used their hands-on experience in producing something with appealing individuality, but how does this fare when it comes to playability and performance as a musical instrument?
Simon and Andy's luthiery skills are second to none which becomes immediately apparent the very moment you pick up this guitar by the neck.
The neck contour is instantly identifiable as their work thanks to it's shallow profile, which is both slim but substantial at the same time it has a shallow C cross section single-piece mahogany neck in high-gloss finish which beautifully tapers up the fingerboard length. As the neck terminates at the heal block you notice a very elegant return on the mahogany as it graduates slightly upwards towards the rosewood heel cap "This not only looks attractive but also allows for maximum access to the upper frets without a cutaway.
It is subtle but very classy, much like many of Its qualities which could be over-looked, such as the strengthening and refined headstock volute or rosewood bindings.
Designing a fan fret guitar requires more insight into guitar building than may be initially apparent.
One example is the headstock design, where it houses the angled bone nut and start of the bass end of the fingerboard.
The headstock veneer also needs to match the extended length at the treble side of the register.
Why is this important
Critically the intonation of a fan fret guitar depends on this angle and many other subtle factors, along with the angle of the frets, bridge, shaping of the bone saddle and overall action. It is an unforgiving set of parameters to work to and, as it is a signature of their work, has been executed to these highly stringent tolerances. Another subtlety is the proportions of the bridge design Because the bridge is so 'aggressively' angled, the wings of the bridge are of slightly different lengths to maintain visual balance and maintain a good poise, the shorter wing on the treble side and the longer wing on the bass side.
The over all look works perfectly and reflects a highly experienced and considered approach to the construction of the whole guitar.
The scale lengths chosen for the bass to treble sides are 640mm and 660mm respectively and yes, the guitar will take a capo a capo quite comfortably when applied to the equivalent angle to match.
"The Brook guys really showcase British luthiery at its best, paying huge honour to our tonewoods."
your key fret of choice.
The grandeur of the guitar is further enhanced by the employment of a tightly grained ebony fingerboard, bridge and headstock veneer adding continuity to the theme of this guitars personality. If you are looking for an instrument with the individuality we spoke of at the beginning and retain a huge slice of British sensibility toward tone woods, you need look no further.
This choice of stunning solid yew back and sides which was seleced, cut and dried by these craftsmen from Hittesleigh is richly aflame with ochres, raw sienna, oranges and yellows capped off with cream centre figuring down the back and front edges of the sides.
If you find yourself hankering for a creme brulee you would be forgiven.
Machine heads are open geared Grover with period style chrome buttons, and the final detail of elegance is the Brook headstock logo.
The bracing for the back of the guitar has been carried out in mahogany, all cleanly profiled and hand-sanded to beautifully rounded contours, whereas the X bracing of of the top is done in spruce.
The internal ribbon is also made of mahogany for both the top and back of the guitar, along with mahogany neck and slightly chamfered end block. This combination has been the configuration of choice in-house for several years now and for good reason enhancing mid-range response and treble definition where it counts and working in harmony with the holistic approach of the guitar's sonic profile.
This is a loud and responsive guitar full of detail in fingerpicked sensitivity and harmonic,
choral fullness. You can feel the individual strings resonating throughout the body of the guitar with an equally fast and definite attack with long, harmonious and thrumming sustain. The notes are individually well defined and clear in their brightness without being shrill and would be excellent for blues and bluegrass right through to Jazz.
Playabilty-wise the angle of the frets does not impair performance of barre chords in any way. In fact as you become very readily acclimatised, the physical differentiation makes for an increased comfort in both point of reference and playing feel as, say, a scalloped fingerboard, only more familiar and much more intuitive than you amy anticipate.
I would go as far as to say that you may surprise yourself and may develop a preference for it if you have the slightest penchant for something that is out of the ordinary but has the integrity of a trusted friend.
The Brook guys really showcase British Luthiery at its best, and within within this is a huge honour they pay to to our own indigenous tone woods, all of which is composited with construction choices that they work extremely well.
If you can find an equivalent instrument made to such a highly executed standard anywhere else it is highly unlikely it will be anywhere as comparatively affordable as the Tavy 010. This is a luxury guitar at a more than reasonable price - boutique brass. Own it and love it forever.
What we think, What did the test results reveal?
Pros: Handcrafted with playability to be spoilt by amazing figuring superb intonation. individuality. Light flight pro case.
Cons: You will find that owning one Brook Guitar is never enough.
Overall: A truly special instrument.