Fast Guitars is a guitar shop in British Columbia, Canada, named for owner and head builder Kevin Fast, who has built thousands of guitars for high-end clients around the world and whose grandfather built acoustic guitars entirely by hand. When not building guitars under his own name, he also makes OEM parts for other manufacturers (such as Oakland Axe Factory) and DIY kits for enterprising amateur luthiers.
They make a line of “standard” models that include originals like the Orion and Orion F7, as well as some fresh takes on classic designs (gotta give the people what they want, right?). When Kevin approached me about doing a review, he gave me the pick of the litter. Because I know what you nerds like, and because I too am nerd, I picked the one with 7 strings and frets that go WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
I know, I know. I talk about multiscale/fanned fret guitars too much. OH FUCKING WELL. I foresee a time (are you writing this down? I don’t see anyone writing down my prophecy!) when ALL guitars are multiscale, like all harps and pianos. Sure, you and I will likely be dead by then, but you can be damned sure that the Mos Eisley Cantina Band won’t be playing a guitar with ye olde straighte frettes.
Despite my supposed expertise on the matter, I was unprepared for such a spread. I initially was not thrilled with the fan of 27″-25.5″, and it sat for a bit before I mustered the courage to try again. It’s a bit daunting, I’m not gonna lie. But really, I was being a big pussy. The new Ibanez multiscale guitars have the same scale, and there’s probably children in Japan right now who would laugh at me. It turned out to be not that hard – except, of course, for the lack of front dots WHY DO PEOPLE HATE KNOWING WHERE THEY ARE?!?!?!
This guitar was not built for me – but it could be built for me. Fast Guitars is like, 5 dudes total. Many of their guitars are made entirely from scratch to custom designs – it’s not like they’re gonna be like “Dots, huh? I dunno how corporate is gonna feel about that. Maybe we can get the word to the factory in China for the next batch off the line to have them….”. As far as I know, you can have them customize every aspect of your instrument to your liking. They want something changed, they’re gonna do it. For instance – this guitar did not have slanted pickups. This left the pickups a bit too far from the bridge on the lower strings – but all future models of multiscale guitars will have slanted pickups to match. Just like that, problem solved.
This model, the Orion F7, came equipped with some Seymour Duncan Blackouts. They’re not my jam. I think I managed to get a pretty good sound out of them regardless (cuz tone is in the hands right?) but I would go a different direction. Luckily, the pickup situation was the only thing I ultimately was not stoked on about this guitar, and of course, the pickup choice is limited only by your budget and access to available pickups. The Fast team’s collective experience showed in the build quality, setup, and overall execution on the guitar. I enjoyed the smooth drop top, which showed their expertise, as sometimes getting a nice top means foregoing any front contours, or at least paying dearly for it.
I did eventually bond with the fan, and (as you can see from the demo) had a fine time with it after only a couple of days. This is the only Fast Guitars that I’ve laid hands on, but if the others are this good, it will be money well spent.