While Germany’s Framus has focused on bringing its excellent electric guitars to the American market the past few years, the company’s acoustic models have been almost invisible in the USA. But Framus made a huge statement that this situation is going to change with a mammoth wall of acoustic guitars towering over their booth at the 2017 Winter NAMM show. There were some fantastic-looking models on display, and we’re not yet sure how many will ultimately find their way to U.S. guitarists, but, for now, the revamped and expanded Legacy Series is ready for its close-up. (“Expanded” is really the key here, as the Legacy Series includes the new Nashville dreadnoughts, as well as folk, parlor, grand auditorium, jumbo, concert, and artist models.)
The first guitar we could get our hands on is the Legacy FD28 Nashville—a beautiful dreadnought with a solid AA Sitka-spruce top, and solid Indian rosewood back and sides. The workmanship on this guitar is comparable to what we’ve seen on the electric models we’ve tested: excellent attention to detail, zero finish flaws, first-rate hardware, and nice “luxury” features such as pretty woods and rounded and polished fret ends. Playability is wonderful. The guitar itself feels comfortable whether you’re sitting or standing—an essential feature for me, as I have back issues that make playing some guitars a bit of a chore—and the satin-finished, tiger-striped mahogany neck allows for near-effortless movement all around the fretboard. Intonation is spot-on—I’ve always been a fan of Tusq compensated saddles for this reason—and the vibey, gold Grover machine heads turn smoothly and hold their pitch, even under heavy strumming.
As I was in pre-production for a new album by my band Discordia, I decided to see if the FD28 Nashville could help drive, sweeten, or add texture to a few tracks. For these tests, I played the guitar acoustically, as well as running its Fishman Prefix Plus T preamp into a recording interface and Fender Twin and Peavey 6505 combos. The acoustic tone presents an articulate chime that’s a bit midrange forward. This is great for cutting through band mixes on stage or in a recorded track, but for solo-acoustic playing, I found the mid emphasis a little excessive for my taste. Bass tones are punchy and balanced, but never deep enough to become muddy, and the highs are airy, restrained, and sweet. The overall personality of the FD28 Nashville worked really well for the more somber tracks during the sessions, and it was perfect for arpeggios (whether played with a pick or fingerpicked) and open-chord strumming.
For amplified performances, the Fishman preamp offers a fair amount of tone-tweaking options, and I was able to notch out the midrange frequencies that had bothered me a bit when playing the FD28 Nashville acoustically. Through both the Fender and the Peavey—which are, of course, electric guitar amps, rather than amps designed specifically for acoustic playing—the FD28 managed to sound terrific, exhibiting rich mids, taut lows, and subtle highs that fit right in with the album’s more effected and modulated electric-guitar tones. My entire recording experience with this guitar was one of effortless efficiency, versatile tones, and comfort.
The Legacy FD28 Nashville is an elegant and sophisticated acoustic that’s versatile, delivers great sounds, and can cut it on stage or in the studio. I’m certain that finally having the option to check out Framus acoustics here in the U.S. is going to be an immense benefit for all acoustic-guitar players. Willkommen!
Legacy FD28 Nashville SBT Cutaway
PRICE $1,329 direct
NUT WIDTH 1 ¾", Tusq
NECK Mahogany, C profile
FRETBOARD Tiger stripe ebony, 25.5" scale, 16" radius
FRETS 21 medium
TUNERS Vintage Grover, open gears
BODY Solid AA Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides
BRIDGE Tiger stripe ebony, Tusq compensated saddle
ELECTRONICS Fishman Prefix Plus T Preamp
CONTROLS Volume, Notch, Bass, Contour, Treble, Brilliance, Contour Frequency (250Hz-3kHz), Phase, Tuner
FACTORY STRINGS Cleartone Acoustic, .012-.053
WEIGHT 4.4 lbs
EXTRAS Medium-action Tusq saddle, carbon faux hardshell case, feedback buster, McPherson picks sample pack, limited lifetime warranty.
KUDOS Eye catching. Plays great. Excellent amplified tones. Superb craftsmanship.
CONCERNS Acoustic midrange frequencies may be a bit too intense for some players.