Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 122

VG APPROVED GEAR

SHAPE SHIFTER

Andrew White Guitars' Freja 1013W

T

hough electric guitars have undergone
radical change since the world first
laid eyes on Rickenbacker's "frying pan,"
acoustics have rarely strayed from tradition. Andrew White is tweaking the system.
The West Virginian has reinterpreted
the shape and dimensions of acousticguitar design, finding a median between
jumbo and dreadnought with his Freja
1013W NAT. The Freja is comparatively
short in body length - about a half inch
longer than double-ought models - and
its exaggerated soft shoulders and tight
convex curves at the end of each bout bless
the Freja with a distinctive look.
Its solid-rosewood back and sides are
topped with Sitka spruce crisscrossed with
flecks. A stylized logo is the only pearly
bling in sight, yet the Freja seems decorative,
warm, and inviting, with its curly maple
binding, wooden purfling, and zebrawood
rosette. The pau ferro bridge is discreetly
shaped to optimize the gluing surface
without being oversized or heavy. Players
will appreciate the one-piece cedar neck
with stacked heel overlaid with a pau ferro
fingerboard and carved to a modern C shape.
The headstock has an attractive rosewood
cap. The neck joint is curved at the heel cap to
match the body and headstock curves, while
the finer details of the neck include a classic
dovetail joint and two-way truss rod. The
fretwork is clean, and the NuBone nut (in
either 1.6875" and 1.75" widths) and saddle
are functional tone enhancers.
The Freja has a distinctive look with a
lofty level of craft. Its polyester finish and
visible joinery (inside and out) are faultless.
Played with a thick pick, the Freja
achieved a deep, bassy growl and plenty of
rosewood presence, but less problematic
woofiness - a characteristic that might
sound good in the lap but has long been the
bane of sound engineers. The upper register in the first positions showed the steely
quality of a maple jumbo. The classic 25.5"
scale drew the best out of the Freja's body,
while the neck was substantial enough to
enhance sustain, yet comfortably shaped
for playability. Tightening the curves on
an acoustic body generally results in a
focused sound with fewer overtones than
a dreadnought.

Price: $1,599.99
Info: www.andrewwhiteguitars.com

While not a bluegrass cannon, the Freja
nonetheless delivered solid flatpicked singlenote lines on fiddle tunes and modal noodling.
The design, materials, and build permitted
excellent string separation, giving strummed
chords a texture that broke through the overtones produced by the Sitka/rosewood body.
Flatpickers can be stuck on the dread
design much like gypsy jazzers want to park
themselves behind something Maccaferri/
Selmer-inpired, but open-minded fingerstyle
players are going to find lots to like in the Freja,
especially the W variant with its wide string
spacing. It responded to bare fingers with a

VINTAGE GUITAR

122

January 2018

tuneful, even sound, while metal
fingerpicks produced authoritative amplitude with cut and
depth. Open tunings seem made
for the Freja; the clarity of fretted notes contrasting with the
ringing, open strings in octaves.
The Freja produced a big sound,
responsive to dynamic attack.
The Andrew White Freja
1013W is a high-value instrument
with unique, pleasing aesthetics, first-class playability, and
distinctive tone. - Chip Wilson


http://www.andrewwhiteguitars.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IFC
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