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Fano Alt de Facto RB6

Classic That Never Was
 

Fano Alt de Facto RB6

Fano Alt de Facto RB6
Price: $2,495
Info: fanoguitars.com

In recent years, a trend in the guitar realm has been to re-create the magic of vintage-style instruments. This has ranged from player-modded updates of classics to manufacturers painstakingly attempting to age/“relic” guitars. Dennis Fano uses both approaches in his Alt de Facto line of guitars, including the RB6 solidbody.

At a glance, the RB6 looks like an old friend; it has the classic stylings and appearance of a vintage instrument… But then you’re reminded that this guitar never existed! Of course, that’s part of its inspiration.

The RB6 is available with a body made of alder, mahogany, or swamp ash (our tester was the latter). It has a top with a nice carve reminiscent of instruments from decades past, all finished in a distressed nitrocellulose lacquer finish and sporting a Schroeder wrap-over bridge that’s also aged.

Attached to the body is a bolt-on maple or mahogany neck with a 243/4″ scale, adorned with Fano’s two-tone oversized headstock. The vintage vibe is carried on through the neck’s round profile. Customers can choose from maple or rosewood for the fingerboard, and it’s shaped with compound radius (10″ to 16″) – a feature you obviously wouldn’t find on earlier vintage instruments. The neck is detailed with dot inlays, 6105 fret wire, a Tusq nut measuring 111/16″ wide, and aged nickel Gotoh tuners.

Keeping with the straightforward approach, the RB6’s electronics are a study in simplicity – a pair of two custom Lindy Fralin P-90s guided by master Volume and master Tone and a three-way select switch.

The guitar’s natural resonance hints at a balanced overall tone with just the right amount of warmth for most styles. The swamp ash on our tester gave it a slightly jangly top-end response accentuated by the Fralins. Most impressive, though, was the overall roundness of the tone; the depth and focus of the low-end response gave a wonderful “chunk” to chords and lower strings. That said, the RB6 is easily at home pumping out the sort of serious rhythm parts employed in classic rock and punk. Not limited to a garage-rock sound, the RB6 shows its versatility in the studio, where again, the roundness coupled with the Fralins had the RB6 working equally well with fast jazz leads and country chicken pickin’. This is a quality not inherent in P-90 instruments.

Equally impressive are the “aged” touches. The distressing in the finish is dead-on; wear marks are in the proper places and the checking looks like 40-year-old lacquer that’s been played night after night and soaked with sweat and smoke. The nickel finish on the hardware had been aged with the same level of detail and the pseudo wear on the back of the neck made it look and feel like an instrument that had been played for years.

Craftsmanship, playability, and sound – all are high-caliber with the Alt de Facto RB6.


This article originally appeared in VG December 2012 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.


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