Who Exactly Are Farida Guitars?
Guitar brand growing all the time
Farida Guitars are a unique thing in the world of musical instruments, having spent almost a decade going under the radar, so to speak. To use an analogy, consider the recording artist who slowly but surely builds up a dedicated fanbase without resorting to stunts or wacky marketing campaigns. You won’t see them pulling stupid poses on the front of the music mags but, over time, the quality of their work stands out and once the fans are on-board, they tend to remain loyal for years to come. Dawsons has witnessed a similar process with Farida ever since it started importing them in 2004. Through carefully chosen partnerships with credible musicians and a track record of producing extremely high quality instruments, the company has quietly gone about its business and built up a solid fanbase along the way. But why? Who exactly are Farida Guitars?
Farida actually forms part of the Chinese group Grand Reward Education and Entertainment (GREE) which has been producing guitars under licence for ‘bigger’ name manufacturers since 1995. Their factory in Guang Dong produces around 13,000 guitars a month, of which more than half end up at stores in the United States. Yet with all that experience and know-how, GREE wanted to show off their expertise and felt they could offer the world a slightly different product. By using their proven construction techniques and industry knowledge, GREE ensured their new Farida range would deliver build quality and specifications well beyond what would be expected at a particular price point.
Dawsons began working with Farida in 2004, becoming their sole UK distributor and pledging to help establish the brand in a competitive western market. In order to do this, Dawsons approached a number of credible, respected guitarists and began producing limited run signature models. The benefits of doing this were two-fold; firstly, it gets the guitars into the hands of the professionals, the ones who are likely to share their positive feedback with other players. Secondly, it raises awareness of the brand to a larger, more targeted audience than would otherwise have been possible. Shortly after, signature models were produced for Frank Turner, James Morrison and the chaps from Bombay Bicycle Club. All were limited edition models, often featuring interesting design stylings hand-chosen by the artists themselves and all sold out shortly after going on sale, which provided the confirmation Dawsons and Farida needed that there was a desire from the guitar buying public to learn more about this exciting new brand.
For its standard range, Farida has mostly focused its energies on the acoustic guitar world. It has produced a range of dreadnought, parlour, jumbo and classical guitars which have been well received in the UK guitar press, along with the aforementioned signature models listed above. There have also been signature electrics produced too, notably for Freddie Cowan of The Vaccines and Murph from The Wombats. Farida’s track record of adding unique elements to their designs continued apace; Murph’s CT20 featured an interesting pickup layout whereby the two single coil pickups were effectively designed as one humbucker, albeit with around four inches of space between them, while Freddie’s GNA TV guitars were designed using a classic retro body shape and no less than three humbuckers.
By focusing on quality and craftsmanship ahead of a fancy brand name, Farida has brought the world of high-spec guitars to a much wider audience. Players of even the company’s entry level models are often surprised at how easy they are to play and how great they sound compared with ‘big name’ guitars at the same price. Sure, the lure of owning a proper Fender, Gibson or Martin will always be there, but for sheer playability and design Farida has gradually carved itself quite a unique niche in the UK. And, as more people became aware of Farida and saw for themselves the amount of guitar they’re getting for their money, the company went from strength to strength. And, as with Fender and Squier, and Gibson and Epiphone, there is also an associated Farida sub-brand called Marina, offering a selection of guitars priced even more competitively.
The current Farida range features a wide selection of guitars – electric and acoustic – to suit every budget and every playing style. From the Farida D8-X OP or Marina MD-10 – reviewed favourably here by Total Guitar, which are both perfect for players taking their first steps onto the instrument, through to the Artist Designed Farida JT-60 2DCC Sam Halliday Signature Guitar, a superb electric guitar created in collaboration with Sam Halliday from Two Door Cinema Club.
Farida may not have the recognisable logo of some of its peers. It may not have the prestigious heritage, or roll call of rock’s biggest names on its roster. But, crucially, what it does have is a desire to create some of the most well engineered, lovingly crafted and gorgeously playable guitars on the market today, no matter what the price. If you consider yourself a true player, you owe it to yourself to check one of these amazing guitars out next time you’re in Dawsons. Alternatively, visit the Farida Guitars website, check them out on Facebook here or view a complete range of electric and acoustic guitars over at the Dawsons website.