James Morrison is one of the UK’s most widely recognised singer-songwriters with multi-platinum selling albums charting in numerous countries, awards galore, and sales figures in excess of five million. There has been one thing missing from James’ arsenal, though – a signature acoustic guitar. Until now, that is…
Farida Guitars and Dawsons Music have been bringing affordable signature edition guitars to music lovers for a little while now, with a roster focusing on younger artists such as Sandi Thom, Bombay Bicycle Club, Frank Turner, and Two Door Cinema Club, but not forgetting some notable guys that have been around the block a few times – Steve Rothery, The Levellers, and Steve Hackett. The latest addition to this roster, however, is Brit Award-winning, Rugby-born singer-songwriter, James Morrison.
With a clear design brief that meant the guitar would be given an exceptional price for the specification it boasts, and with a hankering for vintage aesthetics, James Morrison and Farida set out to make an affordable artist series guitar limited to only 25 pieces worldwide. Here’s what the Farida James Morrison R52 means to the man himself…
Your signature Farida has a pretty compact body shape. What influenced your design choices?
I find that the OM shape has a more clean and crisp sound which works better with my voice. I was looking for a crisp, but warm tone that doesn’t sound muddy, something that doesn’t ring too much in the bottom end. I like to pick and strum simultaneously and this guitar is great for that. I wanted the guitar to look old school like Robert Johnson or “old-style hobo” but with a fresh approach. I’ve always liked the look of the mother of pearl inlays on early Gibsons. I chose bits from guitars that I love. The dark sunburst effect reminded me of all the cool old blues artists like Robert Johnson – a beat-up-looking guitar with a sound that has been played in. I didn’t want to go too fancy with the inlays – I wanted it to be a workingman’s guitar, something that looks classic and plays like a dream.
There’s clearly vintage aesthetics mixed with a modern edge here. You’ve chosen the Fishman Rare Earth pickup, and we love the cheeky headstock logo!
The logo was just a little way of making it friendly. I never wanted to put my signature on it, as I’ve always thought you’re not buying my guitar you’re buying my idea of a guitar. I’ve used electric acoustic guitars with Fishman pickups for years, so it fitted right in – it was like it had always been there! My first impression when I saw it was that it was great. It looks awesome – the more you play it the better it sounds.
Designing your own signature acoustic is a childhood dream for many – how did you find designing yours?
I found the process of making the guitar very exiting. Hearing what you think you want can be a daunting thing to achieve, especially when I only know what I like when I hear it, but choosing all the woods and the inlays and designing my logo was just brilliant. It’s so cool to have a guitar with your name on it! I still get a big buzz when I think back to my first guitar and when I look at this new one, it reminds me how far I’ve come. When I play it it’s nice to know I got what I was looking for.
When I was younger I used to see these signature models in the shops, you know? I think the first time I was in LA I saw Slash’s signature model and it’s things that which puts it into perspective. I genuinely never thought I’d get to make my own guitar and have my own model. I really enjoyed the idea of doing it. When my manager approached me about it I was really excited about seeing what I could actually do. I’ve always liked the old-school Gibson guitars from the early 30s! I need something that if I hit it quite hard it’s not going to ring out too much. I like a combination of picking and hitting at the same time, so it was important for me to have something quite clear when you do that picking and solid when you’re strumming – you know, with all the clarity that you want for accompanying your voice.
For the full specifications, prices, availability, and our review, head to page 54.