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Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Review

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Review

After playing guitar for nearly 20 years, there is one brand that I continuously rely on – Fender.  Back when I was an angsty teenager with too much time, I picked up my dad’s old Fender acoustic and my love of guitar began.

The Fender FA-115 acoustic guitar isn’t much different from the guitar I started on, and the FA-115 has now become one of the most popular beginner guitars.  In this Fender FA-115 review, we’ll take an in-depth look at what makes this guitar so popular and why it may be the right choice for you.

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle

As the world’s leading guitar company, Fender knows that most of those who are considering the FA-115 acoustic guitar are beginners.  With this in mind, the Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle comes with a lot of accessories to help you get started:

  • Clip-on tuner
  • New strings
  • Gig bag
  • Strap
  • Picks
  • Instructional DVD
  • Fender Play Trial Membership

Since 1946, Fender has been supplying the world with revolutionary instruments, including the Stratocaster electric guitar and the Precision Bass, the first electric bass.  With the Fender FA-115 acoustic guitar, Fender wants to get affordable guitars into the hands of every musician.  While one of the cheapest acoustic guitars on the market, the FA-115 is backed Fender’s long-standing reputation for quality.

What We Liked

  • Extremely affordable
  • Easy to play with a clear, natural tone
  • Great for beginners
  • Reputable brand
  • Bundle includes several accessories

What We Didn’t Like

  • Potential problems with the bridge
  • Accessories not always included

 Features

Here we will discuss the Fender FA-115’s features, construction, and accessories, and how they impact the playability and sound.  If you’d like a quick breakdown of features and specifications, skip down to the table below.

Spruce Top and Basswood Back and Sides

The Fender FA-115 features a laminate spruce top and basswood back and sides.

Wait, laminate?  Despite the negative connotations, a majority of guitars use laminate woods, especially when cost savings is necessary.  Laminate means that multiple types of woods are used, stacked on top of each other in thin layers.  By contrast, a solid top means that the guitar uses solid pieces of one type of wood.

With a laminate spruce top, projection, volume, and tone will be comparable to a solid top acoustic guitar.  For the everyday musician intent on learning or someone who just needs a cheap guitar for fun, a laminate top will not be a hindrance.

Basswood is a popular tonewood, especially for guitars produced in Asia.  It is known for its durability and resonance.  My favorite electric guitar is crafted from basswood, and I think it is a wonderful choice for an acoustic as well.

Rosewood Fretboard

Rosewood fretboards have been the industry standard for nearly 100 years, and the Fender FA-115 acoustic guitar continues this tradition.  Rosewood is known for its bright tone and durability, which is why it has become the wood of choice for guitars.  With your fingers constantly pressing metal strings against the fingerboard, you will need a wood that is able to withstand the pressure.

Dreadnought Body Shape

The dreadnought body shape has been the standard for acoustic guitars since the 1930s.  Capable of producing big volume with a clear and natural sound, it’s easy to hear why dreadnoughts are so popular.

A majority of acoustic guitars follow the dreadnought shape, from the most expensive to the cheapest of the cheap.  While a wonderful design, the dreadnought shape can feel quite large.  For players under the age of 12 or 13, I typically recommend a smaller body acoustic, like a parlor guitar or a 3/4 size guitar.

 Bonus Accessories

Starting a new hobby without all of the tools needed for success can really slow down progress.  Unlike most beginner guitars, the Fender FA-115 comes with several accessories to make learning just a bit easier.

For starters, the included clip on tuner will become your best friend after just a few practices.  Simply clip it on to your guitar’s headstock and use it to tune your guitar any time it sounds out of tune.  I would have loved to have a tuner like that back when I first started!

Changing strings is just a fact of life for guitarists.  One of the best things a new guitarist can learn is how to properly maintain his or her guitar, and changing strings is the most important part of that.  Included with each FA-115 is a new pack of Fender strings.

Although the gig bag will help you carry your guitar around, it won’t do much for actually protecting your guitar (it’s basically a canvas bag).  If you plan to travel a lot with your acoustic guitar, you may want to consider investing in a dreadnought-sized acoustic case.

One final accessory you may want to consider is a stand.  I have found that leaving your guitar out in the open on a stand increases the amount you practice.  The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is very true when it comes to practicing your instrument.

As an added bonus with the FA-115, buyers will receive a 30 day trial version of Fender Play.  Fender Play is an online learning program that teaches new guitarists basic chords, playing techniques, how to play popular songs, and more.

Specifications

Feature Fender FA-115 Specification
Body Style Dreadnought
Top Material Laminate Spruce
Back and Sides Basswood
Fingerboard Rosewood
Bracing X Brace
Bridge Laminate Rosewood
Nut and Saddle Synthetic Bone
Finish Gloss
Accessories Gig bag, picks, strap, strings, tuner, instructional DVD, Fender Play membership

What Customers are Saying

Thousands of customers have bought and played the Fender FA-115, with the majority having only positive things to say about this affordable acoustic.

Most buyers of the Fender FA-115 are true beginners and this is their first guitar.  These new players found the Fender FA-115 to be easy to play, solidly built, and perfect for learning on.  Many reviewers liked the included accessories and said that the Fender Play trial was very helpful for learning the basics.

However, in reading the reviews, a few issues stood out.

One issue was that all of the advertised accessories were not always included.  In these situations, the tuner, strings, and picks were often missing.

The most serious issue reported was that the bridge (which holds the strings in) cracked, snapped, or completely separated from the body.  This seemed to happen within the first year of buying the guitar, but some reviewers stated that their guitar arrived with a broken bridge.  Luckily, out of the thousands of Fender FA-115 reviews, this bridge defect seems to not be a common problem.

To hear how the Fender FA-115 sounds right out of the box, check out this video.

Various Bundles

In addition to the package deal I’ve already described, Fender has made the FA-115 available in several different colors, including black, sunburst, and natural.

For those looking for the extra protection of a hard case, there is also a bundle that includes all of the accessories but replaces the gig bag with a Fender hard case.

Finally, if you need to save even more money on your first acoustic guitar, the Squier by Fender acoustic guitar pack features all of the previously mentioned accessories. The main difference is that the Squier acoustic is made from all laminate construction.

Verdict

As one of the most affordable acoustic guitars on the market, the Fender FA-115 is a great choice for both a beginner and an experienced player.  With a pleasant tone, easy to play neck, and several accessories to help you learn, this acoustic guitar is sure to become the start of something good.

Whether you buy this guitar online or in a store, inspect it to ensure all accessories are included, as well as for any defects with the bridge.

No matter what guitar you decide on, the important thing is to stop waiting and get to playing!

Summary
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Reviewed Item
Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar
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