Fano RB6 Standard Review
Twin P-90 pickups? Wrapover bridge? Retro stylings? Sounds like a job for Chris Vinnicombe…
Fano’s Standard Series expanded for 2017 to include more shapes from the upscale Alt De Facto line designed by Dennis Fano before he left to launch Novo Guitars in October 2015. The compact lines of the German-carved RB6 saw Dennis draw on the 50s Rickenbacker Combo 800, while the specifications here are a tip of the hat to Fullerton by way of an alder body and bolt-on maple neck, and Kalamazoo via the 24.75-inch scale length, wrapover bridge and pair of P-90 pickups.
Standards are offered in a rainbow of ‘Custom Colour’ finishes and a choice of two levels of artificial ageing: New Old Stock and Medium Distress, the latter seen here with aged hardware, simulated forearm wear, dings, checking and much of the gloss missing from the back of the neck.
The finish-ageing is a little rudimentary (when wood has been exposed by rub-through, it would typically be darkened by oxidisation and grime) and the Surf Green’s toothpaste zing is rather box-fresh. The Indian rosewood fingerboard could also use a little oil.
All that said, we don’t imagine that it will be long before the RB6 sustains its fair share of genuine battle-scars – subjecting it to an acoustic strum is a refreshingly direct experience. We can’t wait to plug in…
It may be a bolt-on, but the rounded neck profile and pitched headstock reinforce the RB6’s LP Special vibe. We immediately wind our small tweed amp up into crunch territory and wheel out the raunchy rock ’n’ roll clichés, but any old tricks are given a sense of vitality by the RB6’s bark and dynamic response.
It’s not only about The Stones, the Faces, Aerosmith and punk-rock powerchords; just as we were impressed by the Fano Standard JM6’s OEM humbuckers back in 2016, the P-90s here deliver a lovely mixture of sparkle and grit that has more in common with vintage hand-wound boutique units than it does modern, mass-produced examples.
With the volume rolled back there’s plenty of that pseudo-acoustic character we often talk about, while the compound fingerboard radius helps ensure that the RB6 is not just a rhythm machine – it’s an easy-player above the 12th fret, too.
This allows you to take full advantage of the elasticity of the scale length and enjoy some juicy and expressive lead tones through all three positions of the toggle switch. As you’d expect from such a simple instrument, there are bags of sustain and harmonics to play with, while the RB6’s materials and bolt-on construction help lend a Fender-like snap and twang to clean tones when required.
Fano RB6 Standard
• PRICE £1,989 (inc gigbag)
• DESCRIPTION Solidbody electric guitar. Made in USA
• BUILD Alder body with carved top, bolt-on maple neck with ‘late 50s round back’ profile, Indian Rosewood fingerboard with compound 10-16” radius, 22 Jescar ‘6105’ frets
• HARDWARE Fano Wraparound 6-saddle bridge, vintage-style tuners
• ELECTRICS 2x Fano P-90 pickups, master volume, master tone, 3-way toggle pickup selector switch
• SCALE LENGTH 24.75”/629mm
• NECK WIDTH 43mm at nut, 52mm at 12th fret
• NECK DEPTH 22mm at 1st fret, 24mm at 12th fret
• STRING SPACING 35.5mm at nut, 51.8mm at bridge
• WEIGHT 7.3lb/3.3kg
• FINISH Surf Green nitrocellulose. Also available in Bull Black, Olympic White, Ice Blue Metallic, Candy Apple Red, Sonic Blue, Inca Silver, Shoreline Gold. All finishes available with Medium Distress (as reviewed) or NOS ageing levels
• CONTACT Coda Music 01438 350815 on coda-music.com, fanoguitars.com