JN- Hey Tony. Nice to hear from the 'sou rce again!
MGS - How are things at Reverend these days? Looks like you have a whole new line of guitars out.
JN - Things are going great. We introduced the Set-Neck series in January, and added several new models to the Bolt-On series. Now we have a a total of 22 models, 11 in each series. Something for everybody.
MGS - Did you go to NAMM this year? How did that go?
JN - Yes, we had the best NAMM show and best month (January) in company history. NAMM '07 coincided with the release of the Set-Necks, and our 10th anniversary, so we hit big. We tripled production quantities for 2007, but we are now backordered again. We'll increase quantities again shortly. I don't like to be too far backordered, but it is a positive reflection on the product... demand is high for a reason.
MGS - Tell us about the new guitars out. Alot of them look familiar. What made you decide to go that route?
JN - Well, the influences for the Set-Necks are obvious. We wanted to offer something that has some familiarity. But these are not copies. If you take a close look at the specs. and descriptions, you'll see that every model addresses issues, and is a well thought out, unique design in it's own right. You'll also notice that every model has the Bass Contour control, which takes the versatility to a new level.
MGS - What was the biggest challenge with bringing these new guitars to life?
JN - The long design process. I worked on the drawings for over a year. When you finish a design, you have to back away from it for a while. Even if you think it's great, you need to show it to people you trust, get some opinions, let it stew for a while. If you look at it six weeks later, and you still think it's great, and everyone in the office still thinks it's great, then you probably have a keeper. But more often than not, it goes through several revisions before it reaches that final level of approval.
MGS - Tell us about the pickups in these guitars. I see some interesting combinations in the Buckshot and Gil Parris Signature model.
JN - We're still using the same pickup designs we used in the discontinued USA series. The same humbuckers and P-90's have been in service for about 8 years, and have stood the test of time. The Revtron is our take on the late 1950's Filtertron, and we've been using it for about 3 years now. It's interesting, because we use the same pickups in the different models, but people play them and swear they're different pickups. What they're really hearing is the difference in body design and overall construction.
The Buckshot features a tele-style bridge pickup and the aformentioned Revtron in the neck The bridge pickup is the same one we used in the old USA Hitman and Avenger TL models. It's an overwound single-coil, and has the classic upper-mid twang, but with more drive and a thicker tone. The Buckshot is for the tele player who wants more beef. But the cool thing is you can still thin out the tone with the Bass Contour control, if you want a more traditional sound.
The Gil Parris features two humbuckers and a Lace Sensor Burgundy in the middle position. The Lace is a high output, hum-cancelling single-coil, and it matches up really well with the humbuckers. With the 5-way pickup selector and Bass Contour, you can easily move between rock, jazz, and country tones. Gil covers all that in one song!.. he's very happy with the end result. It's now one of our top sellers.
MGS- What made you decide to discontinue the amp line?
JN - We were getting screwed by our main supplier in China. They raised prices but did not raise the quality control procedures. So we ended up doing a lot more work here than we planned on doing. The amps were fine after we were done with them, but we weren't making money. We dropped the amp program, and decided to focus on guitars only.
MGS - I just saw them in a major retailers online shop. This is pretty big for you guys, its got to be exciting.
JN - We are now aggressively pursuing dealers. The dealer list has doubled in the last two months. I hired a full time sales director, Ken Haas. He's main job is signing on dealers. Give him a call if you are an interested dealer, or if you know a shop that would be a good match for Reverend!