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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Modern meets Vintage in this Reverend Hot Rod


Reverend guitars teamed up with Tin Machine / David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels to build Reeves his ultimate guitar.

Reeves is a very forward thinking guitarist and this guitar that bears his name follows that mindset. Unique is a word you simply can not use these days with new guitars. 99 percent of what is out there is only a take on a guitar from the past. This is a brand new rocketship that does not rely on the designs of yesterday. Reeves and Reverend have designed a modern gigging guitar that deserves a lot of props. This is a unique axe kids.

Initial impressions....

Right out of the box it was a thrill at first glance. You know that WOW moment ? The highly flamed maple top gets you right away. Binding on the body and neck give it a very high end look. The body shape really is its own thing. While the control plate borrow from a tele it seems this guitar is in a class of its own design wise. It almost felt like an adventure was getting ready to take place because this is not a standard guitar. Hmmm What is this knob? Ok that's different. There are some very unique features here. Lets take a closer look!

This tremolo rocks ......

Growing up in the 80s my first guitar had a Floyd Rose tremolo. I thought every kid had to learn to change strings and set up a Floyd like I did. I grew to love a locking tremolo system but as I grew older I grew tired of the maintenance involved and the string breakage issues. The idea of this Reeves model having a floating Wilkinson trem intrigued me right away. My first thought was that there is no way this will stay in tune not being a locking trem. I can tell you after weeks of testing abuse , full dive bombs , step and a half < that is 3 frets kids > pulls UP in pitch that this tremolo DOES stay in tune. It even does the Brad Gillis style chirps when smacking the bar. Very impressive. Frankly I am floored with it. This bridge is the perfect choice for Reeves bombastic playing and with zero locking tremolo issues.

There is a body route under the bridge to allow the minor third pull up. Everything about this guitar is high performance and set up for the serious lead player.

Another amazing fact about this bridge is that it sits perfectly level but is full floating. Which means even though it is capable of diving down and pulls up you can rest your hand on it without any pitch issues. You can play it just like a regular strat trem until you decide to use the tremolo. Simply unreal and something I have never seen on any other guitar. Major Kudos Joe.

Modern features.....

In the middle of one of my dive bombs I flipped the guitar over. Whats this? Ahhhhh Reverend pin locking tuners ! These tuners work very well and do a great job of keeping things in tune and makes string changes a breeze. So far I am thinking every single detail of this guitar is hot rodded.

These sturdy locking tuners, the high quality Wilkinson bridge and killer factory set up make whammy abuse up and down in pitch possible and free of all of the pitfalls of a locking system. This has been on my wish list for a long time. Tremolo mayhem can be had without hunting for that metric allen wrench I can never find. 

Not your standard nut .....

Upon inspection of the nut Reverend is using graphite, another huge plus for whammy freaks and part of why it stays in tune so well. They say it is all in the details and this guitar is full of surprises.  

Pickups ......

A good part of the 90s I spent as a strat player. The strat neck pickup has always been a favorite of mine for smooth singing leads. The Dimarzio Fast track neck single coil is amazing. I can get that smooth strat sing with this guitar ! The Dimarzio has ZERO 60 cycle noise and has a lead cutting mid bump that makes this the perfect neck pickup for this guitar.

The Reverend Hot PAF humbucker has a nice grind with clarity and also sounds great blended in the middle position along with the neck pickup. The 2 pickups are balanced very well and work seamlessly together. Killer tone.

Bass how low can you go .....

A couple of years ago I had a Les Paul that no matter what I did had too much low end and always flubbed any amp I played I just could not dial it out. I would try another guitar and instantly hear how bad that guitar sounded just too much bass. So I finally sold it. Joe Naylor has found the perfect solution to this and it is the knob on the top of the body.

Reverends Bass Contour can roll off or add in as much bass as you need. Very simple to dial in and can make all the difference in the world playing through different amps to get a balanced tone. Pure genius.

Switches and knobs ....

The control layout will be instantly comfortable to a tele player with the 3 way toggle switch and vol and tone controls. The 3 way toggle can be rotated so a Les Paul player can be more comfortable with the up and down pickup changes. Another detail that is overlooked that can make the difference in a player feeling awkard and feeling right at home switching pickups. Nice to have that option. 

Just a phase.....or is it ?

The tone knob doubles as a push pull phase/out of phase switch. This allows the guitar to get that Brian May / Peter Green out of phase tone. Between this and the Bass Contour you can cop strat, Les Paul, 335, and many more classic tones. 

There are many different ways to vary the tone on this axe that you just never see from other guitar companies.

Modern feel and vintage look......

The neck with its 25.5 inch scale and 12 in radius fit very comfortably in your hand. The medium oval shape to the neck is a great balance of meat and speed without even hinting at baseball bat or shred thin. The satin finish on the back of the neck is a smooth fast ride. Just a great feeling neck. The neck binding is a cool vintage looking touch. 

This guitar is a treat to play. Everything feels well balanced , smooth and just a well thought out and comfortable design. Nice medium weight to the guitar and the jumbo frets make bending a breeze. Right away this guitar feels like you are in control of a sonic Cadillac loaded with the high roller package. Pinky ring included. Humor aside I feel this is the most versatile instrument I have had the pleasure of playing in my 24 years of playing.

Not all bodies are the same .....

The solid Korina body with its highly flamed top is a treat for the eyes. This guitar seems to be made for modern guitarists that like vintage features but like modern feel and comfort. The tones you can get out of this Korina bodied guitar are almost endless. Single Coil, humbucker, out of phase, thin and funky , bass heavy Doom .....its all there.

Check out Reeves himself demoing one for Wildwood Guitars who sells this exclusive color....

All in all......

It does not matter if you are into signature guitars or not this is a wildly versatile guitar that has all the features I personally love in a guitar and several features I had not thought of. Joe Naylor and crew have some amazing guitars in their line up and this model blew us away. My other guitars are looking very nervous.

Check one out at your local Reverend dealer.

Thanks to Video and pics

flame maple top, solid korina body. Black back and sides with cream binding.. 16-1/2" x 13" x 1-3/4"
one Reverend humbucker (bridge), one Dimarzio Fast Track 1(neck).
bolt-on, maple, amber tinted satin finish.
dual-action, access at headstock.
rosewood, 12" radius.
22 medium jumbo.
medium oval.
1-21/32" (42 mm) width, graphite.
Reverend Pin-Lock Tuners.
Wilkinson WVS 50IIK fulcrum tremolo.
custom volume, tone (w/ push-pull phase switch), Bass Contour, 3-way toggle.