What do you get when a relatively small guitar manufacturer decides to make unique looking guitars that play like butter, sound great, and easily rival the big name axes costing much more? A Reverend of course!
Seriously, their quality control (Whose name is Zach Green. That's right, one guy inspects every guitar to make sure they're up to snuff) is amazing, the build quality is frankly unrivaled by anything else in the price range, and they also don't look like all the copycat LPs, strats, and other familiar models. Simply put, they are the best guitars you can get your hands on if you're spending less than a grand, and in some cases you might want to go with the Reverend even if you are willing to spend more, they're just that good.
Today I'm focusing specifically on the Sensei HB in Metallic gold. It looks like a Les Paul and an SG had a baby, and they decided to make it a gold top. With a set-neck design it has the great singing sustain of a Les Paul, but lacks the vertebrae-crushing weight. As always, the electronics are top-notch, and the slightly hotter than average bridge pickup really cranks out the crunch. It’s the perfect axe for someone who wants Les Paul tone and playability, while managing to stand out from the crowd and avoid bankruptcy.
Here in the shop, when someone gets their hands on a Reverend, nine times out of ten the first words out of their mouth are, “This feels great.” The contoured back on the Sensei and perfectly placed waist make is super comfy for playing sitting down, and it’s not heavy enough to make you wonder if someone has replaced your guitar with a cinder block after standing for long periods of time. The neck is very fast without being “skinny”. It’s a pretty standard oval contour, but the precision of the fretwork and the excellent set-up makes for blindingly fast runs.
The pickups were designed by Joe Naylor himself (as are pretty much all the Reverend pups if I remember correctly, don’t quote me on that), and sound fantastic. The neck is clean and clear, while the bridge is bright and hot. When they’re combined you get a great full sound with bite, body, and clarity. The bass contour knob lets you roll off the low frequencies if you find yourself in need of some super bright spank and/or twang. All in all, it’s a lot more versatile than most dual humbucker solid bodies around.
The other components are of equally high quality. Locking tuners adorn the headstock, and the tune-o-matic style bridge and the stop tailpiece are very finely crafted. The only minor bone I have to pick is with the fretboard inlays, there are a couple very small sloppy patched up areas around the border of the inlays. But honestly, I only noticed that when I had my face about 6 inches from the fretboard, so maybe I’m reaching a little.
I can recommend this guitar without any hesitation. It’s extremely well made, it sounds really really good, and looks like nothing else out there. If you’re in the market for a set-neck solid body with two humbuckers, save yourself the many hours it could take to decide on which LP clone (or original for that matter) to purchase, and blaze your own trail, with the Reverend Sensei!