Reverend Musical Instruments founder Joe Naylor’s head is always cranking out cool ideas. A Roberto-Venn graduate who in 1996 sold his amplifier company so he could start building guitars, Naylor recently went back to the future with the introduction of his Hellhound 40/60 amplifier.
Designed by Dennis Kager (of Ampeg fame), Reverend says the Hellhound delivers high-end “boutique amp” performance at a working man’s price. Available as a 1×12 combo or head with 4×10 cab, the Hellhound is an all-tube amp that uses a pair of matched 6L6s power tubes and three 12AX7s in the preamp with the option of swapping one for a 12AT7.
Controls include gain, volume, treble, mid, bass, presence, reverb, power switch (there is no “standby” mode) and what Reverend calls a “Schizo” switch, which lets you choose between U.S. and U.K. voicings.
The back panel includes three speaker output jacks – one each for four, eight, and 16 ohms, as well as a pair of jacks for an effects loop, and a switch that selects outputs of 40 or 60 watts.
The open-back speaker cab features four Reverend All Tone 30-watt 10″ speakers with high-temperature voice coils in a series/parallel wiring configuration (eight ohms).
Both head and cabinet are covered with a very cool “tooled leather” black tolex that contrasts nicely with their light gray salt-and-pepper grillecloth.
Our test axes included a ’68 Gibson SG Standard, an ’83 Strings-N-Things Blues Master II (Tele copy), and a ’98 Reverend Avenger.
Included with the amp were some sample settings that offer a great starting point. The first setting we tried was the “Blackface Chime” which utilized the Schizo switch in the U.S. position and all three 12AX7s in the preamp. This configuration delivered quite authentic tone, with tons of low-end and clean, sparkly top-end. Though the low-end “farted out” just a bit at higher volumes with the SG and Blues Master (vintage blackface amps share this tendency), it stayed nice and punchy with the Reverend Avenger.
Next we tried the “Nasty Old Supro” setting, which used the U.K. position on the Schizo switch and a single 12AT7 and two 12AX7s in the preamp. The U.K. position boosted the gain, added some mids, and cut tones at the very top-end. With the SG it produced a great overdrive roar with lots of attitude and not a ton of gain – but enough for blues-rock work.
The rest of the settings all sounded good, and most (if not all) sounded better with the power switch in the 60-watt mode and the 12AT7 in the preamp (in U.K. mode, especially).
If there’s a nit to pick it’s the short reverb pan. Though it sounds clean and bright, a full-size pan would warm it up measurably.
Like all Reverend products, the Hellhound offers a whole lotta bark for the buck, has loads of cool vibe, solid tone, and as promised, is priced well within reach of most working musicians.
Reverend Hellhound 40/60
Features: Switchable output wattage; master volume; chassis-mounted/hand-wired ceramic tube sockets, jacks, and switches; Electro-Harmonix tubes; controls for gain, volume, treble, middle, bass, presence, reverb; effects loop; Reverend All Tone Speakers; selectable-ohm speaker outputs; dual-bobbin transformers; black custom-tooled vinyl, peppered grillecloth.
Price: $899 (1×12 combo); $799 (head only); $699 (cabinet).
Contact: Reverend Musical Instruments, 27300 Gloede, Unit D, Warren, MI 48088, phone (810) 775-1025, reverendmusical.com.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.