Many Vintage Guitar readers are probably familiar with Reverend guitars, designed and built by Joe Naylor in Michigan (VG, May ’99). Naylor created Naylor Amplifiers, but later left the company to started this new venture. As someone knowledgeable about tone and what players want to hear in a guitar and amp combination, Naylor set out to develop a distinguishing instrument that would be more versatile and offer more than the typical Strat or Les Paul.
The Reverend Slingshot we received for review has an eye-catching appearance with a cool retro vibe. The body on our sample has a flat black finish trimmed with a spiffy silvermist pickguard and a chrome-plated armrest. The first thing we noticed about the guitar was its super light weight. The Slingshot’s body is semi-hollow and has a mahogany center block with a steel sustain bar that runs through it, for added sustain. The top and back are made of a wood-based phenolic material, and sides are molded. With its hollowed-out chambers and solid center block, the body rings loudly and resonates nicely when played acoustically. It’s loud enough for practicing without using an amp.
The neck is made of solid maple with a rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays. It has a 251/2″ scale, 22 jumbo (I mean jumbo) frets, and bolts onto the body. The neck is straight, the frets are level, and the fret ends are smooth. The neck is comfortable and easy to play, and the added fret height (over a typical Strat neck or Les Paul fret) is super for bending and fluid finger vibrato. The neck’s shape is thin from side to side, with a C-shaped profile around the back and a smooth satin finish. It’s much fatter than a typical Strat neck and the frets are gargantuan in comparison. The headstock’s design mimics the shape of the pickguard, and complements it well. There’s no pitch on the headstock, like on a Fender, so two string trees keep the first four strings seated and crossing the nut at proper breaking angles.
The Slingshot’s hardware is plain, simple, and straightforward – no bells and whistles here, just basic, effective equipment. The tuners are six-per-side with enclosed gears that hold the strings firmly in tune. At the other end, a through-body, fixed six-saddle bridge secures the strings, like a Tele, for maximum sustain. The intonation was accurate and the action was set just high enough to give the strings a bit of height to resonate.
The Slingshot is loaded with two white-covered Reverend P-90 pickups with a three-way pickup selector, master volume, and tone controls. Now let’s plug in and take it for a spin.
For a decent cross section of sounds for rhythm and lead with clean and dirty settings, we tested the Slingshot through a trusty late-’60s 100-watt Marshall Super Lead plexi with two 4 X 12 basketweave cabinets, and a ’77 silverface Fender Twin Reverb combo. The Slingshot combines the best tonal characteristics of several popular instruments and creates its own unique personality. It unites the spank and punch of a Tele, the beef and bite of a Les Paul Special, all mixed with the sparkle and airy qualities of a Danelectro. This versatile combination works favorably with clean and distorted amp sounds. Chords cut through and you can distinguish the ringing of each string. Single notes pack plenty of power and punch, too. The Slingshot really cuts through for playing leads.
To sum it up, the Slingshot’s tight, fat tone lends itself well to blues, rock, country, and just about any electric musical style. If you’re investigating the market and looking for a new instrument, check out the Slingshot and any other Reverend model. They look great and sound even better.
Type Of Instrument: Semi-hollowbody electric guitar
Features: Semi-hollow body with phenolic top and back, molded sides; bolt-on maple neck with 22 jumbo frets and 25-1/2″ scale; two Reverend P-90 pickups with 3-way selector, master volume and tone controls; fixed bridge; 6-per-side enclosed tuners
Price: $879 w/Reverend gig bag
Contact: Reverend Musical Instruments, 23109 Gratiot Avenue, Room #2, Eastpointe, MI 48021, ph. (810) 775-1025, www.reverendmusical.com.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’99 issue.