Blues-/roots-rocker Rick Vito knows what he wants from a guitar, and the Reverend Soul Shaker is proof. An art deco-inspired design, it sports Rick’s specs for rockin’ blues, slide, and twang.
The Soul Shaker has a chambered korina body, maple top, and three-piece korina neck with a medium-oval profile and 24.75″ scale. Its ebony fretboard has a 12″ radius, and hardware includes a Bigsby vibrato with a Soft Touch spring for smooth twangin’. Under the hood, Reverend deploys high-end pots and input jacks, a treble-bleed circuit on the Volume knob (to preserve clarity as you decrease volume), and 10 percent poly caps instead of ceramic. Reverend instruments are built in Korea, expertly set up in the U.S., and exhibit the company’s trademark quality.
One cool aspect here is the combination of Reverend HA5 humbuckers with the chambered design and Bigsby. On one hand, you get fat, warm Gibson-like tones; conversely, the chambers and the vibrato’s roller bar deliver an airy tone and slower note attack, perfect for a guy like Vito who plays vintage blues licks and tasty slide. Plugged in, it becomes evident the guitar has a certain mojo that modern-day hardware can’t deliver – a reminder that sometimes over-engineering hardware can take out the old-fashioned goodness. The retro note attack here is easy to discern.
The Soul Shaker has a super-comfortable neck and overall feel, with an upper-fret reach similar to a Les Paul. Its Bigsby produces a gentle wobble and stays in tune remarkably well thanks to the Boneite nut and pin-lock tuners. The guitar’s vintage looks, feel, and tone, along with expert build and high-performance details, are just like a revved-up ’50s hot rod – with strings.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.