Will my first experience with a Reverend guitar leave me wanting more?
Check out my “60 Second Guitar Review” for Ultimate-Guitar.com!
Overview & Final Score: 9.1
I have waited forever for a Reverend guitar to make its way to me and it turns out it was well worth the wait. Their signature model for Rick Vito, the Soulshaker was just released in a new finish, Chronic Blue, that I have the honor of showing off. What you have here is a singlecut guitar with a Korina body and neck that provides a light, comfortable feel. The body of the Reverend Soulshaker boasts two proprietary humbuckers with the custom pickup covers as well as a Bigsby and rolling bridge pairing. Master volume and tone are located next to a 3-way switch that is in such a better position than the standard location. The body also features crazy nice checkerboard binding around the chambered Korina construction.
Moving to the neck side of things you’ll find an Ebony fingerboard with a 12″ radius. Reverend’s pin-lock tuners provide superb tuning control across the 22 medium-jumbo frets. This Reverend Soulshaker is a a 24.75″ scale length guitar with a medium oval neck shape that sits nicely in your hands.
These proprietary pickups can sing! I’m so impressed with the clean tones from this Rick Vito signature, it goes from bluesy to jazzy and I could get super atmospheric with it once I layered delay and reverb and chorus on top. This Soulshaker can just really sing, with crystal clear note definition and wonderfully balanced pickups. I’m always surprised how few singlecut guitars actually come with well balanced volume between the neck and bridge, but Reverend nailed it here for sure.
While this guitar doesn’t feel designed for super high gain playing, the distortion tones were very pleasant and fun. For classic punk and alt-rock tones that I love, I had no trouble using this where I may use a Les Paul. In fact, many of the tones were superior to the Les Pauls I recently reviewed. As you crank up the gain it doesn’t keep up quite enough to be someone’s metal guitar, but neither me, Rick Vito, or anyone buying this are probably looking for it to do that. Reverend and Vito absolutely nailed the classic rock and pop tones from these humbuckers, as they feel like they are missing the frequencies I always roll off of a LP. But for someone who played in Fleetwood Mac, I would hope the guitar could get those sounds!
I was really blown away by how comfortable this guitar was to play. The neck sits so nicely in your hand with the medium oval shape that feels a little slimmer to me than I expected. It never gets too chunky or slow, with a well built, smooth feel up and down the fretboard. The fret work was also all great, as it should be at this price point. This Soulshaker perfectly encapsulates how far overseas guitar production has come, it feels far superior to some USA-made instruments I’ve reviewed this year. The tuning stability was also great, with the roller bridge and locking tuners letting you really work the bigsby arm with ease. It stays in tune and has a super soft touch, letting you add vibrato or really swell into dives without worrying about tuning. Overall, it’s ultra playable in my book.
Finish & Construction: 9.5
Probably the best part of this whole Soulshaker is the feel, look, and build quality. As I said, it sets a high bar for overseas made guitars and would easily cost double the price for the same quality to be made in the US. The new Chronic Blue finish is light and fun, while the checkerboard binding got many comments across all the clips and pics I posted of it. There really isn’t any flaw I can point out, with solid finish work and great setup on the neck. While this is the higher end of Reverend’s price points, it seems they have build quality and quality control down super well. I have no reservations about taking this into the studio or onto the stage, especially with such well balanced pickups and reliable tuning stability.
At first I was tempted to think this was overpriced for an import guitar, but then I realized that this feels better, plays better, and sounds better than the other $1500 singlecut I just reviewed. Not naming names of course but you know who. It has more features, better tuning stability, and really sensitive pickups. This even comes with a stylish, white hard case to the other options nicely padded gig bag. I’m very impressed and if I had this for my previous LP roundup, we definitely would have had a different winner. This Rick Vito Soulshaker is fun, ultra functional, and just a little bit quirky. I’d say it’s worth almost every penny all things considered.
Good for: Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Low Gain Players, Singlecut Fans & Players