Equipped with a trio of P-90 singlecoils, this Reverend Slingshot sports metal plates fi nished in a radical “bug-eye” pattern. All the metal surrounding the pickups and controls reduces typical single-coil hum by about half.
About a dozen years ago, I was walking around at the summer NAMM show in Nashville when I spotted this guitar at the Reverend booth. It just seemed to jump out at me. At the time I was also going through what I call my “P-90 period,” where any P-90-equipped guitar was on my radar screen. I talked to the owner of Reverend, Joe Naylor, and he explained that he had been experimenting with some industrial metal finishes when he created this series. I ended up buying this one, as well as another metal-finished guitar sporting a different design. Joe was a Hellecasters fan and sold them to me wholesale, and I had him ship them to me after the show. The guitars were roughly $600 each, not exactly Bottom Feeder prices, but I have a hunch they will one day be collectable guitars. So it’s an investment, right? (Yeah, right. Whatever you say, Will.)
Though its entire back is also covered with sheet metal, the guitar is actually quite light.
When they arrived I was excited about the look of both guitars, especially this one with its cool “bug-eye” pattern on the metal. A lot of players will tell you that guitars need to be all wood to sound good. Those people would be wrong. I have played many all-metal guitars that sounded every bit as good as their wooden counterparts. Just pick up one of James Trussart’s metal-body guitars and you’ll see what I mean.
What I especially found interesting about this guitar was the shielding characteristics of the metal top and back. As you may already know, P-90s are singlecoil pickups and are subject to the same annoying hum and noise associated with other single-coils. But this guitar only has about half of the usual noise, and I attribute this to all the metal surrounding the pickups and controls. The bug-eye metal sheeting covers not only the front of the guitar, but also its back. You’d think the guitar would be heavy with all that metal, but it’s not. It weighs just 6 pounds and is very resonate and lively. I also like the flat 15"-radius fretboard and the jumbo frets—perfect for a lot of string bending and low-action slide playing. The middle pickup is reverse wound for further hum canceling, but I find it to be mostly unnecessary due to the guitar’s already quiet nature. It has a very warm P-90 sound, but also has some Telecaster bite when you need it.
For me though, the most appealing feature is the design itself. The body, pickguard, and even headstock are all tied together by the well-placed angles and visual lines. The bug-eye pattern provides the perfect contrast to the pickguard. The guitar deserves to be in the Museum of Modern Art, but it also begs to be played.
Bottom Feeder Tip #667: Listen to your intuition when it tells you something. According to my wife Gayle, mine seems to say “buy this guitar” a lot. At any rate, I’ve learned to appreciate my intuition more and more over the years. Of course, soon I’ll need to lease a warehouse to store all those “appreciations.”
Will Ray is a founding member of the Hellecasters guitar-twang trio. He also does guitar clinics promoting his namesake G&L signature model 6-string, and produces artists and bands at his studio in Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.