The electronics incorporate some tricks that weren’t typically employed on vintage instruments. The two Reverend dog-ear P-90-style single-coils are reverse-wound to cancel hum when used together, and each pickup is sonically calibrated for its respective position. In addition to standard Volume and Tone knobs, the PA also includes a Bass Contour knob—a passive low-frequency roll-off control common to all Reverend guitars.

Contemporary players will also appreciate how the neck joins the body at the 15th fret for improved access to upper regions of the 22-fret rosewood fretboard. A moderate 12" radius and medium-jumbo frets promote clean bends and comfortable chording.

Plugging In
The guitar arrived set up with extremely low action, yet it exhibited no string buzz through the amps I plugged it into (all guitars will buzz acoustically with the action this low), nor did it fret out at any point on the neck. I prefer my action a tad higher, so I simply applied a screwdriver to the task of raising the bridge a bit. Both acoustically and amplified, the guitar exhibited more sustain than a typical hollowbody, but a little less than your average solidbody. The Reverend arrived perfectly intonated and it stayed in tune despite my severe Bigsby manhandling.

I played the PA through an Egnater Rebel-30 and an Orange Tiny Terror, in addition to running it directly into Ableton Live with Line 6 POD Farm plug-ins. Through the Egnater’s clean channel, the neck pickup produced warm jazz tones à la early Jim Hall with his Gibson ES-175. The PA’s tone knob was voiced nicely for this classic sound. Using the Bass Contour knob to roll off the lows, I was able to coax a striking Strat-like blues character from the neck pickup.

Switching to the bridge pickup produced plenty of Tele-style twang. At lower volumes, I found it unnecessary to roll off any lows with the Bass Contour. At increased—but stil clean—levels, I rolled off just a bit of bass to maintain good bite. Applying full bass rolloff to the bridge pickup produced a slightly scooped midrange that didn’t float my boat on clean settings, but it gave me a great throaty tone with snap and articulation when I dialed in higher gain on the Egnater’s lead channel or with the drive cranked on the Tiny Terror.

When I switched on both pickups, the PA offered chiming tones with or without the bass rolled off. The dual-pickup setting blissfully cancelled the standard 60-cycle P-90 hum as well.

Though the PA excelled at traditional jazz, blues, country, and rockabilly riffs, it was no slouch at soaring ES-335-style fusion and all-out distorted rock. The guitar even revealed its charms through amp-modeling software, a quality I’ve usually only found in more expensive instruments.

Playing through the amps in clean mode, I was able to sit facing the speaker with no feedback issues, despite relatively high volumes. Even with a fair amount of distortion, the feedback remained controllable, though if you want to avoid run-away feedback onstage, you’d better turn down the guitar volume before taking your hands off the strings to clap along with the crowd. Of course, fans of semi-hollow and hollowbody guitars know that controllable feedback can be one of their most gratifying pleasures. And that was certainly true of the PA—I really enjoyed adding Bigsby vibrato to its feedback- sustained notes.

The Final Mojo
The PA is a well-crafted and finely tuned machine. Its combination of spruce and maple keeps potentially muddy P-90s clear and focused at all volume levels, making the guitar suitable for a wide range of musical styles. Its hollow body produces the woodiness associated with this type of instrument, while the Uni-Brace really mitigates the howl often associated with cranked archtop guitars. That’s why the Reverend Pete Anderson is a no-brainer for roots players—but rockers who aren’t dedicated Floyd-wigglers might want to give it a shot, too.
Buy if...
you need a cool-looking, fantastically versatile hollowbody.
Skip if...
locking tremolos and metal are your thing.

Street $1199 - Reverend Guitars -