This luxurious solidbody is wildly versatile and playable.
Risk makes the blood flow. Maybe that’s why, after Knaggs’ new Severn Trembuck Tier 3 came off the FedEx truck perfectly tuned and ringing beautifully, I took it straight into the studio to cut the final track on an in-the-works album—before I’d ever plugged it in.
Then again, maybe I did it because quality inspires confidence. Any solidbody guitar that sings unplugged like the Severn Trembuck is bound to sound good through an amp. And considering that Joe Knaggs was once the top designer at Paul Reed Smith, the guitar came with a very positive pedigree.
Tracks Of Their Tiers
The Severn models (named after the river that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay near the company’s location) are part of the company’s Chesapeake line of electric guitars and basses. The pricier Severn Tier 2 offers options including Seth Lover or Lindy Fralin single-coils and humbuckers, coil splitting, and boutique hardware choices. Curly maple tops and diamond inlays are staples.
The Trembuck Tier 3 reviewed here doesn’t offer those options. But even though it costs about $1,400 less than the Tier 2, it’s far from a Plain Jane. It’s packed with craft-built charm and the quality of a custom shop instrument. The test model came in a rich, high-gloss black with a natural wood finish at the sloping outer contours, a fresh yet classic look.
The fretboard is cocobolo with dots, not diamonds, and the body is alder with a sapele or maple cap. Standard hardware includes Gotoh tuners and Seymour Duncan pickups (a TB4 in the bridge and a SH2 in the neck position.) All Severn models have a 25.5" scale, and a 22-fret neck carved to a comfortably rounded early-’60s ‘C’ shape with an 8.5" radius, a 1 5/8" GraphTech nut, and comfy jumbo frets. The deep-cut horns of the neo-S-style body and contoured heel make every inch of the instrument available. The electronics are simple: volume and tone speed dials with a three-way blade selector switch. The tone dial pulls up for single-coil mode.
Knaggs’ four-spring proprietary whammy works via a hinge system (rather than a blade, block, or cam approach). This design keeps the Severn Tier 3 in tune after radical, Hendrix-style dive bombs and feels a lot like an old-school Stratocaster whammy.
Trials of the Trembuck
In the studio I was tasked with conjuring a vintage Clapton tone for an overdub supporting a raging (and very long) Hammond B-3 solo. I plugged the Trembuck into a ’72 50-watt Marshall plexi with the bass on two and mids and treble on 10, and then flipped the pickup selector to the neck humbucker with the tone pot rolled back to two. The single Eminence 50-watt Private Jack speaker began speaking “Cream” instantly. After the track was cut, I eased back on the amp’s treble, bumped the bass, and flipped the pickups into single-coil mode. The result: screaming distorted tones, sustain, and a beautiful wealth of overtones, especially in the middle and neck positions. In fact, just about anywhere I set the amp and guitar, something beautiful happened.
The single-coil mode also yielded some of the best tones I’ve ever heard from my ’66 Blackface Twin. Living in Nashville, I get an earful of twang. And in the single-coil bridge position the guitar yielded perfect, high-gloss modern country bite: full of snap, but with a big-bellied character. Using the same amp settings (volume, bass, and treble at six, reverb at two) the belly rumbled even more warmly in the mid and neck positions.
With such cleanly defined classic tones at my disposal, the urge to plug in a Big Muff was irresistible. The Knaggs produced more than enough clarity to punch through the basically muddy Muff, plus enough sustain to keep a note singing for a week. I got more of the same in humbucking mode, with even richer lows and mids.
Something magical happens when you roll the Trembuck’s humbucker volume back to seven and the tone back to four. Soft-edged, warm tones suitable for mellow jazz pour from the Knaggs. As I increased the Twin’s volume, the tones remained essentially the same, but louder. This is a guitar that will stay clean while very loud if you set it up right.
Swatting the Curveballs
Since we don’t all play through hand-wired amps that cost as much as a car, I pulled out a Roland Cube 30X set to JC mode. That amp and setting can be less than forgiving with guitars lacking nice natural tone, but the Trembuck sounded great. As I varied my picking intensity and traveled the neck, the guitar’s dynamic response remained remarkably spot-on.
My Supro Lightning Bolt’s fantastic natural break-up makes a great platform for de-tuned blues, so I turned to a nice, saggy open D and whipped out a slide. The Trembuck put me right in touch with my inner R.L. Burnside, delivering fat chord sounds and sustaining fingerpicked notes. Back in standard turning and single-coil mode, it was easy to dial up Jimmy Page’s “Dazed and Confused” tone. The guitar is equally happy in metal settings—pairing it with a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and 50-watt Eminence speaker produced a viciously abrasive chug.
The Knaggs’ Severn Trembuck Tier 3 is an outstanding, highly playable jack-of-all-trades suited to every style from surf to Stonesy blues-rock to mellow jazz to razor-edged metal. That’s a good thing, because while it is Knaggs’ lowest priced Severn electric compares favorably to other guitars in its range, it’s still a sizeable investment for the average working musician or weekend warrior. It might be the only electric guitar a lot of players need, but it might also be the only truly high-end instrument they can afford.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.