Joe Naylor's latest 4-string is a triple-pickup champion of versatility, playability, and lookin’ good.
Clip 1: Tone knob at 100 percent. Riff cycles through switch positions 1-5.
Clip 2: Tone knob at 100 percent. Slap riff with only middle pickup engaged.
A fantastic alternative to typical vintage-style basses. Super funky with great balance and playability.
Minimal J-style tone flavor.
Ease of Use:
Conventional thought would deem the designs of Fender and Gibson to be the standard bearers of guitars and basses. There are, however, builders that buck the norms with adventurous shapes while creating looks that hint at yesteryear. By applying function and form to their Jetsons-esque style, Reverend is among those companies, and their approach is exemplified in the recently released Triad bass.
Fans of Reverend basses will recognize the 34"-scale Triad’s body shape, which arguably takes stylistic influences from 1950s cars and sci-fi movies. Our test instrument’s korina body was sprayed in a funky purple burst and framed with white binding, but the Triad is also available in burnt brick or metallic alpine finishes as well.
The Triad’s 5-piece roasted maple and walnut neck has a satin amber finish that conveys a look and feel similar to older basses. The 6-bolt neck is capped with a fretboard made of pau ferro, which is an underrated fretboard wood, but its warmth and snappy attack make it a great choice for bass guitars. Extra points go to the use of pearloid inlays, which adds some vintage style.
The electronics reveal the source of the Triad’s name. Three proprietary Jazz Bomb pickups are manipulated by a 5-position switch, which rests above the pair of volume and tone knobs. Reverend didn’t skimp on hardware, and secondary features include Hipshot Ultralite tuners, a Boneite synthetic-bone nut, a Pure Tone jack, and a lock-down bridge.
It’s one thing to pull a bass out of its case that doesn’t feel like a boat anchor, but it’s even better to play a bass that balances exceptionally well. Our test instrument weighed in at about 8 1/2 pounds and held its position whether placed on the thigh or strapped around the shoulder. Kudos to Reverend for designing a shape that offers more than just cool looks.
Thanks to its well-balanced nature, I was able to explore the Triad’s fretboard with ease. The prominent cutaway of the lower horn provided total access to the upper portions of the neck, without me having to make any adjustments to my left-hand technique. Though I typically prefer a flatter neck shape, the Triad’s medium oval profile felt smooth, fast, and comfortable.
I explored the Triad’s tones through a Bergantino rig, comprised of a B|Amp head and HD112 cabinet. I have a deep affinity for Jazz-style instruments, so the trio of Jazz Bomb pickups had piqued my excitement prior to plugging in. I was a tad disappointed to discover that Reverend’s latest isn’t the Jazz bass on steroids its layout implies. That said, this bass still revealed timbres that were totally badass.
Pushing the pickup selector completely forward, toward the neck, solos the neck pickup, and it gave me a tone rife with lows and midrange. To my ears, it could be described as a Gibson EB-esque sound with a piano-like clang. Dialing the tone knob down turned this setting into a dub machine.
Moving the selector one position to the right engages the neck and middle pickup, which produced a tighter tone with pronounced high mids. Players that lean towards P/J pickup configurations may find their sweet spot with the second setting.
The third (center) position solos the middle pickup, and I was treated to growls with gut-punching midrange. I also found this setting to be particularly receptive to the tone knob, which provided just the right amount of finger attack or wooly warmth when desired. “Entwistle mode” would be a fitting descriptor.
If you’re a G&L fan, the fourth position’s tone has qualities reminiscent of the company’s popular L-series basses. Pointed mids, tight lows, and a slight growl were prevalent with each pull of the strings. I preferred cutting the tone knob, which mellowed the edginess and added a slight low-mid bump—excellent for pumping, 16th-note lines. The closest the Triad came to a “J-style sound” was through the selector’s far-right position, which solos the bridge pickup and provides barks abundant enough to make Jaco disciples happy.
I had the opportunity to take the Triad to a blues jam, where its sonic characteristics made a positive impression. Each note projected cleanly, with warm, authoritative tones that sat nicely in the mix. Notably, the output was impressively consistent at every position, with no pesky hum. Whether it was a ballad, shuffle, or funky groove that night, the Triad’s array of tonal options provided the ideal timbres.
Reverend’s latest bass is a fun instrument. Its comfortable design offers excellent playability and great balance, ideal for marathon performances. Thanks to all its versatile voices, the Triad can be used for many musical styles, making it a choice go-to bass for both stage and session work. It also just looks freaking cool. If you’re hunting for a bass that can deliver vintage tones with unconventional style, the Reverend Triad shows that good things do come in threes.
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