gear award

An overachieving overdrive that gets way bigger than its name suggests.

Sweet balanced crunch tones. Dynamic. Sparkling, full, and clean at attenuated guitar volume. High-quality build.

Pretty expensive.

$249

Great Eastern FX Small Speaker Overdrive
greateasternfx.com

5
4.5
4.5
4

Overdrive pedals don’t often set my world alight—even great ones. But I’ve spent a month with the England-built Great Eastern FX Small Speaker Overdrive, and it remains attached to the other end of my coil-y cable. Ostensibly, the Small Speaker is meant to be a variation on the tweed-Fender-Champ-in-a-box theme. However, both the pedal’s name and the Champ associations fail to do justice to how large and alive it sounds and feels tethered to a bigger amp.

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Shredding on a hardtail? This Schecter will show you the light.

Gorgeous, unusual tonewoods. Versatile pickups and switching. Fast, comfortable playability.

A case or gig bag would be nice at this price.

$1,249

Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic Hardtail Black Limba
schecterguitars.com

5
4.5
4.5
4

David Schecter started Schecter Guitar Research in 1976. In the beginning, the company did repairs and sold parts in their Van Nuys, California, shop (much like their contemporaries, Charvel). But Schecter quickly developed a solid reputation among SoCal players and started selling complete guitars in 1979.

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Fat tones from a sweet niche where Les Paul, Gretsch, and Telecaster share the limelight.

Copious, unexpected tones. Cool, useful bass contour control. Very nice build quality. Excellent value.

Heavy.

$1,199

Reverend Flatroc Bigsby
reverendguitars.com

4.5
5
4
4.5

If you only pay casual attention to Reverend guitars, it’s easy to overlook how different their instruments can be. Some of that may be due to the way Reverends look. There are longstanding styling themes and strong family likenesses among models that can make differentiation a challenge for uninitiated guitar spotters. For instance, the Flatroc reviewed here has more or less the same body as the Charger, Buckshot, and Double Agent OG (which has an entirely different body than the more Jazzmaster-like Double Agent W). If you don’t have an experienced Reverend enthusiast at your side, it can all be a bit mind bending.

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