You could WIN 100 Sets of S.I.T. Strings for you and your band, plus a Reverend Guitars Descent Baritone in this week's exclusive PG Perks giveaway! Ends August 31, 2023.
The winner will receive the following:
72 sets of Powerwound Electric Guitar strings in your choice of size
18 sets of Baritone Electric Strings
10 sets of Powerwound Bass Strings
MSRP - $1000
Reverend Guitars Descent Baritone in Oceanside Green
Learn More below!
Get ready to throw down with this one – way down. An all-new baritone design with a 26-3/4″ scale neck that’s long enough to deliver thunderous lows, yet short enough to play like a normal guitar. The best of both worlds! Strategically positioned Railhammer Humcutter pickups keep the tone tight, and our custom SIT 12-68 gauge string set (available separately) features a plain 3rd for easy bending. Feeling the itch for that baritone growl, but don’t want to feel like you’re playing a bass? Then the Descent W is your ticket.
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.
Reverend Flatroc Bigsby
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.
Dig deeper though, and the Reverend world yields many surprises. And few Reverends typify the company’s we-go-our-own-way sound and aesthetic quite like the newly resurrected, Korea-built Flatroc with Retroblast humbuckers and a Bigsby. There are many reasons to assume that the Flatroc is an homage to Gretsch. The Bigsby and pickups (at least outwardly) hint at that styling direction. But the Flatroc sounds and feels, at many turns, more like a Les Paul. And the wealth of unique tones made possible by the clean-to-nasty Retroblast pickups and the powerful bass contour control mean the Flatroc covers the sonic range of several guitars. Indeed, this Flatroc is a compelling option if you have the same-old-solidbody blues.
Days of Future Blasts
Reverend’s Retroblast humbuckers, which look like a cross between a Gretsch Filter’Tron and a Rickenbacker Hi-Gain, are the heart of the new Flatroc. Reverend calls the Retroblasts mini humbuckers, and they are certainly that in the sense that they are smaller than PAF-style pickups. But where mini humbuckers of the Gibson variety are colored by an almost single-coil-like snap that could be a Stratocaster on steroids, Retroblasts sound and feel much more muscular, with a pleasantly compressed, big-cat-growl tonality and the capacity for volume-attenuated clean tones that align much more with a PAF.
While the PAF-ness of the Retroblasts is easy to hear, the Reverend bridge pickup is technically a bit hotter at 11k ohms than the average vintage-style PAF, which tends to be closer to the 7-9k ohm range. The Reverend pickup also uses alnico 5 magnets, which tend to be a touch livelier and punchier. The neck Retroblast’s 6.5k ohms is more in line with vintage PAF specs, but still uses the punchier alnico 5 magnet.
Burly Bass to Sweet and Smooth
If the Retroblasts were stuffed in some econo-punk version of the Flatroc without tone or volume controls, they would still be impressive and very colorful pickups. But they are made infinitely more flexible for the bass contour knob, which seems especially well suited for these units. The bass contour is a simple filter control, but it’s super effective. And it’s hard to imagine why more manufacturers don’t embrace some version of it—especially when situated in its easy-access location on the upper bout.
The control has expansive range, and in the bridge position alone you can move from beefy PAF-style tones and approximations of a Fender Wide Range’s big, bright colors, to thick, concise Rickenbacker Hi-Gain chime, Stratocaster zing, and even the charmingly thin tones of ’60s budget electrics.
In the bridge position alone you can move from beefy PAF-style tones and approximations of a Fender Wide Range’s big, bright colors, to thick, concise Rickenbacker Hi-Gain chime, Stratocaster zing, and even the charmingly thin output tones of ’60s budget electrics.
The bass contour isn’t just a powerful guitar tone shaping tool. It can also totally recast the personality of your overdrive, distortion, and fuzz boxes in ways simple volume and tone controls do not. Using just the neck pickup and the bass contour control, the output from a Supro amp-inspired overdrive readily moved between molasses-thick and mammoth-coat wooly to bright and hyper-articulate without any adjustment from the guitar volume or tone knobs.
Tone options are so copious in the Flatroc that it can be hard to find a perfectly balanced relationships between volume, tone, and bass contour knobs at first. But practice makes perfect, and ultimately the control setup is intuitive, fun, and almost painterly in its capacity to subtly shift tone shades over the course of an extended solo or in between song sections.
The Flatroc shares at least one other attribute with a Les Paul: Between the korina body and Bigsby hardware, it’s heavy—only a pound or so less than a Les Paul—so it’s worth investing the time in a few sessions with the guitar to make sure it isn’t a couple pounds too weighty. With mass, though, comes a sense that this an exceptionally solid and well-built guitar. It’s highly tuning-stable—especially for a Bigsby-quipped instrument—thanks to the top-notch setup and Reverend Pin-Lock locking tuners. The build quality verges on perfect, too. The transparent white-over-korina finish reveals just a hint of grain in the fashion of a late-’50s ash Telecaster—a classy and subtly luxurious look. And everything from the fretwork to the neck joint lend the feeling of an operation where cutting corners is an absolute no-no.
Even if you think you’ve got Reverend guitars figured out, you should not underestimate how unique the Flatroc Bigsby sounds and feels. The impressive pickups and controls fill unique tone niches that lurk between Gretsch, Les Paul, and Rickenbacker sounds—putting everything from low-octane indie jangle to corpulent, smoky sounds of doom at your fingertips. Creating and re-shaping tones feels effortless, inspiring, and exciting. It’s one of the most tuning-stable Bigsby-equipped guitars I’ve ever played. Factor in the extra-expressive potential of the vibrato, plus the guitar’s intrinsic, inviting balance, and it adds up to a reliable, stable, performance-centric instrument that can soar in live situations and reward meandering creative spirits in pursuit of new songs and sounds.
The Philly punkers balance tranquil with treacherous via a P-90-loaded Reverend ripper, a crucial, cascading ZVEX Double Rock, and a rabid, big-bass Rat clone.
About 10 years ago Mannequin Pussy bubbled up from the percolating Philly rock scene. Formed by guitarist/singer Marisa "Missy" Dabice and drummer Athanasios Paul, their primary calling card was a stinging combination of snippy and sizzling ragers.
The lineup was eventually filled out with Drew Adler (drums) and Colins "Bear" Regisford (bass). (Paul moved to lead guitar in 2013 and Kaleen Reading took over for drums in 2015. Ultimately, Paul left earlier this year after recording Perfect.)
Over the course of three albums and a remarkable brand-new EP, the band's sound has expanded, evolved, and deepened with more engaging melodies, gallant songwriting, and stouter song structures. Through time, gigs, and reps, Mannequin Pussy progressed beyond the linear rage often dished by young punks. The brazen, brash, locomotive charm in Marisa's lyrics and the band's expansive sound has become fully complemented by a refined approach with smoother, swelling dynamics and sharper care of their craft.
Touring in support of late 2019's Patience and the pandemic-produced 2021 EP Perfect (both released on Epitpah Records), Mannequin Pussy's Dabice and Regisford invited PG to Nashville's High Watt for a gear chat before their sold-out show during their first-ever headlining run. Just ahead of soundcheck, Missy gushed about her first P-90 guitar, while "Bear" admits that his Player Precision proves he should've always been a P dude. And they each detonate the boom with their own strategic stomp of stank.
(Sadly, shortly after this Rundown was filmed, on October 23, Mannequin Pussy had their van, gear, and band merch stolen from outside their Akron, Ohio hotel room. BrooklynVegan chronicled the disaster with some MP Instagram posts and a link to their GoFundMe page. Thankfully, the van and some merch have been recovered, however, all their equipment is still missing.)[Brought to you by D'Addario XPND Pedalboard: https://www.daddario.com/XPNDRR]
Three P-90s and the Truth!
During the band's last pre-shutdown tour, Missy broke a string on her Strat (more on that one in a minute). She didn't have a backup and the opener let her borrow their Reverend. From the first chord, she was hooked.
"The minute I plugged in this guitar, I looked around and said, 'What the fuck is this thing?!' [laughs] It sounded so good." She started investigating Reverend and quickly decided to treat herself to a brand-new Jetstream 390. While she only had the guitar for about a month when we filmed, she already appreciated how its Rev 9A5 P-90s were much quieter than her Strat single-coils. The band typically plays in standard (they wrote one song in drop A) and the 390 takes Ernie Ball 2215 Nickel Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom strings (.010–.052).
For the first six years of Mannequin Pussy, if you saw Missy, you saw this Strat. Three days before MP's first tour, her house was ransacked including her beloved Jaguar. ("It was the first guitar I spent real money on.")
She rushed down to a local Philly guitar store and scooped this Fender MIM Strat. The last half-dozen years she upgraded all its hardware and pickups, but it was still no match for the Rev Jetstream 390.
While recording 2016's Romantic, Missy plugged into the brother of this head. Loving how it sounded in the room and on tape, she asked the New Jersey homebuilder if he'd do another. The Dark Moon, a sun-yellow head has a circuit based on '70s Traynors. It rocks through a no-name 2x12 cabinet. Besides how good this amp sounds, the best part might be the "on" switch that's labeled "bring it." (The Drkmttr sticker is for a Nashville-based volunteer-run underground arts collective for artists of all kinds.)
Ambiance and Aggression
Mannequin Pussy lives life in the fast lane. Swift, succinct, missile-like songs fill their catalog. On the flip side, there's a balance of beauty and buoyancy that counters the rage. The two personalities are encompassed on Missy's board. The anger comes from the ZVEX Double Rock Vexter and EarthQuaker Devices Hoof. The prettier mood breezes on the backs of the Strymon BigSky and Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Boy. A Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Effects Processor further animates Missy's singing. And a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus juice the stomps while the Ernie Ball VPJR Tuner keeps her guitars in check.
Bear’s Goldilocks Bass
Regisford's lone bass on this run was a Fender Player Precision that's all stock except for an upgraded Badass bridge. He rides with Ernie Ball Power Slinkys (.055–.110) on it. Throughout the set Bear will switch between fingerstyle and hammering with a pick. When he gets rocking, he'll strum with a Dunlop Tortex .88 mm greenie.
Tiny but Mighty
After touring with lunky stacks, Colins was on the lookout for an amp that was portable but still blasted. His search ended when he encountered the Orange Terror Bass that belts out 500 watts and is relative of the favored AD200 Bass head. The diminutive dominator runs through a SWR Big Bertha 2x15 cab (covered by Deebo from Friday.)
Don’t Shred on Me, Bruh!
Bear was upfront and honest when going through his pedalboard explaining that the EQD Bit Commander and Afterneath plus the Boss DD-6 Digital Delay are just-for-fun effects. He will randomly kick them on throughout the set when he's feeling it. The key to his tectonic-shifting tone is the Abominable Electronics Don't Shred on Me that is a Rat clone (using the same LM308 chip) with some capacitor changes making it a low-end blanket of dirt and drive. Everything comes to life thanks to the Walrus Audio Aetos.