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Guitar One Magazine Review Reverend Club King HB

Published: Tue August 15, 2006  News Feed


Club King HB Tobacco Burst

Reverend guitars have been, well, revered by roots-rockers for years, but they've never quite achieved the recognition they deserve as quality instruments at a budget price. The company still offers a line of U.S.-made instruments, but the new Stage King Series is built in Korea at a carefully selected factory. Its flagship model is the Club King. We tested the HB version, equipped with Reverend humbucking pickups (it's also available with P-90s).

LOOKS The Club King's appearance fits snugly in the company's tradition of funky-cool. The full-size semi-hollow body features black-painted basswood back and sides and a solid spruce top bound in cream. Our model was finished in a beautiful tobacco sunburst that highlighted the fine spruce grain— you can also get it in Blue Burst and Wine Red. The back, sides, and center block are produced from one slab of wood that's routed from above, then capped with the top. The bolt-on maple neck sports a classy amber satin finish. The test model came with an ABM trem assembly that looks like a mad inventor's machine-shop experiment, yet still manages to add to the cool vibe.

FEEL The neck proffers the Reverend carve that a select crew of musicians have come to love: a 25-1/2" scale, medium profile with rolled edges, and a 12" radius fingerboard with jumbo frets. The perfectly finished frets allowed easy sliding and bending without choking out—even with the super-fast low action—while the satin finish showed no signs of stickiness. The trem works amazingly well, in more Bigsby than Fender fashion; no dive-bombing, but smooth rocking—and great intonation. You can slide the bar through its holder to customize its length to your preference.

SOUND Each pickup is wound to suit its position; the bridge pickup is slightly hotter, the neck pickup cleaner. The results are a throaty-sounding rear position that really sings, an articulate front position, and a combined voice that's well-balanced and chime-like. Volume and standard tone knobs are on the control plate, along with a three-way switch. The lone knob by the asymmetrical bout is a bass contour that rolls off exactly the right low-end frequencies to emulate single-coils, without the attendant hum. Though the taper is not exactly gradual, using a pot rather than a switch allows for a wider variety of tones. Through a Reverend Kingsnake (what else?), the Club King excelled at everything from jazz to hard rock. Into the computer through an M-Audio FireWire 1814 and a Native Instruments ACBox Combo plug-in into Ableton Live, it recorded beautifully—warm yet crisp. This could be the guitar that spreads the Reverend gospel to the masses.

IS IT FOR YOU? If the unique Reverend look is to your fancy, the Club King will offer you more guitar for the money than just about anything else around. You might just end up worshipping it.

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