New from Reverend is the 24 3/4 scale, set-neck, semi-hollow Spacehawk. This is Reeves Gabrels' second signature model for Reverend and it was designed to meet the needs of his new role in the Cure. Designed to be similar in size and design to a 335, Reeves wanted the look to be reminiscent of an old Burns. The result is a guitar that combines vintage looks with modern features and its own unique look.
Available in Pewter or Metallic Red, the Spacehawk looks great. The red sparkle on my test model was simultaneously flashy and classy. The fit and finish is near flawless, the intonation was perfect, and the frets are smooth and well-dressed.
Built from top-routed Korina with a solid maple top, the Spacehawk is pleasantly light for a guitar of these dimensions. The forearm contour and the light weight combine to make a guitar that is comfortable to wear all night long. And thanks to the versatility of Reverend's bass contour control (more on this later) and the push-pull phase switch, the Spacehawk can cover a lot of ground sonically. It has excellent volume and sustain when strummed unplugged. Plugged in, the Spacehawk really comes to life. I played it through a Vox AC15HW loaded with an Eminence Red Fang and a Fender '68 Custom Princeton Reverb and was shocked at how many tones I could pull from one guitar.
With the Railhammer Chisel pickup in the bridge position and the Hyper Vintage in the neck, you get a classic neck pickup tone with slightly higher output in the bridge. The Railhammers are a cool design in and of themselves. With rails under the wound strings and large pole pieces under the plain strings you get the best of both worlds. The rails allow for extra clarity for your E, A, and D strings and the larger poles sense a larger area of string movement, thickening your G, B, and high E strings.
The push-pull pot on the tone control puts the bridge pickup out of phase making for an open, scooped tone when the pickups are combined. I found it to be a great sound for clean rhythm parts and very “straty” when rolling back the bass contour. About the bass contour control, it comes standard on all Reverends and allows you to remove some bass the way a standard tone control removes treble. It has the effect of making humbuckers and P90s sound a little more like
single coils. Quite frankly, it works better than traditional coil-tapping for my needs. If you’re the type that uses your volume knob to clean up your amp or a fuzz pedal, the bass contour control might just blow your mind.
The Spacehawk sounded great in every application I tried. But let’s be honest, I spent the first two hours or so just playing Cure songs… At band practice, it sounded great for clean rhythm parts, dirty riffs, and fuzzy leads. Using both pickups with the bridge out of phase, and rolling off the bass contour, I was able to do a convincing job on parts I usually play with a Tele.
With the sealed body, the Spacehawk excels at controlled feedback. Simply adjusting where you place it in regards to your amp, you can easily coax it into feedback and then fade it out. Always predictable. Never uncontrollable.
My favorite feature of the Spacehawk is probably the "soft touch" Bigsby. Reeves and Reverend experimented with various springs until they found one that made the Bigsby move more smoothly and with less force. With the soft touch, you can easily pull up a whole step without the spring falling out and it allows for the already expressive Bigsby to be even more expressive. With the graphite nut and locking tuners, the Spacehawk stays in tune even with heavy use of the Bigsby - a real feat of engineering.
Another fun feature is the added distance between the Bigsby and bridge. This allows for Jazzmaster/Jaguar style behind the bridge playing. Hitting some notes back there, I found myself instinctively playing the opening of From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea. This also allows for faux pedal steel bends of just one string by pressing down.
What We Like: Everything. From build, to tone, to comfort, the Spacehawk is nearly perfect in every way.
Concerns: None. The looks might be a bit flashy for more conservative players, but I personally love it.
Build Quality: The build quality on the Spacehawk (and every Reverend I’ve encountered) is simply top notch.
Value: The value proposition of the Spacehawk is out of this world. The quality and sheer range of tones available from one guitar at this price is a testament to the operation that Joe Naylor and the rest of the Reverend crew have built.