Reverend Spacehawk

  • By Phillip Dodge @tonereport
  • April 18, 2014

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.

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  1. Steve Jeffcoat

    My first Reverend was a Reeves Gabrels I, which I love.  This latest offering from Reverend has me drooling.  Hats off to Joe and Ken for building great guitars!

  2. Keith

    I love Reverend and this guitar looks AMAZING!

  3. Stuart

    I got one in May from the only place in the UK selling them.
    It is a brilliant guitar. Looks great. Plays great. Could not be happier.
    More folk need to know about these boys.

  4. Jim M

    I’ve had my eyes trained on this beast since it was introduced, & couldn’t agree more with Steve J, it’s QUITE droolworthy!  Two weeks ago, I spotted a “blemished” one for $850, so I jumped.  It lives up to (& justly deserves) every bit of the glowing praise it has gotten in reviews, & I couldn’t find a “blemish” to save my life.  I am now one VERY HAPPY (& very tired) camper!  Worth every penny, & then some!

  5. Matthew Azar

    I’ve owned a Spacehawk for almost 2 years now, having ordered it site unseen (which I NEVER do) after reading this Tone Report review. It is a PHENOMENAL guitar. It does everything, offering a zillion tones due to the combination of pickups, TRUE OUT OF PHASE (I rarely leave this, as it provides a tone that goes from woody-hollow to strat-thin-chime, depending on the bass contour EQ setting on the guitar). The middle pickup-switch setting sounds close to a Les Paul, and the Hyper Vintage neck pickup is great for fat blues tones. The bridge pickup is a little more modern sounding, and it shreds without being brash. Again, with ALL Reverend guitars, the Bass Contour is a true game changer - how do all guitars NOT have this type of EQ control. You can instantly adjust your guitar to any amp and pedal, and you can find a hundred guitars-worth of tones with the turn of a knob or a flick of a switch. Everything about the soft-touch Bigsby is TRUE! Only a Jaguar-Jazzmaster has a better tremolo in my opinion for that soft, ambient magic (it won’t really do the Floyd Rose or more extreme Van Halen type dives and sounds, but you do get a full step dive when it’s bottomed out). The semi-hollow body and kill switch mean you get to add feedback and manipulate it at will, which is AWESOME.
    I’m writing this on the off chance someone is digging through the ToneReport vaults and is considering a Spacehawk. DO IT!!! It does EVERYTHING this review says, and it has given me everything I didn’t know was possible in a guitar. Joe Naylor has my IMMENSE gratitude, as does Reeves for this particular design. I bought mine full price new, and would do it again (with ANY Reverend… unbelievable quality and value).

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