Musicians are very particular–and very passionate–about their gear. Fans’ level of interest in the gear of their idols often to the level of obsession. Reverend Guitars recently came out with a Reeves Gabrels signature model. I imagine it must be a rush to have a production model guitar with your name on it that wasn’t put there with a sharpie.
Al: A privilege has been bestowed upon you that all guitar players dream of: You have your own model guitar.
Reeves: Two years ago, Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants tradeshow) moved back to Nashville. I was coming out of my Lyme disease hiding period. I walked away with three guitars that different manufacturers sent me. Peavey sent me one of their custom shop guitars that costs like, $3,000. I won’t mention the name of the other one but it’s a really nice guy and a nice company, and it was this $4,000 handmade guitar. And Reverend sent me one.
Al: I hate you.
Reeves: Over the coming week, the guitar that I kept going back to was the Reverend, which is a Korean-made, $600 guitar.
Al: There’s a lot of vitriol on Internet guitar forums for manufacturers who outsource overseas. I’m glad you’re not on that bandwagon.
Al: Most of the classics and collectibles were made in America. Unlike cars, electronics, and toilets with heated seats, the best guitars are domestic guitars–that’s the way it has always been, so how did a guitar from the land of kimchee and Hyundai win you over?
Reeves: There’s a couple factories in Korea that have been making the budget guitars for… I think Paul Reed Smith and Hamer, but definitely Schecter, Ibanez, ESP, and Parker. It’s just one factory making what these companies ask for. Guitars have been coming out of Korea for a long time and on a grand scale, so there’s some really good guitar builders there.
Bias would dictate that I would prefer the two American-made guitars over the Korean guitar that cost an eighth of what the other guitars did. But I kept dragging this particular model–called the Double Agent–to gigs. I called them up and told them I liked the guitar and asked if they interested in doing a signature model.
Al: How could they not?
Reeves: They discontinued the Double Agent as a body style, and then it became the shape of my signature model. I made some changes in the switching and the fretboards. The fretboard is bound now, which was actually their suggestion and not something I was into. But I like it.
Al: So what was it like when you first got your hands on the official Reeves model? Were you giddy like a schoolgirl?
Reeves: The video at the NAMM show was the first time I saw the final production. I had gotten some of the prototypes, but never one that had everything done. That day that they gave it to me to play, I played it for a couple of hours at the booth and that night, I dreamt about playing it. That’s a good sign.
There will be more with Reeves, and I’m hoping to get a few questions in with Reverend founder Joe Naylor.