Reverend Turns 20: A Look Back at 14 Essential Models

Reverend is one of the most unique and intriguing guitar brands in the entire musical instrument industry and ranks as an absolute favorite here at Reverb HQ. Its guitars and basses are classic yet fresh, offering always reliable quality and tone across an array of styles and comfortable price points.

With the proudly Michigan–based firm's 20th birthday coming up this year, we invited founder and lead designer Joe Naylor and CEO Ken Haas to the Reverb studio to celebrate. Ken and Joe brought roughly 20 of their instruments from two decades of operation and talked through the specs and origins of some of their favorites.

Take a look at the videos below for the insider perspective on 20 years of Reverend Guitars.

Fittingly, Joe and Ken showed us what they call the OG Reverend guitar — the Reverend Avenger GT AVGT — which was manufactured from 1997 to 2005. This model was the result of an idea that Joe had (and patented) for a highly resonant guitar body, and it catapulted Reverend Guitars into the market.

They also showed us the Avenger AG that Joe created for Ron Asheton before the Stooges reunion tour kicked off.

Joe and Ken moved on from some of their original designs to show us a few guitars they designed specifically with a few artists in mind.

When they found out that Pete Anderson (most known for his work with Dwight Yoakam from the late '80s to the early '00s) was having trouble controlling feedback from the hollowbody guitars he liked to play, they designed the PA–1 HB Custom.

This guitar is a special kind of hollowbody, foregoing the traditional two–piece bracing for one L–shaped brace. Dubbed the "unibrace," this bracing system cuts down feedback common with hollowbodied guitars and adds some sustain, as well.

Joe and Ken then showed us one of the iterations of the Eastsider model that was also created for Pete Anderson, the baritone guitar they call the Descent RA, and the 12–string Airwave that was designed with Chris Funk of the Decemberists.

Though known mostly for its guitars, Reverend is also responsible for an impressive roundup of basses. They showed off the Decision bass, which was positively received by the masses in 2011 and led to a bass collaboration with Meshell Ndegeocello.

The design that Meshell and Joe came up with, the Fellowship Signature, is part of what persuaded indie rock here Mike Watt to partner with the brand for the Wattplower. In fact, over this past Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, we had the honor of sitting down with Mike Watt at the Reverb booth to discuss exactly how the Wattplower came to be.

Ken and Joe moved on to show us the second signature model they designed for one of Ken's idols, Reeves Gabrels (who has played with Tin Machine, the Cure, and David Bowie) when he started playing with the Cure. The guitar is called the Reeves Gabrels Spacehawk and is a blend of Reverend's Manta Ray and Sensei models.

Joe also talked us through the Kyle Shutt Signature model, and finally, showed us the model that will commemorate Reverend's special birthday: the 20th Anniversary Double Agent. Combining many of their greatest hits — their original and most popular body style, rail hammer pickups, and aluminum pickguard — this instrument pays homage to 20 years of success.

This beautiful instrument features a flamed maple top, comes in a variety of vibrant and rich colors, and features a commemorative 1997–2017 fitted inlay.

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