December 13, 2018 6 min read
Guitarists want what they want. There is no other way to describe it. In their minds, each guitarist has an ideal sound that they are going for. This might change over the years, but always, no matter how long you have been playing, there is this ideal sound, this perfect tone, that you are always striving to realize. Whenever you pick up a new guitar and plug it into an amp, you are measuring that guitar to your personal sonic ideal.
When you reach the level of a Rock icon, as Elliot Easton and Billy Corgan have, there is no compromising when it comes to creating the sound you envision. You have your choice of guitars and amps and companies coming to you with models all of the time. After playing countless classic guitars, these two master musicians have come to Reverend Guitars to help them reach the ideal sound that they have been looking for.
Elliot Easton of The Cars is a guitar hero that many of us believe has not gotten the recognition he deserves as one of the most influential guitarists in Rock history. As a left handed guitarist, it wasn’t always easy for him to find left handed versions of his favorite instruments, let alone hand crafted instruments designed particularly for his musical style and tastes. As a result, Easton accumulated quite a collection of classic left handed guitars over the years, of which he says he has no particular favorite.
Easton has never been a one-guitar person. Even within the confines of a single song by his band The Cars, Easton has been known to shift gears, changing out guitars and amps to achieve the exact sound he was looking for. While this approach may work in the studio, it is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate live.
Take, for example, the classic Cars song Shake It Up. In the studio version of this classic lead, Easton begins on a Telecaster, played through a small amp, to achieve those cheeky clucks and alternating double stops. The first part of the solo has an almost country feel to it, featuring classic chicken-pickin’ technique through what is traditionally a country guitar and amp setup. For the second part of the lead, however, Easton goes gonzo on a Gibson SG cranked through a large amp, ripping through some blazing pentatonic runs before ending with a series of loopy bends that repeat themselves down the neck.
Here’s the master himself, trying to duplicate his classic solo live on a Vintage Strat, which unfortunately is not up to the sonic task. While Easton is able to replicate the solo note for note, a rare feat in the Rock world, the Strat doesn’t get the bright twang of the Tele on the original recording, and even when switched to the neck pickup, can’t get duplicate the fat, overdriven tone of a Gibson SG:
When Reverend’s Joe Naylor and Ken Haas came up with theSuper Rev, it was based on a Mustang Warhawk but in ‘60’s colors, with racing stripes like a vintage muscle car. Who better to play an automotive-inspired limited edition guitar than the legendary guitarist forThe Cars? The Super Rev Easton plays is lime green with the Circle-R-on-Fire “Super Rev” brand and racing stripes on the front, Checkerboard Flag Special Edition Logo on the back, and a matching reversed headstock, built to burn rubber through any set list!
Featuring a medium-lightweight Korina body and a streamlined Korina neck with 22-fret Ebony fretboard, the Super Rev is a fast and highly resonant guitar largely due to the characteristics of its tonewood. Prized for consistency and tonal qualities, Korina is a key factor in producing that trademark sound of all Reverend instruments that is so lively, responsive and rich in harmonics.
Another key to the high octane sound of the Super Rev is its electronics. Featuring a Railhammer Alnico Grande Bridge humcutter pickup, which Reverend founder Joe Naylor built with rails under the wound strings for tight lows and poles under the plain strings for fat highs, the Super Rev is never muddy in the bass and highly articulated in the higher register. With the Super Rev, you will always be heard loud and clear no matter if you are belting out a rhythm or scorching through a lead!
Rounding out the sound of the Alnico Grande Bridge pickup is the bass contour control, passive bass roll-off control that is excellent for tightening up the low end, essentially re-voicing the pickup, allowing it to roar like a humbucker, or chime in with a classic P-90 twang. Equipped with a Tune-o-Matic stop tail bridge to anchor your pick hand on, a boneite nut and Reverend Pin-lock tuners, the Super Rev will stay in tune and sound great no matter how hard you drive her.
On the Super Rev, with its dynamic Humcutter pickup and passive Bass Contour control, Easton can easily change the settings when playing the solo for Shake It Up! rather than completely changing out guitars. This makes replicating his in-studio performance possible on a single guitar, through a single concert amp.
“The quality level of the building, and the relationship with you (Reverend Guitars) is superior to anyone else I’ve ever dealt with.” -Billy Corgan
For much of his career, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins was in pursuit of the perfect tone. Anyone who is familiar with the music of Smashing Pumpkins knows that this sound had to be dynamic and versatile, featuring a super high-gain rhythm tone with a finely articulated lead sound, and a well rounded clean tone with a lot of dynamic variation. Throughout his career, Corgan turned to several different guitars in pursuit of his ideal sound. First, he used a Fender Strat, like that played in the 1970‘s by one of his idols, Uli Roth. He replaced the stock pickups on the Strat with more active pickups, but found that everything he did to fatten up the rhythm tone muddle up his lead tone.
Corgan also tried playing a Gibson SG, like that played by another of his guitar idols, Tony Iommi. The dual humbucker pickups of the SG gave Corgan the ‘high gain slurry’ he was looking for in his rhythm playing, but made his lead tone noisy and difficult to control, “like riding a storm.” For most of Corgan’s career, lead playing was something that was not particularly well received, especially in the world of Alternative and Grunge music, as Corgan tells Ulrich Roth in this video which originally aired on German TV:
“Playing solo guitar in Alternative Music is pissed on.” -- Billy Corgan
But as his music evolved, Billy Corgan was not one to allow the opinions of others to dictate the terms of his musical expression. For over 20 years, Corgan searched for the one guitar that would provide him with the total package of tone, playability and versatility that would allow him to pursue his musical vision into the future. When it came time to choose a guitar company to build what would be the Billy Corgan Signature BC-1, Corgan went to Joe Naylor and Reverend.
The Billy Corgan Signature guitar features a futuristic offset all Korina body, strategically chambered under the pickguards to increase the overall resonance of the guitar and reduce its weight, giving it that ‘cocked-wah’ sound that Corgan loves. Featuring a raised center section with thinner wings, a satin finish maple neck and fretboard, and a string-thru body bridge design, the Corgan Signature delivers a considerable amount of sustain combined with a curiously Strat-like percussive attack.
The key to delivering this incredible combination of sounds is the development of pickups custom-designed to produce the precise sonic qualities that Corgan was looking for. For the Corgan Signature model Reverend founder Joe Naylor designed special Reverend Humcutter Billy Corgan pickups that meld the classic P90 snap with a humbucker chunk, without any hum!
The tone is then further rounded out with Reverend’s proprietary bass contour control which, along with tone and volume controls, allows you to dial up a surprising array of classic and ultra-modern guitar sounds.
Now that Corgan has the Reverend Billy Corgan Signature he is excited about creating new music particularly featuring the sonic versatility of his new instrument. As he says in the product demo he did for our friends at Reverb, there is no better guitar company for musicians to work with than Reverend.
Uncompromising musicians like Elliot Easton and Billy Corgan will do whatever it takes to achieve the ideal sound that is always in the back of their mind as they play. They choose Reverend Guitars because no other company goes to the great lengths that Reverend does to give musicians the tools they need to articulate the musical vision that drives them.
At ADK Guitar we are proud to be an official left handed dealer for Reverend Guitars. If you are a Lefty like Elliot Easton, you will find that we have an incredible selection of Left Handed Reverend Guitars in stock, and can also order whatever you are looking for! Drop by our showroom and play one and you will see why musicians who have their choice of instruments are now choosing to work with Reverend.
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