I didn’t know whether to be wet-my-pants afraid of this guitar, or hopeful that it might impart an infinitesimal particle of Reeves Gabrels’ genius to my own playing. Both reactions are silly, of course. It’s just that I am often humbled by the continual creative onslaughts Gabrels launches that touching something designed expressly for him takes on a sort of mystical touchstone. On one level, the Reverend Spacehawk is his tool of choice—an instrument that lets him do what he does the way he wants to do it. On another, it represents all the savage melodic beauty Gabrels can conjure, and it mocks me. “Yeah, what are you going to do with this guitar?” Yikes!
Putting fear aside for a moment, I tested the Spacehawk through a Vox AC30, a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto and Old Dog 4x12 cabinet, and an Orange Tiny Terror and Mesa/Boogie 1x12 cab. I also added various effects in and out of the signal chain, including a Zaim Audio Harmonic Pump, a Tech 21 Boost Fuzz, a Boss Waza Craft DM-2w Delay, and a Moen Shaky Jimi Vibe.
The Spacehawk is quite a looker, and it’s reminiscent of a naughty romp between an ES-335 and a Burns. There is nothing else to report here except excellence. I dare you to find a Spacehawk and prove otherwise. The Lakeshore Gold finish is flawlessly applied with no bubbles or dimples, the binding is superb (no paint overruns or chips), the dot inlays are perfect (no filler), the hardware is locked-down tight, and the frets are nicely dressed with no rough edges. The Spacehawk is stunning on all fronts.
The Spacehawk balances nicely across your body whether you play it sitting or standing, and its simultaneously slim and solid neck makes for a fast and comfortable feel. The Volume and Tone knobs are easily accessible, with only the Bass Contour requiring a bit of a reach. The pickup selector and super-cool kill switch are also well at hand. Adjustments on the fly are therefore a breeze, but the real slick trick of this machine is the Bigsby. Gabrels told me that he and Reverend searched for springs ceaselessly until one was found that moved smoothly and easily. The benefits are that this Bigsby delivers an almost Jeff Beck-level of whammy expressiveness, and it can bend up a whole step without dropping the spring at your feet. It’s madness—and it’s awesome.
The Spacehawk’s Railhammer pickups—designed by Reverend’s Joe Naylor—position its rails under the E, A, and D strings to produce a studly kind of clarity, while large polepieces under the G, B, and high-E strings provide a stout precision. String-to-string articulation is excellent, and each string also rings clear and true with no volume fluctuations as you work up and down the neck with an even attack. Starting out with a pretty bitchin’ tone, the Spacehawk provides three ways to mess with it: a Master Tone, a phase switch (for single-coil-style sounds), and Reverend’s acclaimed Bass Contour knob (a passive bass roll-off). As a result, there’s almost no tone you can’t cop, from classic rock to skankin’ to jazz to prog, country, and metal. And did I mention this semi-hollow produces musical feedback so easily I could spend an entire gig just playing feedback? (Fun for me—not so much for the audience, probably.) The Spacehawk is pretty much a “do anything” guitar that encourages you to explore, experiment, and have a blast in the process.
Now, Gabrels may be some kind of a genius-warlock-iconoclastic guitar superhero, but his Spacehawk—well, it’s so fabulously amazing on all counts that even I can get gorgeous, bold, feral, and shimmering sounds out of it. It’s definitely a guitar that brings out your best. Go for it!
REEVES GABRELS SIGNATURE SPACEHAWK
PRICE $1,199 street
NUT 1 21/32" graphite
NECK Three-piece korina, 24 ¾" scale
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 12" radius
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
TUNERS Reverend pin-lock
BODY Semi-hollow korina, solid maple top
BRIDGE Bigsby B-50
PICKUPS Railhammer Chisel (bridge), Railhammer Hyper Vintage (neck)
CONTROLS Volume, Tone, Bass Contour, Kill Toggle, Phase, 3-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario XL, .009-.046
WEIGHT 7.48 lbs
KUDOS Versatile tones. Excellent playability. Killer Bigsby. Superb craftsmanship.
WIN REEVES’ BABY!
I kind of hate to give it up myself, but we made a deal with Reverend to give away this very guitar to one lucky Guitar Player reader, so there you are.
Go to guitarplayer.com/reverend-contest to enter to win!