WITH ITS UNCONVENTIONAL BODYSHAPE AND DISTINCTIVE COSMETICS the Buckshot is unlikely to be mistaken for a Tele. But trot this little twangmaster down to your local honky tonk and see if some pickers don’t start a grinnin’ when they hear it. Unabashedly based on the iconic Fender design, the Buckshot creatively skews the concept by employing a korina body with a bound top, swapping in a Tune-o-matic-style bridge and stop tailpiece for the Tele’s three-piece bridge and string-throughbody design, and placing a Revtron mini-humbucker in the neck slot (presumably putting the “buck” in Buckshot). Perhaps the most significant departure from the classic design in terms of tone shaping, however, is Reverend’s Bass Contour control, which endows your twang with a bit more bang by beefing up the bottom end.
The workmanship on the Korean-made Buckshot is superb, from the lustrous finish to the cleanly cut and fitted binding to the well-crafted neck and fretboard to the skillfully placed and dressed frets. The guitar has a sleek yet solid feel enhanced by a smooth contour on the upper rear of the body. Intonation was exacting, the locking tuners performed admirably, and buzzing and dead spots were nonexistent. I particularly liked being able to rest my palm on the tailpiece while picking close to the bridge, especially when bearing down.
I tested the Buckshot through an Orange Tiny Terror Hand Wired Edition head into a 1x12 cab loaded with a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker and through both the “American” and “British” channels of a Rivera Venus 6 1x12 combo. On clean amp settings, the bridge pickup sounded bold and bright with just the right amount of bite, and turning up the Bass Contour control added smoothness and roundness without diminishing the highs. Switching to crunchy amp settings brought out more teeth and increased the squawk factor, while high-gain settings revealed the Buckshot’s hard-rocking alter ego. Not nasty, or super hot—just tightly focused kick-ass rock tones with lots of character.
The Revtron pickup produced fat, warm, and clear tones on clean amp settings, with more emphasis on the upper mids than you tend to get with full-sized humbuckers. Adding a little Bass Contour resulted in a pleasing roundness, but running it wide open was usually too much. Crunch settings yielded similar sounds but with more hair and buzz. On hi-gain amp settings, however, the Revtron somehow managed to sound super distorted and clear at the same time, almost like a clean track layered over a distorted track. The T-Style and Revtron pickups were perfectly balanced level- and tonewise when combined, and the nicely voiced Tone control provided even more tone-sculpting flexibility.
The Buckshot is a great looking, sounding, and playing guitar that’s versatile enough to accommodate country, blues, pop, hard rock, and even jazz players, while not requiring a major cash outlay—and that’s why it gets an Editors’ Pick Award.
Reverend Musical Instruments (586) 775-1025; reverendguitars.com
PRICE $839 retail/ $599 street
NECK Maple bolt-on with medium oval profile
FRETBOARD Maple with 12" radius
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
PICKUPS Reverend T-style single-coil (bridge), Reverend Revtron mini-humbucker (neck)
CONTROLS Volume, Tone, Bass Contour, 3-way pickup selector
BRIDGE Tune-o-maticstyle with stoptailpiece
TUNERS Reverand Pin-Lock
FACTORY STRINGS .010-.046
WEIGHT 8 lbs
KUDOS Excellent build quality. Versatile tones. Ingenious Bass Contour control. Exceptional value.