Sensei HB Review

manufacturer: Reverend date: 11/03/2013 category: Electric Guitars
Reverend: Sensei HB
This guitar is very comfortable to play, looks great (and original without getting whacky).
 Features: 9
 Sound: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Overall Impression: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.5 
 Reviewer rating:
 9 
 Users rating:
 8 
 Votes:
 1 
review (1) pictures (3) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Sensei HB Reviewed by: markleehunter, on november 03, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: This guitar is a cross between a SG and a LP - double-cut solid body, 22 frets, 24.75" neck, TOM bridge, 3X3 tuners (locking, proprietary Reverend design; I did an onstage string change with mine in under 3 minutes), maple cap on korina body. Weighs under 8 lb, I carry this when I travel, no problem. Came stock with two very good HBs, V, T and "bass contour" control that fattens or thins the sound. Man, you really rely on that knob once you see what it can do. Made in Korea to Reverend USA specs. Reverend owner Joe Naylor loves to tweak classic designs. This guitar is like a better SG. Looks very sharp too. I bought this as a second, badly damaged by UPS in shipment then repaired by Reverend. The repair is visible but nice in a funky way. Doesn't affect the use of the guitar. Whatever you compare it to, it's a 9. You won't get a better looking or better featured guitar unless you spend a LOT more. // 9

Sound: This is why I took a risk on damaged goods. I played one of these in Rudy's Music on 48th St. In NYC and wanted it. I prefer to buy used, so I had to wait. Now that I've owned and used it for a couple of years, I'd buy new. It sounds like a '92 Les Paul Standard I had to sell for rent money - rich, deep, very versatile. If you know what a very good Paul sounds like, you have a good idea of what this piece can do. The bass contour when up full rounds out the sound for rock, blues or jazz, in the other direction makes it brighter, great for funk. No noise from the pups, just music. I play this through a wide range of gear, including Peavey Transtube and tube amps, Fender Super Champ XD, Roland Microcube (for party shows). It sounds fine with all of them. I use very few effects, just some OD and reverb or delay. The lead sound with a slide is phenomenal - smooth, sustained, rich. The sound is very balanced all along the neck. I'll rate it a 9, because nothing's perfect, but really, this guitar has a great double HB sound. You won't need to swap the pups. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I redo all my setups for a hybrid slide style - the slide plus barre and partial chords. No issues, it intonates well. Even with my high action (3 mm at the 12th fret) it's pretty easy to finger, thanks to the Gibson scale. Access to the upper frets is easy, that's why you buy double cuts, right? I'm sure a shredder would love it if it were set up for that. I readjust pickups too. There were no construction flaws whatsoever. Part of what you pay for with a Reverend is inspection and setup at the USA plant, their guy Zach is tops. Double-cuts are notoriously neck heavy, and this one is a little neck heavy too. I fixed a roll of pennies to the bottom end of the strap, problem solved, but it was still a problem that had to be solved, two points off. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I do use this without a backup, because I usually travel to shows under conditions where weight matters. This guitar is versatile enough to give you varied sound all night. The main issue without backup is a broken string, and locking tuners lessen that problem. The guitar is very well put together. A key issue in live playing is weight, and this one doesn't weigh you down. Yup, I have depended on it. I'm expected to put 500 characters here, nonsense. What's to say? I bought it to perform, it performs. Is the finish good enough to last? I suppose so. Will I? God only knows. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing almost 50 years, sometime pro and longtime serious amateur. My music is based in Delta blues. I own a dozen guitars, half Reverends, plus a Gibson '60s Tribute LP, a Vox SDC33, Charvel bass, and some offbeat pieces I modded. In recent years I got into P90 guitars, this one reminded me why I love HBs. I play open-handed, with a thumb pick. I usually play a bass line under whatever I do on top, with the slide or chords. I require strong bass response and a ringing high end, and of course that mid crunch. This guitar delivers them. It's very comfortable to play, looks great (and original without getting whacky). If I lost it I would buy another one. I never stopped missing the LP Standard I sold for rent, until the day I got this. I think they cost $750 new lately, and I'd buy it for that if I couldn't get a deal used. There may be something slightly better out there, but for my budget it's tops. I'll give it a 9 out of principle: Nothing's perfect. It's still a great design and a great player. // 9

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