finish with white binding. The look is classic
and also pays homage to Anderson’s 1959
Fender Telecaster Custom. The Eastsider’s
body is made of chambered korina, and the
wood’s subtle grain pattern is visible toward
the center of the guitar. If you’re used to
deep, glossy finishes, the Eastsider’s ultra-smooth satin finish can feel a little less than
luxurious, but don’t let this throw you off:
The quality of the Eastsider’s finish application, construction, and attention to detail
is excellent. The neck dots are slightly yellowed, the neck is tinted in a classic style,
the graphite nut is cleanly slotted, and the
jumbo frets are perfectly polished.
With a compound fretboard radius, the
medium-slim neck has an early-’60s Fender
C profile that feels especially comfortable
and fast, and its angled heel offers full access
to the 22 frets. Reverend has loaded the guitar with really nice hardware as well, and the
pin-lock tuners are a perfect match for the
outstanding Wilkinson tremolo bridge.
The Reverend bridge pickup is mounted
right into the wood, which gives it a cool
hot-rodded look. Significantly, it’s wound
with 43-gauge wire—rather than the more
common 42 gauge—and this yields a meatier, Broadcaster-like flavor. A 5-way switch
gives you access to a full menu of Strat-like
tones, and a push-pull tone knob kicks on
the neck and bridge pickup together for traditional Tele middle-position sounds.
With its pronounced midrange growl,
the Eastsider’s bridge pickup pays tribute
to the legendary Broadcaster.
chambered body, and there seems to be a
real liveliness to the tonewoods. Running
straight into a Fender Champ, the Eastsider’s
neck pickup sounds well balanced, with an
upper-midrange emphasis that gives thicker
chords down by the nut excellent clarity.
Not surprisingly, the tone is a bit more
Telecaster than Stratocaster—sweet and airy
rather than throaty and compressed.
Things definitely got more Strat-like
in the neck/middle position, with lots of
Knopfler-approved quack and punch. With
a Champ on the edge of breakup and the
frets feeling fat, it’s pretty natural to explore
SRV’s Texas blues territory. In these environs, the Reverend’s single-note response
was dynamic and girthy, and the sounds got
rounder and thicker the more I dug in with
the pick. The combination of a flatter fretboard radius and access heel made bluesy,
upper-fret riffing a pleasure.
The tremolo bridge’s press-in arm is
super sensitive, and, with the bridge set to a
floating position, it invites pretty aggressive
use. The super-precise action makes single-note pitch manipulation easy and may incite
you to push the boundaries of your playing
as a result. Even when using the trem with a
total lack of restraint, I was happy to discover that the graphite nut and locking tuners
do a great job of keeping the guitar in tune.
The bridge pickup matches up nicely
with its neck and middle siblings, and it
shares those pickups’ relatively warm character while delivering much of the bite you
want from a Tele-style bridge pickup. Zingy,
Redd Volkaert-like solos never sounded
piercing or fatiguing, even with the tone
cranked wide open. With its pronounced
midrange growl, the Eastsider’s bridge pickup pays tribute to the legendary Broadcaster.
The Eastsider S is a versatile beast with a
sonic personality that dwells somewhere
between Stratocaster and a ’50s Telecaster.
And its greatest asset might be its ability
to inhabit both of these bodies without
sacrificing much of their individuality. One
moment you’re getting crisp Mark Knopfler
sounds from the middle and bridge combination, and the next you’re pulling up
the tone knob to get neck-plus-bridge Tele
sounds. It also has the almost magical ability to coax out a Fender amp’s sweetly textured and cutting, natural overdrive with a
beautifully sweetened top end.
With its many pickup settings and slick
trem system, the Eastsider S seems like the
one guitar that can cover Pete Anderson’s
Detroit Muscle It takes just a few unplugged strums to feel the exceptional resonance of the Eastsider’s
Compound radius fretboard
Pros: Great sonic versatility. Outstanding quality for
the price. Super playability. Amazing bridge and vibrato.
Reverend Pete Anderson Eastsider S, $999 street, reverendguitars.com
Cons: Could use a little more tonal complexity.
Body finish could feel more luxurious.
blues, rock, and honky tonk material. And
even with its fat, midrange emphasis, the
Eastsider S has enough of a big, bright,
snappy personality to fit well into modern country. The build quality and playability are especially good for the price,
which makes it a great road guitar if, like
Anderson, you need to keep your vintage
treasure at home, or you’re on a tighter
budget and are looking for a top-notch,