09.21.12 - Two newly scheduled
live appearances over the next few weeks:
08.24.12 - Guitars on Tour:
Gabrels playing a 1962 Fender VI bass with The Cure in
Barcelona, 1 June 2012; Robert Smith at right. Photo by
On the guitar front, if
there is a single instrument that makes The Cure sound like The
Cure, in my opinion it's the Fender VI (six-string bass), with
Robert Smith’s distinctive playing and use of it, not as a
bass—totally unnecessary when you have an incredible bass
player like Simon Gallup—but as a unique guitar voice.
So, in rehearsals for this
summer, when it was time to figure out what parts needed to be
played in which songs, I was pleasantly surprised when Robert
asked me to play the Fender on "Inbetween Days," "Push,” and
Since I do not own a Fender
VI (though I did, for a time, own a Jerry Jones Danelectro-style
six-string bass), Robert offered me one of his.
Thus the instrument I am
playing on those three songs live is Robert Smith’s black 1962
Fender VI, which has a reddish tortoise-shell pick guard. I’m
sure it has a lot of stories to tell. It has the three original
Fender Jaguar-style single-coil pickups, plus three on/off
pickup selector switches (one for each), as was standard for
that era Fender VI.
The neck is a 30-inch
scale, shorter than most other Fender bass guitars, and feels
more like the neck of a Fender Stratocaster of like vintage. The
strings I am using are lighter gauge than one would normally put
on a regular bass. All in all, perfect for a guitar player.
The electronics of this
Fender VI have been modified with an additional tone control, so
it has three knobs (volume, tone, tone) instead of the standard
two (volume, tone).
Two small toggle switches
were also added. One is a bass cut, which removes the lowest
frequency tones from all six strings. The other changes the
phase of the middle pickup, resulting in a more nasal sound when
used in combination with one or both of the other pickups.
My control settings on this
instrument never change: Volume and tone controls all the way up
(on 10); all three pickups on, in phase; with bass cut engaged
(which keeps me out of the tonality occupied by Simon's bass).
The result: I have become a
Fender VI fanatic, I look forward to playing it, and it’s one of
my favorite things to do at every show.
Some notes about the sound
and role of the Fender VI this summer:
Primary – The Fender VI
plays in the same register (pitch range) as the bass, but has a
brighter, thinner tone; Robert plays a six-string electric
Inbetween Days – I play the
intro melody line on the Fender VI, in an upper register, yet
the thicker strings give the line additional weight; for this
song Robert is playing an acoustic guitar.
Push – Counterpoint
(melodic interplay) among Robert, Simon and me.
08.19.12 - Guitars on Tour:
playing "The Tabby," his modified Reverend Reeves Gabrels
signature model guitar (RG1) with The Cure in Barcelona, 1
June 2012; Robert Smith at right. Photo by Javier Juárez.
My grey Reverend Reeves
Gabrels (RG1) guitar is nicknamed “The Tabby” because the
transparent black wood stain on the highly figured maple
grain face looks to me like the coat of a tabby cat.
I use this guitar for
several songs every night on tour with The Cure. In
particular, it is essential for The Cure’s song "Wrong
When I originally
recorded the guitars on the studio version of Wrong Number
in the late 1990s, I was still playing my sustainer-modified
Parker guitar through a Roland VG8 modeling system. The
singing-feedback guitar lines that supply the melodic guitar
hook of this song are dependent on having a sustainer pickup
system allowing infinite, dependable sustain at any volume.
Plus, Wrong Number is the song where I am most in my natural
element, so I need a perfect device for those
improvisational, freak-out moments.
This guitar lets me do
all of the above. Here's why.
The Tabby may look
pretty much like one of my standard RG1 signature model
guitars, but it actually has been modified quite a bit, yet
in not so obvious ways. When I received the guitar from
Reverend, it was a prototype for the RG1, a non-tremolo
instrument. We were also still debating fret size, and
unlike the eventual production model, the prototype didn't
have quite the taller size frets I prefer.
Over the course of a
year, then, this was The Tabby’s journey:
-- The first thing to
happen was that Steve Uncapher, at Rock Block Guitars in
Nashville, refretted the neck with Dunlop 6100 fret wire.
-- Next, I put on a
Stetsbar tremolo -- which worked great.
-- Then I shipped the
guitar off to Sustainiac, to have one of their sustainers
-- Not long after, we
decided the next generation RG1 would have a
factory-installed Wilkinson tremolo. Being partial to the
traditional lever and fulcrum vibrato bar design, I sent the
guitar back to Reverend. They retrofitted my refretted neck
and Sustainiac system into a new Wilkinson-equipped body,
and sent it back to me.
-- On the guitar’s
return, I replaced the original Reverend bridge humbucker
pickup with a Naylor Railhammer "Anvil" for extra heaviness
-- Last of all, Doug
Jarrell at Rock Block put in a kill switch – it’s at the
lower end of the guitar body, just past the control plate,
and allows me to "kill" entirely the output from the guitar.
This lets me do staccato effects.
After all this, the
only visible differences you might notice on The Tabby,
other than the kill switch, are the two small toggle
switches at the lower end of the pick guard. One switch
turns the sustainer on/off, while the other lets me choose
the type of feedback I want. The feedback choices are
fundamental (the pitch I am playing), the octave-up
overtone, or a blend of the two.
All of these mods are
available through Reverend via special order.
I also use The Tabby on
“One Hundred Years” because the guitar’s heavier tone,
thanks to the Railhammer chisel pickup, seems appropriate.
I choose it as well to play “Want,” because of the
controlled feedback it allows me to do underneath Robert’s
08.11.12 - Guitars on Tour:
The Reverend "Reevito"
Reeves Gabrels playing the
Reverend "Reevito" with The Cure at Primavera Sound,
Barcelona, 1 June 2012. Photo by Javier Juárez.
mint green Reverend guitar I play on "The Edge of the Deep Green
Sea," "The End," and "Disintegration" this summer with The Cure
is actually a modified Rick Vito signature model.
My own Reeves Gabrels II
(RG2) signature guitar has a 25-1/4 inch scale length, as
Fenders do. (Scale length is the distance between the nut or
zero fret and the bridge.) Yet in the course of our three-hour
sets there are certain songs where I want to play a guitar that
has a Gibson-type feel. Something with a 24-3/4 inch scale
length. I find the shorter scale changes the way I play. Hard
to believe that 1/2 inch would make that much difference but it
definitely affects my finger vibrato, making it wider. At least
I think so. What I lose when the guitar does not have a vibrato
bar seems to show up in my fretting hand and I enjoy that.
Plus, having a shorter scale makes some slightly larger chord
stretches easier to reach. Just ask the late Tal Farlow.
Before I headed to The
Cure rehearsals in England, I was having a conversation with
Chris Boyle at Rock Block Guitars in Nashville about how to
solve my self-perceived need for a cool guitar with a Les Paul-ish
look, 24-3/4 inch scale length, and two humbuckers. After
listening to me ramble for a few minutes, Chris matter-of-factly
pointed out that I should just speak to Reverend and see if they
would modify a Rick Vito guitar for me. Why didn't I think of
that? Sooo... I spoke to Ken Haas at Reverend and asked that he
remove the pickups and substitute a Joe Naylor Railhammer
Vintage humbucker in the neck and a Railhammer chisel humbucker
in the bridge position. Ken thought it was a great idea. In
fact, he had already done something similar to his personal Vito
model guitar... It must be good to be the company president.
The guitar reached me
after the first summer festival show. I took it out of the box
and restrung it with my preferred gauge of Curt Mangan strings.
My friend and guitar tech Kan Lailey intonated it for the
lighter strings, and I have been gigging with it since. We
started calling it "The Reevito" when a Facebook friend and
apparent Reverend fan clocked what was going on and gave it the
name... a hybrid of two Reverend endorsing musicians.
Guitar tweeker and cork
I discovered that, after
switching out the original large single-coil pickups in the
guitar, the folks at Reverend hadn't changed the pots
for volume, tone and bass roll-off (a Reverend proprietary
circuit) from the original 250 k value (for single coils) to the
humbucker-appropriate (and industry standard) 500k value control
The benefit of this
accident is a throatier tone with warmer top end. I have done
this on purpose in the past on guitars containing humbuckers
that I found to be too harsh (my favorite for most humbuckers is
a Gibson 300k pot) but this was a most pleasant surprise.
The best way I can
describe the tone of this guitar when it is wide open is to say
that it falls in Mick Ronson/early Jeff Beck territory... But
that's ultimately in the hands of the player and the ear of the
beholder. Combine that with the wide range of tones from the
standard Reverend wiring harness (reverse capacitance on the
volume, for no loss of top end when you dial the volume down,
plus the clever bass roll-off control) and the Reevito is a very
Some examples of why I
like this guitar for certain songs:
From the Edge of the Deep
Green Sea - I use wider vibrato in the solo, and more extreme
pitch bends (made possible by the lighter string tension of the
Disintegration - In the
guitar line I play in this song, the notes often move in
pointillistic fashion, and I can execute wide chord voicings
more elegantly thanks to the shorter scale length.
The End - The Reevito is
rather "skittish" and more willing to give up notes in the form
of feedback, which suits this song in live performance.
Just Like Heaven - I roll
the bass contour off, and just plain enjoy playing this
instrument for this song.
08.08.12 - Guitars on Tour:
Reeves Gabrels on the guitars he's playing with The Cure, Summer
today, I'll post about the instruments I'm playing with The Cure
during this summer's festival tour in Europe, the UK, and
Ireland. Thanks to the reader of this page who suggested this,
and another who shared stage photos of each of my guitars in
action. Here goes... see the next Note for a brief introduction
of my "Orange RG2," a Reeves Gabrels II Signature Guitar by
Reverend Guitars. Cheers, rg"
Reverend Reeves Gabrels II
Signature Guitar (Orange RG2)
Gabrels playing the Reverend RG2 with The Cure at Primavera
Sound, Barcelona, 1 June 2012. Photo by Javier Juárez.
"The orange RG2 has been
the workhorse of the summer Cure shows. I’ve played 75% of
every night on this guitar (which I had the chance to use live
just once before heading into rehearsals with The Cure).
The guitar is stock, as it
arrived from Reverend. It has 2 Railhammer chisel pickups, a 3
position pickup selector switch, a pull/push true phase switch,
and bass contour (roll-off). The only difference from the stock
setup is that I use .009 - .46 gauge strings, instead of the
strings it is shipped with.
The combination of
features gives me a pretty wide palette to paint from. By
combining pickups and rolling the bass contour full off, I get a
chimey Gretsch-like sound. Stay with the same pickup selection,
bass contour full off, add some distortion and it becomes a very
angry Telecaster-like tone. Dial the bass contour back up, and
it’s a Peter Green Les Paul tone. With these sounds, plus the
usual tones of a two-humbucker guitar, the orange RG2 covers a
lot of ground in the course of a Cure live set of 3+ hours.
For examples, listen to the
orange RG2 during the following songs, where these tones appear:
High – chimey Gretsch-like
Just One Kiss; Let’s Go To
Bed – snarly Telecaster sound
Fight – tone à la Peter
Green on a Les Paul
Bananafishbones – two-humbucker
07.07.12 - Jed Davis' new
album Small Sacrifices Must Be Made (featuring Reeves on
guitar throughout the album) was released today and is available
as a FREE DOWNLOAD at
06.27.12 - Check out the new
Alumni section of the Berklee
College of Music website for a
new interview with Reeves while
currently on tour with The Cure.
In addition, there are a
plethora of videos on YouTube of Reeves performing with The Cure
throughout Europe on their current summer tour...too many to
link to here. Do a search for "The Cure 2012" and enjoy!
05.26.12 - the BIG
After a month of being sworn to secrecy, I can officially
announce that Reeves Gabrels is a member of The Cure during
their Summer festival tour throughout Europe. Below is a
video and photos of the band's performance at PinkPop 2012:
04.28.12 - SONIC MINING
Sonic Mining Company
is the latest collaboration from legendary guitarist Reeves
Gabrels, prolific bassist Frank Swart and naughty drummer
Adam Abrashoff who comibine to create seven tracks of
complete improvisation exploring the outer boundaries of
electric music. Inspired by the improvisational workings of
Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Glenn Branca, Stockhausen,
Hendrix, Coltrane and “anyone that blurs the line between
sound and composition”, their Ropeadope debut comes out May
04.19.12 - Video of RG&hIF
performing at the Toledo School for the Arts on April 14, 2012.
04.10.12 - Reeves
Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends will perform at the Toledo
School for the Arts on Saturday, April 14th, at 1:30 p.m.
as well as at The Villiage Idiot in Maumee, OH, that same
Saturday night at 9:30. For more information, visit
04.09.12 - Check out
the May 2012 issue of Guitar Player featuring reflections on the
70th birthday of Jimi Hendrix. Reeves provides great
commentary on how things have changed since Hendrix as well as
how things would be different if Jimi was still alive.
03.30.12 - Reeves & Ken Haas
of Reverend Guitars talk about the evolution of the Reeves
Gabrels Signature Guitar:
03.28.12 - Per Kevin
Hornback's (bassist for Reeves) Facebook post:
"Tomorrow night, Thurs. 3/29 Reeves Gabrels and his Imaginary
Fr13nds at the Family Wash!!! A new song or two, Jeff Brown
returns on drums, and other surprises...really, I'll be as
surprised as anyone. 9:30 is the agreed upon time."
03.24.12 - RG & Ken Haas
of Reverend Guitars talk about Reeves's signature model:
02.07.12 - Check out
Reeves' collaboration with Jenn Vix on the song "In The
House of Dark Shadows" on iTunes by clicking
01.26.12 - Two things...
REEVES GABRELS & HIS IMAGINARY FRIENDS will perform a secret
unadvertised gig and other rituals this
Saturday night, January 28th,
at The Family Wash in East
Reeves has contributed an article
to the February '12 issue of Guitar Player Magazine. The
article discusses three ideas for providing "twisted" guitar
textures based on concepts RG has used on his various
recordings. In other news, Reeves is apparently using his
powers for time travel (as per the photo accompanying the
12.06.11 - Reeves Gabrels
& His Imaginary Friends perform this Wednesday night @ 9:30 PM
at the Family Wash in East Nashville. BE THERE!!!
11.21.11 - RG&HiF appeared
on Episode IX of Not Just Country in Nashville. You can
see the episode now on YouTube at
03.11 - Check out
Reeves' performance on the song "Shadowlife" from J21's album
Beyond The Holographic Veil by clicking
here. You can also
learn more about the album by visiting
REEVES GABRELS and HIS IMAGINARY
FRIENDS will be performing live in the studio this Saturday
night (Oct. 22nd) at 12 am midnight on the Mando Blues Radio
Show. Put on your tin foil hats and tune your interweb radio
10.07.11 - Reeves & his
Imaginary Friends will be performing at The Family Wash tomorrow
night (Saturday, Oct 8th) in E. Nashville. BE THERE!!!
09.20.11 - Reeves will be
holding a guitar clinic on Saturday, September 24, @ 4:30 at the
Southeastern Guitar Show in Raleigh, NC. For more info,
09.14.11 - A great set of
photos from Reeves' appearance at the From Nashville To Norway
concert can be found at
07.28.11 - Reeves is
having his appendix removed today. Wish him a speedy
recovery on his
Also...for those looking for
guitar lessons and are in the Nashville area, you may want to
07.26.11 - Vids O
07.25.11 - Here is a video
of Reeves performing with Carl Verheyen at the Guitar Player
Superstar Competition on July 22nd during the Summer NAMM
convention in Nashville.
07.14.11 - Reeves
Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends perform this Saturday, July
16th, at 9.30pm @ the Family Wash in East Nashville. You
know you want to be there!!!!
07.03.11 - Just found this
tasty tidbit on YouTube:
06.26.11 - NEWS! Just received some
updates from Reeves that he has asked to be passed on.
first are three albums featuring Reeves to be download-only
releases through iTunes, CDBaby, and other online retailers:
06.10.11 - The July 2011 issue
of Guitar Player should be called the unofficial Reeves
issue. Reeves makes three appearances in the magazine
between pages 26-41. The first is an image w/ caption
concerning his performance at the Dallas International Guitar
Festival, the second pictures and mentions Reeves' participation
as a judge at Guitar Player's Guitar Superstar 2011
competition in Nashville during the Summer NAMM convention, and
the third is his inclusion in an ad by Source Audio for their
Multiwave Distortion product.
05.31.11 - Catch RG & HiF this
Friday, June 3rd, at the Family Wash in East Nashville.
Show starts at 9pm.
In addition, here is a recent interview Trace Foster did with
05.05.11- Reeves on a variety
of musical topics as
interviewed by Terry Moshenberg of League Of Rock:
Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends will be performing at the
Dallas Guitar Show this Saturday, April 16th. For more
information about the Dallas Guitar show, go to
03.19.11 - Just found out
that RG & hIM is playing at the Family Wash tonight @ 9.30.
All you Nashvillians make your way there!
2.25.11 - Per his
Facebook page, Reeves is
playing with the SONIC MINING COMPANY
on Saturday, February 26th at 10:30 pm @ This Bar, 6410
Charlotte Pike in Nashville.
01.31.11 - Check out the
Guitar Player Magazine Bench Test of RG's signature guitar from
Reverend Guitars (originally printed in the Feb '11 issue) by
1.28.11 - Here's a video
from NAMM '11 of Reeves giving a personal description of his
signature guitar by Reverend Guitars.
01.23.11 - Reeves has been
listed as 5 of the "great noisemakers" by Gibson Guitars.
Check out the article
Also, a review of Reeves'
signature Reverend Guitars model appears in the Feb 2011 issue
of Guitar Player magazine (pg 114). Look for this to be
posted on their website soon.
01.19.11 - Found
this video on YouTube of RG&HIF playing at The Family Wash on
New Year's Eve 2010.
01.12.11 - Reeves Gabrels
to Demo His Signature Reverend Guitar at Winter NAMM 2011
David Bowie/Tin Machine/solo
guitar legend Reeves Gabrels will be demoing his signature
Reverend guitar at the Reverend booth #3090 on Friday and
Saturday at 2PM.
12/30/10 - RG&HiF bassist Kevin Hornback posted on Facebook that the
band will be performing at the Family Wash (East Nashville) on New
Years Eve Show!!! Reeves Gabrels and his imaginary fr13nds at The
Family Wash. We know it would be tough to celebrate the end of 2010
to all our harmonic density and intensity - so the 2nd set will
feature Skeet Hanks fronting the band (w/ Drexel Sloan and Tyson
Rogers) through some funky soul music and a champagne toast. Resovle
to get down!"
REEVES GABRELS is known as one of the
finest guitar players in the world. He was a member of TIN MACHINE
and was DAVID BOWIE'S lead guitarist for many years. He has a
signature Reverend guitar named after him as well. REEVES will be
performing with his three piece band and will begin at 10:30. THE
OLDEST PROFESSION (former members of THE ORGAN THIEF) will open for
him beginning at 9:30 sharp. Food & Beer are served or Set-ups for
Bring Your Own Poison. HANK & NORA will be performing in the small
room from 7 to 9. Please come welcome Reeves to Memphis as he graces
us with his presence from Nashville, which he currently calls his
home. Any questions, please call Escape at 901-528-3337.
09.17.10 - Got a message from Reeves today with updates and news
on the number of things going on with him:
"there are a ton of photos on
from my gigs in norway. and i'll be in san francisco judging the
guitar player superstar contest w/joe perry, elliot easton and
"playing in memphis oct 9th, luxemborg (the country in europe) oct
23rd. in the studio working on my album (nashville). working on a
band album with earl slick, michael houton and sterling campbell in
ny. finishing up the magnificent others album with jamie rubin,
marco giovino, frank swart and patti griffin."
07.03.10 - Just found Al Natanagara's Part 2 interview with
Reeves which talks about his relationship with Reverend Guitars and
how his signature model came about. Click
here to read.
06.16.10 - Catch RG&HIF on Friday, June 18th, at Bourbon Street
in Nashville for the Reverend Guitars/St. Blues Guitars Summer NAMM
party as well as on Saturday the 19th during the Spring NAMM edition
of All-Star Guitar Night.
05.28.10 - RG is playing TONIGHT in Boston with Club D'Elf at
the Lizard Lounge and tomorrow night in New Market, NH, at the Stone
Church. As Reeves put it, "it's
a good couple of days for ambient dub avante jazz improv rock."
05.14.10 - Check out Reeves on page 32 of the July 2010 issue of
Guitar Player. The picture is from his appearance at Muriel
Anderson's All-Star Guitar Night during Winter NAMM 2010 in Anaheim,
CA. You can also see the performance by clicking
04.27.10 - Reeves is currently in Nashville recording tracks for
his 5th solo release. The sessions include Kevin Hornback on
bass, Jeff Brown on drums, and Tyson Rogers on B-3. Follow
Reeves as he checks in with updates on the sessions at
04.12.10 - Reeves Gabrels & his Imaginary Friends is performing
TONIGHT at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville for a live taping
for FOX's "Not Just Country". Show starts promptly at 8pm in
the HRC's new Reverb Room.
03.24.10 - Al Natanagara has conducted a new interview with
Reeves, and Part 1 is posted on Al's interview blog, Tubgoat.
here to read.
12.31.09 - Shows O' Plenty! Check out the LIVE page
for shows in CA, TN, and London (yes, that's in England).
(click images above for details)
Also...check out the Jan 2010 issue
of Guitar Player Magazine. Michael Molenda talks about Reeves
his Editor's Column.
10.29.09 - HALLOWEEN SHOW!!!
(click image above for details)
10.26.09 - The website
Reeves' compositions for the game "Deus Ex" the 9th Greatest Video
Game Soundtrack of all time. Check out the list
(click image above for details)
08.24.09 - On September 9th, Reeves Gabrels & His The Imaginary
Friends will make their first trip to Athens and play their first
show since the July Tour of the East Coast. Click
here for more details.
08.10.09 - JED DAVIS
The band: Jed Davis on vocals & keyboards, Reeves Gabrels on
guitar, Mike Keaney on bass, Matt Johnson on drums.
07.31.09 - Reeves
is playing guitar tonight with Jed
Davis at The Bitter End in New York City tonight. The band
includes Jed (songs, vocals, keys), Tim Lefevre (bass), Anton Fig
(drums) and "a cast of thousands". 8 pm set time.
07.28.09 - Three new items have been added to the Media
- The first
is an article on RG in TONEAudio, Vol. 22.
- The second is a RG-approved bootleg
recording of Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends live on Day 6 of
their 10-day Summer Mini Tour in Herkimer, NY.
- The final
item is that Day 10 of the Summer 2009 Tour Blog has been posted.
You can read the new entry HERE.
07.24.09 - Reeves posted Days 8 and 9 on Guitar Player
Magazine's website of his Summer 2009 Tour Blog. You can read
the new entry HERE.
07.23.09 - Days 6 and 7 of the Summer 2009 Tour Blog have
been posted on Guitar Player Magazine's website but have been
for your convenience. That's
just what we do.
07.21.09 - Days 4 and 5 of the Summer 2009 Tour Blog have been
posted at guitarplayer.com, and they have been compiled
on reevz.net. Check them out!
07.18.09 - Reeves mentioned in his latest interview (you have
read it, right? go to the MEDIA page
if you haven't) that he is working with Reverend Guitars on a
signature model. Click the thumbnails below for pix of the
prototypes from the Summer NAMM '09 show!!!
07.17.09 - Reeves Gabrels &
His Imaginary Friends started their Summer 2009 tour on Wednesday
(see dates to the right), and RG is writing a blog of their
escapades at GuitarPlayer.com. All entries are being compiled
at reevz.net, so click
to read the blog and follow the tour!
07.08.09 - Two big news items
to announce! The first is the RG&HIF Summer Tour to commence
on July 15, 2009, in Asheville, NC. Dates are listed to the
right, so look for an appearance that is nearest to you. There
is also talk of a Fall '09 tour that will take the band to other
parts of the country, so check back often as those dates are
The other big news is that I
conducted an interview with Reeves this week as he prepares to leave
Nashville for the tour. The interview covers info on the tour,
the band, new projects, and other tidbits of info. You can
read the interview by clicking