Reverend Decision Review by Angelo
If you put me on the spot today, I’d have to describe myself as mainly an acoustic guitar player. But my first foray into the musical world, and to be honest, my first love, was the bass guitar. Although often overlooked by the mainstream public, any musician worth their salt knows that the tone and presence of the bass guitar can make or break a song and, just like guitarists, bass players are constantly looking find that tone that fits “just right” for the particular genres they play.
Over the years I have owned and borrowed countless different basses, from the most common to the most esoteric. I’ve gone through my share of bolt ons, set necks, fretted and fretless, solid and hollow bodies and every iteration in between either to try to find my new “perfect” sound. However, even with all of this experimentation I always found myself keeping at least one P-style bass on hand for the simple fact I knew I could rely on one to get me through any gig no matter the type of music. While the Reverend is relatively new to me, the Reverend Decision is the one instrument in their line that I wish I would have been made aware of years ago. It could have saved me a lot of time and a lot of money during my more experimental days.
Construction, Finish, and Hardware
Like most Reverend instruments, the Decision is built with a solid yet lightweight Korina body, a wood dense enough to carry the low end vibrations without becoming muddy but not too heavy to be uncomfortable during long playing sessions. The Decision’s upper horn is roughly as long as what you’d expect on a standard P-bass inspired instrument while it’s lower horn is much shorter, giving the instrument the 1960’s inspired flair one comes to expect from Reverend guitars. While standing or sitting the bass balances well and I notice no problems with neck dive, which also helps to eliminate fatigue during extended periods of play.
The Decision features a bolt-on, 34” scale, 5 piece maple/walnut neck. The 5 piece construction helps ensure the longterm stability of the neck, helping to protect it against warping over the long term. It’s medium oval profile is nothing out of the ordinary and will probably feel comfortable to most bassists. The neck is finished in a satin amber and has either a Maple or Rosewood fretboard, depending on which color option you choose.
In terms of hardware, Reverend has, in my opinion, gotten it just right. While nothing about it strikes me as particularly innovative, every piece has the quality and functionality you’d expect to find on a high end bass guitar. The chrome, large knob, open-geared tuning machines feel solid and I found no problem with gears slipping or other tuning issues. Even after more aggressive playing (Black Sabbath, anyone?) with a pick I never saw any loss of tuning other than what I would expect from the new set of strings I tested the bass with. The same can be said for the bridge. The saddle sits firmly in place with no lateral play even when playing as close to the bridge as possible. They are easy to adjust both for action and intonation. The bridge also gives you the option of stringing through the body or top loading, depending on personal preference.
At it’s heart, the Reverend Decision is a P/J setup. It features the Reverend designed Split-Brick pickup in the neck position and a J-Rail at the bridge. The pickups are controlled by a shared Volume and Tone knob and can be balanced to the players preference by with the third, Pickup-Pan knob. After years of playing multi-pickup basses that use separate volume and tone controls, I find the simplicity of this system to be a breath of fresh air. The volume output of both pickups does differ slightly, with the neck being slightly hotter than the bridge, but I found that for most occasions I was able to pan in between the two on the fly with a barely noticeable volume fluctuation. I found this feature particularly useful during songs with strong dynamic changes between parts. If I wanted to go from a brighter more percussive sound to a softer, deeper tone I could do so with the twist of only one knob rather than fiddling around with multiple and hoping I get it right mid song.
The pickups themselves differ from most P/J setups in that they seem to offer a lot more low end than similar pickups produced by other companies. This is especially noticeably on the J-style bridge pickup which, while still offering the sharp attack you’d expect does not become overly thin sounding, even when played solo with the tone control rolled all the way up. The neck pickup can give a deep Motown thump, a heavy metal growl or anything in between depending on where you set the tone controls.
Much like my earlier review of the Reverend Six Gun, my choice to review the Reverend Decision bass first came down to flexibility. For over 50 years P-style basses have been trusted by musicians worldwide, from amateur bedroom players to professionals playing stadium gigs. The Reverend Decision lives up to this legacy, delivering a simple yet versatile experience that I feel the majority of players would appreciate. So whether you’re looking for your first bass guitar or just a new instrument to add to your stable, the Reverend Decision is worth taking a very close look at.