Revelation guitars was originally a concept brought to the UK by the giant German company Hohner in the ’90s. The UK’s Alan Entwistle, one of the best backroom boys in the guitar business, was a major influence behind the circuitry, the pickups and the guitar designs at the time. However, before Revelation could really get going, in the mid ’90s a shift of emphasis in Hohner’s global strategy killed off the Revelation project. For a decade the Revelation name lay dormant, then in May 2010, the company that had taken over Hohner’s distribution in the UK, Sutherland Trading, revived the Revelation brand still, happily, with Alan Entwistle’s involvement.
We borrowed a Revelation RJT-60 for this review. It’s a striking looking guitar drawing some inspiration from the Jazzmaster shape, which is a brave choice as the original normally generates a love or hate response – but there’s no denying it has an impact, especially finished in the sky baby blue as ours was! A cream finish adds to the overall vintage look of this guitar.
The RJT-60 has an all alder body which is light in weight, resonates well and matches nicely a Canadian maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, giving a balanced tone overall, airing slightly on the bright side. I’m a fan of lightweight guitars. Gone are the days of thinking heavier means better quality/more bottom end. With correct wood matching you can achieve all the tones under the sun, without having to be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold it for any longer than five minutes… so big thumbs up from me in the weight department!
Tuning stability came courtesy of increased strength nickel tuners and bridge with trem, all set up perfectly well with no tuning or intonation issues. The fretboard was a pleasure to play with a user friendly action, smooth frets and giant markers to prevent you getting lost. At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking this guitar was loaded with two humbuckers but they are in fact single coils designed by Entwistle and they have a pretty cool trick up their sleeve. There’s a three-way switch to select between the two pickups or the two combined, however, there is also a five-way switch at the top of the guitar that further alters the tone from each pickup. You could select the bridge pickup for brightness then use the five-way switch to slightly blend in the tone of the neck and cut some of the high end, meaning there are many tonal possibilities to this guitar. It’s a great idea and works very well. The pickup sounds were good although not particularly high in output.
This is a great looking guitar with a pallete of tonal options. The finish, attention to detail and set up were all top notch, and I was even more impressed once I saw the price tag. Alan Entwistle is a well respected name in the guitar community and he wouldn’t put his name to something that he didn’t believe in and his fantastic pickups work a treat in this guitar. If you are in the market for something a little different or have some spare cash for another addition to the family you won’t go far wrong with the Revelation RJT-60. You may not find it easy to try one, however as they are fairly rare, even in the UK. This is a shame as though they might seem to inhabit that low-cost ‘replica’ sector of the market, when you play one you realise they’re individual guitars in their own right and actually give the obvious ‘big brand’ equivalents something to think about.