Last week, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Reverend Guitars announced the release of the Jenn Wasner Signature Guitar. We couldn’t wait for the guitar to hit the shelves this summer, we called up the instrument makers to learn more.
“We’ve been working with Jenn for about ten years,” says Penny Haas, who co-owns Reverend with her husband Ken Haas. “She plays our Charger HB and Jetstream HB models in her various projects: Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes, Dungeonesse. Jenn asked us to make a guitar to match her stage outfit for her upcoming release with her solo project Flock of Dimes, and Ken thought it would be a great way to do a Signature Model for her—she was always on the short-list [of prospective collaborators], it was just a matter of finding the right project.”
Based in Toledo, Ohio, Reverend Guitars has developed signature instruments for a number of musicians Kenn describes as having “crazy talented, but totally original voices” including legends like The Stooges’ guitarist Ron Asheton, Cure guitarist Reeves Gabrels, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello (who donated one of her signature Fellowship basses to the soon-to-be-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture). The process typically starts with Reverend approaching the artist collaborating on their ideal instrument. “What we want to do is to make the actual instrument that the artist is going to tour with,” Ken said.
The Jenn Wasner Signature Guitar came about from a different direction. Though she had asked for a custom instrument, she hadn’t anticipated that her request would inspire something more. “Once we go through the work to put the pattern on the guitar, why make just one? Why not offer it to her fans, too?” Ken.said.
He approached Wasner with the idea, and while she had some mixed feelings about the concept of her own signature instrument, she ultimately chose to go ahead with the project.
“I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to contribute to normalizing the image of someone who looks like me playing this or any instrument — not as a novelty, or an accessory, but as a tool to create exactly as I see fit,” wrote Wasner in an statement she published on Medium.
The Jenn Wasner signature guitar is similar to the Charger HB that she has been playing for years. It features a Korina body, a maple bolt-on neck, and Reverend’s Special H Humbuckers among other elements.
The distinctive black-and-white pattern across the guitar, dubbed “Optic Interruption,” was created in collaboration with Baltimore-based textile artist April Camlin, who designed the jumpsuit Wasner wears onstage. At Reverend, guitar designer and company founder Joe Naylor and his daughter Lindsey Naylor (“a fantastic graphic designer in her own right,” Haas said) adapted the design for the face of the guitar. The sides and back of the instrument are in Midnight Black, which further highlights the pattern’s vivid look.
The Reverend Jenn Wasner Signature will be available for purchase in August. Find out more about the instrument here.