OUR STORY

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Reverend has grown from auspicious beginnings to become one of the fastest growing, and most respected US guitar companies today. Based in the greater Detroit area, Reverend enjoys worldwide acclaim, having established an extensive US and international dealer network, an enviable artist roster, and numerous industry awards.

Joe Naylor launched Reverend in 1997, working out of a small East Detroit garage behind a bicycle shop. Drawing heavily on his industrial design background, luthiery school training, and professional guitar repair experience, Joe’s guitars and basses turned heads right from the start.

As Reverend rapidly grew, Naylor knew he needed a business partner who could handle the growing sales and general day-to-day management. Enter Ken Haas, respected local player and guitar fanatic, who just happened to be a professional sales rep as well! As fate would have it, one of Ken’s close friends told him about “a really cool guitar from some new local company”. Intrigued, Haas purchased said guitar, then headed to the Reverend facility and insisted he be put to work. Joe agreed, and the rest is history. Haas was named Head of Sales in 2007, became General Manager in 2010, and the successful partnership continues to this day.

Another key player on the Rev team is Zack Green. This boy wonder has served as Naylor’s chief setup guru since 1999, and you’ll find his initials hand written on the back of every headstock. It’s this kind of hands-on attention to detail that makes every Reverend gig-ready right out of the box.
Over the years, Reverend has established a refreshing yet practical design approach, melding player-friendly features with classic style that recalls the greats of yesteryear without looking or sounding like cheap, slavish imitations. This forward thinking attitude has attracted musicians of all levels and genres.

Some of the company’s earliest players included local-boy-makes-good Kid Rock, virtuosos Carl Verheyen, Rick Vito and Brad Houser, and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. These artists were soon followed by Reeves Gabrels, Ron Asheton, Pete Anderson, Meshell Ndegeocello and many, many more. Of course, this short list doesn’t include everybody. From the well known to the just-now-making-a-name-for-themselves, players of all stripes are impressed because Reverend pays attention to what makes an instrument the kind of instrument players want to play. And that, by the way, is where Reverend’s attention will always lie.

THE REVEREND TEAM

JOE NAYLOR launched Reverend in 1997 in East Detroit. A guitarist since 1980, he holds a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design, and is a graduate of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery. Joe has repaired guitars professionally since 1981, and opened his own vintage guitar/repair shop in 1992. That store evolved into J.F. Naylor Engineering, known for the now collectable Naylor amps and speakers. A tireless designer, Joe owns several guitar related patents, and has conceived many other innovative guitar products including Armor Gold Cables, StringDog Products, the Heads Up Strap, All-Tone Speakers and Railhammer Pickups. To date, products designed by Joe have won no less than 19 awards from major guitar and industry magazines. Naylor continues to handle all product design and technical support at Reverend.
KEN HAAS is Reverend’s General Manager and is in charge of sales, artist relations, trade shows and, well, anything else that needs to be done. Ken started with Reverend demoing guitars at trade shows and was promoted to Head of Sales in 2007, then became General Manager in 2010. Ken has been playing guitar since 1981 (he’s amassed quite a collection since then) and currently plays in The Polka Floyd Show with his wife, Penny. He also plays steel guitar in The Zimmerman Twins. Ken’s the father of four and the proud owner of a sweet Mustang Cobra.
Zak Ward ZAK WARD is Reverend’s Sales rep. Zak has worked NAMM shows for Reverend sense 2011 and starting working full time June of 2014. Zak has been playing guitar since 1990 and currently plays in his self tilted band “Zak Ward & Co”.
ZACK GREEN sets up, inspects, and play tests every Reverend guitar that goes out the door. His initials (ZSG) are on the back of every guitar and bass Reverend makes. A guitarist since 1984, Zack began repairing guitars professionally in 1991. In his spare time, Zack restores vintage arcade games and muscle cars, and maintains a collection of about 50 guitars.
ANDREW CLARK holds a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and is our one-man technology department; handling marketing, photography, graphics and website content. He’s also a long time Reverend and Railhammer Pickups endorser, fronting his Toledo based rock bands Highbinder and Troublegiant.
PENNY HAAS is Event Coordinator, organizing all of the trade shows and company events, as well as assisting with sales, marketing and press. She brings a civilized charm to the booth in contrast to the sometimes unruly behavior of Ken and Joe, and “makes the trains run on time”. Penny holds a Bachelors Degree in Art History & Film, has been a pianist since 1981, guitarist since 1999, and plays keys in The Polka Floyd Show with Ken. She’s also a proud mom and/or step-mom of four.
CHRIS ZIELINKSI is the warehouse manager and the newest addition to the Reverend family. He’s responsible for all incoming and outgoing merchandise, as well as trying to make everyone else’s job a little easier. Chris started taking bass lessons in 1982, and was playing in his dad’s polka band by the 8th grade. He now plays bass in The Polka Floyd Show alongside Ken and Penny.

REVEREND ROAD CREW

johnny_cola JOHNNY COLA often works guitar shows on the East Coast, and every musician seems to know him and his “New Yawk” accent. A guitarist and bassist since 1971, he’s been published in Vintage Guitar magazine, frequents jams and blues festivals, haunts NYC guitar shops, and is proud to be FDP Member #13.
nick_malamis NICK MALAMIS brings his salesmanship and enthusiasm for guitars to trade shows across the country. He’s an avid collector, and is also known as the man who first showed a Reverend guitar to Ken Haas.