Tim Kierstead - Tightrope Band
Reith Custom Mini-HT™ H/S/S, Live at The Parish Center for the Arts.

Tim is the owner of Music Your Way, a small private company just west of Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to his training in Boston, Tim has been playing the guitar for over 25 years and teaching for 15 years. After playing two Reith Guitar models in studio sessions and live in concert, he provided the following review.

Reith Guitars are built for both clarity and responsiveness, making these models particularly desirable for studio musician. The lightest of touches produces a crystal clear note with clarity extending all the way across the sweep of the bend. This is the only guitar in my 25 years of experience that I could plug into a tube amp cranked up and not have the typical buzz.

What makes a Reith Guitar so unique is its uncompromising quality and attention to detail. All components are designed to produce the cleanest sound while allowing the musician maximum versatility in play. The neck is composed of a graphite composite that emulates wood. You get the durability of a solid graphite neck without the tinny sound that can come from a solid material. The design also allows for clean action across the full length of the neck.

The bridge unit, custom designed by Todd Reith, is solid as a rock and comfortable to play. It provides a good point of contact and anchor for quick picking techniques. This Sonic Block bridge tuner allows musicians maximum customization for setting intonation and action.

The pickup selector is a Schaller Megaswitch, known for its quiet selection. And, the tone knob actually does something - it can take the edge off without losing your signal.

I played two models - the HSS (1 humbucker and 2 single coils) and the HSH. The HSS model has a very warm tone. In terms of mainstream guitars, this would be most similar to a Les Paul. The pickup selection is a unique bridge and neck combination. In contrast to the typical middle pickup, this design has a significant amount of punch. The other model, the HSH, has a coil tap in the volume knob, which allows you to get that versatility that few guitars have. You can get a very bright tone. The first time I played this I didn't realize the coil tap was on I thought I was playing a humbucker, and then I swithced the humbucker on a near Back to the Future experience!

One thing I am particularly fond of is the versatility. You can easily shift from the biting tone of a Telecaster, to the raw twang of a Stratacaster, all the way to the warm tone of a Les Paul - but with added flexibility of volume. The signal remains clean across the range of sounds and volumes, with insane sustain.

The body shape is extremely well balanced for comfort and playability. You don't need to sit with a strap in order to keep the guitar from moving. The guitar is designed to fit comfortably against the rib cage and stay put. As someone who tends to move about during a studio session, I don't like to spend precious time adjusting my guitar. When playing the Reith Guitar, my left hand is free to play instead of making adjustments in position.

The guitars are available in an array of finishes. One of the models I played, the HSH, had a high gloss black finish that looked great under the lights. The other guitar had a quilted maple top with a fire burst finish. The subtle changes from yellow-orange to deep cherry have a glowing effect. It looks great on stage too! I had several members of the audience tell me that it looked like it was on fire!

Of all of the guitars I have played, including Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, and some more obscure brands - this guitar is head and shoulders above the rest. The playability and touch response is incomparable, making it a great studio tool. With perfect balance, great tonality, superb response, and amazing versatility, Reith Guitars are perfect for the studio musician. Because of the refined design, you don't need to rely so much on exterior electronics to enhance your sound.

Overall, if you are a studio musician, this is a must.