Price paid: £ 200
Purchased from: Local music shop
Sound — 10
The sound of this guitar is where it really gets a chance to stand out. This guitar would appear to be made for all out metal and nothing else, but in this instance you definitely should NOT judge a book by it's cover. I play a variety of musical styles, admittedly it's mainly metal, but if I hear a song that I like it's genre won't stop me from learning it. I have learnt a fair few pop, classic rock, country / western songs as well. This guitar can play any of those brilliantly. I play through a Peavey Vypyr 15Peavey Vypyr 15, it's a great starter combo amp and with this guitar I can get pretty much any kind of sound from it I want, all the way from some soft blues, and jazz up to ludicrously full gain metal, I doesn't seem to have a weakness. Along with the Floyd Rose style bridge there's basically no noise you can do on any other guitar that this one can't imitate. There's very little noise, and what feedback there is I honestly don't know if to blame it on the guitar or the fact I have a 6 meter cable but never sit more than three feet from the amp. Overall the sound is perfect for what you'd expect the guitar to be able to manage, and also perfect for everything else, so for that I honestly think it deserves a ten.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar gives a brilliant overall impression, it can play any kind of music brilliantly, all though it would look weird playing anything other than metal live at a gig. I have only been playing for a little over two years now, this is my second guitar, my only other is an Ibanez RGD320, which I no longer use thanks to this Washburn. I love that it can manage any type of music and seems virtually indestructible, the only downside is it's insane weight. If it were stolen, I would find the person responsible and break them with the guitar, knowing full well that it would probably survive unscathed and he wouldn't. If I couldn't find them I would search as best I could to get a new one, but I'm not sure I'd find one as it's no longer in production. I couldn't settle for a Dean ML after playing this guitar, I've compared my Washburn with my friend's Dean and we have both agreed that mine is the better guitar by hundreds of thousands of miles.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Will this guitar withstand live playing? Yes. Definitely. It's very solid. To be honest I have been rather careless with it, being as it's such a large guitar I've hit walls, shelves and door frames moving this behemoth around the house. Each and every time I think "Oh f**k, I hope that hasn't left a mark" and it never has. Considering the guitars age (It can only have been made as late as 2004 before Dimebag returned his endorsement to Dean guitars) the hardware has definitely lasted. Everything on the guitar is original, the electronics, the pickups, the bridge are as they were when they came from the factory. There is almost no rust on any metallic parts, apart from the screws in the pickup housings, which is surprising, again considering it's age. I have never had any issues with this guitar's reliability and I would gladly gig without a backup and not a care in the world. The finish doesn't seem to have worn anywhere except a little bit on the back of the guitar where the plastic strap buckle bas been pressed against it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I have no idea how well the guitar was set up at the factory, it was bought second hand from my local music shop (As far as I know Washburn no longer produce this guitar as I believe it's Dimebag Darrell's own design, and he handed his endorsement back to Dean before he was killed). To be brutally honest my local shop hadn't done a brilliant job in setting up or checking the guitar before it was sold. The action was quite poor and the twenty-second fret choked the twenty-first on the high-e string, I resorted to carefully filling the fret down myself. The pickups were perfectly in place, I haven't had to adjust them since I bought the guitar, and once I had lowered the bridge and sorted the fret out, it plays absolutely brilliantly. Seeing as I have no way to tell if the flaws were due to the previous owner or if the guitar came from the factory like this, it would be unfair to lower it's score too much.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in Korea with an alder body, maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is quite thick but is comfortable to play, and has twenty-two frets. It's body style is basically identical to the Dean ML although in comparison it seems a LOT heavier than any ML I've played, it's cut-away gives a very nice access to all of the frets, and despite it's weight and peculiar shape it's very comfortable to play. You just need a strong back. It has a locking trem made using Floyd Rose licensed parts and a locking nut. It has two humbucking pickups (One bridge, one neck), both stock Washburn pickups that came with the guitar, two volume controls and one tone, which works nice as one pickup can be zeroed and function as a kill-switch, but the volume controls aren't too great as anything between 3 and 10 will give you the same sound. The electronics are passive. It also came with it's own hard case, which is very solid but practically doubles the weight of the guitar. The features that are there can't be faulted apart from the volume controls, but nothing really stands out and it's made entirely from Washburn's own parts apart from the bridge.