Saturday, July 21, 2018

Review: Washburn Idol WI65 Pro

Hello and welcome to this week's article!

Today we are going to review a classic Washburn guitar (sorry for the picture that is not very clear, it is one of the few I have) I owned for 5 years, in the mid 2000s, and which paved the way to the Washburn philosophy that still today is applied on the latest serie, the Parallaxe.

Washburn is a string instrument producer born in 1883 in Chicago (Il), and it has always distinguished itself for the implementation of particular patented technologies, such as the Buzz Feiten tuning system (a compensated nut saddle that granted a better string intonation), the Stephen's extended cutaway (a particular bolt-on neck joint that allows the guitarist to reach the higher frets with more ease), and the Voice Contour Control (also known as VCC, it's a knob that allows to switch gradually from a humbucker pickup to its coil split version, with all the shades in between).

Today the company produces both in Usa and in the far east, according to the model serie, and has among its featured artists Nuno Bettencourt, Jennifer Batten, Michael Sweet and Scott Ian (Anthrax).

The guitar we are reviewing today is a Korean made model for the year 2005/2006 and it is Idol shape, which is a single cut model a bit wider and thinner than a Les Paul (it's the model used also by Scott Ian of Anthrax), and as I said it had already the same philosophy of the recent Parallaxe serie, meaning that it offers for a medium price many of the typical upgrades that guitarists perform on a guitar after they buy it: premium pickups (two Seymour Duncan: a Custom-Custom and a '59, but there are models also with a Jb on the bridge), the aforementioned Buzz Feiten tuning system and VCC, and Grover tuners, which are some of the best in the market.

With these features the guitar is good to go: no further upgrades are needed (unless you want a different sounding pickup), no cheap parts to replace. The only thing that cannot be replaced obviously is the wood, and this is where probably the company did some economy, since it's mahogany, but it's extremely light, and maybe it's the reason why the guitar is mid priced (it started around 900$, today it can be found for less than half the price).
The Idol model today is offered both in Parallaxe version (which is more premium) and its basic version, which is more entry level.

Aesthetically speaking this model has a beautiful satin finish, inlay dots only on the side of the black painted keyboard, black hardware and a skull sticker in the headstock.

The guitar is extremely well finished and playable, the fingerboard is smooth, the back of the neck has the same satin finish that makes it very fast to play, and the VCC lets us achieve a very wide range of tones, from the most aggressive to more mellow (but noise free) single coil sounds, and it's especially good with the neck pickup, the 59 that in my opinion is one of the best neck p.u. on the market.

The only downside of this guitar is the wood: it's lightweight and doesn't add much body to the tone, so the sound is sometimes a bit too trebly, expecially with distiortion, but all in all I absolutely suggest anyone to try it, because the quality-to-price ratio is still one of the most favorable in the market.

Thumbs up!


- Mahogany body. One-piece set mahogany neck for a better sustain.

- Exotic rosewood fingerboard.

- Voice contour control (VCC) for both pickups

- Grover 18:1 machine heads

- Buzz Feiten tuning system

- Seymour Duncan US humbuckers (Custom-Custom and '59)

- Black hardware

- Matte finish

- 22 frets

- Tune-o-matic bridge with stop tailpiece

- 3-way toggle switch

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