Washburn Idol WI-64V

Saturday, May 31, 2008| by Will Chen

 

Indonesian Idol

Washburn introduced their Idol series in 1999 with the goal of creating a modern classic and, I must admit, the Tele meets SG meets Les Paul aesthetics certainly do catch the eye.

The Idol we’re judging today is Indonesian made and from the vintage series offering a reliced blond finish (also available in black). I’m not a huge fan of reliced finishes. More often than not, they’re not worn in the right spots and come off a little like a pair of “vintaged” blue jeans, all style and no substance. Fortunately, Washburn has done a decent job with the satin finish without over doing it. More impressive is the aged hardware which looks fantastic.

The guitar has a fairly thin, nicely contoured body, which feels just right for lounging around strumming on the couch. However, stand up and the guitar seems to naturally balance in a close to horizontal position. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it suffers from neck dive, but those who prefer a more upward tilting neck will be a little disappointed.

I was also a little disappointed to find some slightly rough fret ends in this price bracket. Otherwise, the medium, mahogany neck and 14” radius, rosewood fretboard felt outstanding. The satin finish gives the neck an extremely smooth and sexy feel, which coupled with the subdued heel, allowed very comfortable access all the way up to the 22nd fret. This is one comfy neck. The Grover 18:1 tuners were as smooth as butter and the guitar stays in tune without issue.

Quite the opposite of the old school vibe of the cosmetics, this guitar features some very modern features, such as the Buzz Feiten Tuning System and Washburn’s Voice Contour Control (VCC), which claims to offer a variable coil tap allowing both humbucking and single coil tones.

Well, overall the pickups are voiced too dark to get anywhere near a good traditional single coil tone. That being said, the VCC does offer a wide range of very usable tones. My favorite was the bridge pickup with the control around 80% which cut the output down into vintage PAF, AC/DC territory; which really complemented the overall vibe of the guitar. Rolling the control up to 100% during solos was like kicking in a boost pedal. Super-duper fly! I’ve never heard anything quite like this before. I really like the concept, but unfortunately the VCC is offered in place of traditional tone controls. Two VCC controls with a master volume and tone knob would’ve offered maximum tonal versatility.

This Washburn WI-64V has vibe for days and a cool mix of unique features, offering the modern player with traditional roots a great complement to straddle the line between yesterday and tomorrow.

Price: ~$540 USD
Pros: Cool Vibe, unique electronics
Cons: Slightly rough fret ends, lack of traditional tone controls

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Filed Under: Washburn, Reviews