Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here again, bringing you your typical dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I get to bring you guys a review of a guitars that has just been flying off the shelves here at WMS, the Washburn RX12. The Washburn RX12 comes in two basic formats, the string thru version, which features chrome hardware and a vintage TOM style bridge, or the RX12 is also available in a Floyd Rose equipped version, which features black hardware.
The standard string thru model features Washburn designed humbuckers, a solid basswood body, a bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. Although its features sound rather blasé, it actually sounds really good. The humbuckers are surprisingly powerful, on a clean setting I actually really dug the sound of the bridge pickup, as it wasn’t super bright, but it had enough cut to do its job, and the neck pickup was fluty and warm, almost jazzy in the right light. The neck was thin, but not too thin, with enough girth to it to keep the guitar toneful, and to make chording a breeze. Turning up the dirt this guitar really started to sing, with big bold tones that sustained for days, with plenty of midrange cut and bite to it.
The plus of having a string thru body is that the added mass attached at the strings anchor point increases not only the sustain, but also the harmonic content of the strings as they are connected to a much more solid, stable base. This means that the RX12 not only has sustain for days, but when you crank up the volume, and turn up the distortion, this guitar has a very rich complex sound, which lends itself to everything from classic rock chording, to modern soloing. The String thru version is also available in a lot more colors than the Floyd Rose model, as it comes in black, white, red, and sunburst all of which are very classy, and attractive.
The Floyd Rose model, the RX12FR on the other hand is available in only one color at the moment , Metallic Black, which I lovingly keep calling “bowling ball black” as it has tiny, star like flecks of reflective material in it, which reminds me of a bowling ball far more than say, a motor cycle paint job, which I find attractive. I honestly love this guitar, its simple, its straight forward, and it sounds great. Now granted I might be biased, because as of a week ago, I actually bought and own one of these bad boys. The floating trem is perfect for any kind of hard rock styling, from Steve Vai style warble, Satriani screams, Dimebag dive bombs, to anything you can dream up. The sound of this guitar is a tad different as there is less mass to the guitar, and the bridge is made of different densities of steel, and has more moving parts than the string thru variant. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t sound amazing, because it does!
Clean, this guitar still has that same fluty, clear tone as the string thru version, but with a broader, more even sound. The sustain is surprisingly good, I say surprising as I suspected it would be less so. What with all the extra moving parts and less mass in the overall design, but the sustain was at least comparable to the string thru version. The harmonic content was different however, where as the string thru guitar sounded fuller, this guitar sounded much more focused, with a sound that seems more suited to lead playing, where the string thru seems more suited to rhythm work, as the Floyd Rose guitar seems to leap out of the mix and the string thru seems to sit in the mix far better.
What ever your need, and what ever your style there is an RX12 for you, and they have never been as affordable as they are right now. Their design is simple, and attractive, their sound is complex and dynamic, and their price is unbelievable. For all of these reasons, I have to give the RX12 series a deserved 10 out of 10.