World Music Supply | Washburn Electrics

Hey guys, Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you some much needed guitar and gear reviews for the weekend. This Saturday I got the chance to review two guitars that just came into the warehouse from our friends over at Washburn. One of the things we love about Washburn, is they cater to every price bracket, and every genre of guitarist, from Metal to country, from acoustics for singer songwriters to jazz cats with their arch top hollow bodies. Today I get to sample some of these instruments, one that is universal, one that is a little less…traditional. First up, let’s start off with that more universal guitar, the Washburn WINSTDWH.

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

The Washburn WINSTDWH Idol WIN Standard Series Electric Guitar

I used the term “universal” for a reason, the single cutaway, mahogany body with maple top, and two humbuckers is a real universal combination. Worn on stages around the world by everyone from metal guitarists, who love the huge sound of the two hot humbuckers, to country guitarists who like its more conservative look, and its bright twangy tones, this guitar really has a universally loved design, and an equally loved sound. I picked the white finish, as I personally just love white Les Paul style guitars; call it a hold over from my teenage years of idolizing Randy Rhoads. The WINSTDWH comes pretty well armed when it comes to everything from tonewoods to it’s Duncan USM Alnico 5 pickups, and over all they make this guitar sound just amazing.

Running clean this guitar has a bright and strident tone, with lots of girth and body. The neck feels super comfortable, with plenty of body to it, so it didn’t feel super modern, but thin enough that you can still play fast without too much extra effort. The bridge pickup was a tad bright, with a warm vintage character. The neck humbucker is warm and fat sounding, without sounding muddy or bass heavy. The different control layout of the volume and tone controls makes doing pinky volume swells far easier than with the typical volume and tone layout, which is something I have had a problem with for years.

Running into a dirty amp, this guitar sounds massive! The sustain is fantastic thanks to its proven tone woods and set neck design, and the Alnico 5 pickups are hot, with a searing quality to them that is just delightful. I was able to coax everything out of this guitar, from classic 70’s style blues rock, to down tuned metal, to good old rock and roll grind. The sound is distinct, but familiar, with a sound that is both old and new. That’s what I love about this style of guitar, every generation has re-invented it, taken it in a new direction, and made it their own. You can play rock on it, metal, country, heck even jazz, this guy really does everything! You just cant go wrong with this guy, and that’s why the WINSTDWH earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

The Washburn PS7000-HBK PAUL STANLEY Electric Guitar

Next up, is the Paul Stanley PS7000 series, and in today’s review specifically, the PS7000HBK. I labeled this guitar as untraditional earlier in the blog, and there is a definite reason why. From its weird drooping lower cutaway, its upper bout that looks far different than most, and its over all asymmetrical design, the PS7000 might look like a typical les paul from far away, up close it looks like one, but only in the surrealist sense of the word.  

As weird as this guitar might look, it sounds down right awesome. The clean tones are deep and rich, with perfect intonation all across the neck thanks to the inclusion of the Buzz Feiten tuning system. The action was smooth and clean, and try as I might I couldn’t find any lick that didn’t sound awesome on this guitar. All of the KISS songs I know also sounded just perfect on this guitar, as the tone was clearly designed from the ground up to compliment them.

Dirty, this guitar was a treat. The warm characteristic it leant to the overdriven amp was just to die for, it felt vintage, but it looks like it came from outer space. The sustain was tremendous, lasting on and on with a warm vocal quality. Overall this guitar is a great addition to the growing Paul Stanley family of Washburn guitars, and a great LP style guitar for anyone who wants one, but doesn’t want to look like everyone else. For its unusual looks, and super powered sounds, the PS7000HBK scores itself a solid 10 out of 10.

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World Music Supply | Paul Stanley Signature Washburns

Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and today I am happy to announce that I get to talk to you guys about two of the coolest guitars we have here at WMS right now, those being the PS1800 and PSV2200 Paul Stanley signature models. Paul Stanley has been the longtime front man of KISS, and has always needed his guitars to be just as flashy as his persona. In 2006 Paul Stanley began collaborating with Washburn to create guitars with just as much stage presence as the man behind them, from this idea arose the PS1800, and the PSV2200, guitars with all of the outlandish stylings of the man himself.

The Paul Stanley PS1800 in White

The Paul Stanley PS1800 in White

Both guitars come in a variety of finishes, with the PS1800 in white, and covered head to toe in rhinestones, and the PSV2200 in black, white, in a similar rhinestone covering, and a cracked mirror finish. These two guitars have similar appointments, from their mahogany bodies and necks, to their use of the Buzz Feiten tuning system. However don’t get the wrong idea, these are two very distinct guitars, with two very different voices, so without further ado, lets get to the reviews.

The Paul Stanley PS1800 in White

The Paul Stanley PS1800 in White

First up is the PS1800 in white, I chose white as it’s a little bit more my style, and also, it doesn’t cost enough to make me overly cautious while I played it. The first thing I notice, even before the outlandish shape of the body, is the fretboard inlays, which are just downright gorgeous. They are half Mother of pearl, and on the other half of the inlay is abalone shell, this adds up for an expensive looking and downright stunning inlay work. Next up to be noticed is of course the strangely shaped body, which is about as far from a conventional shape as you can get. This is certainly a distinct guitar, no ones going to accuse this of being a clone of any other model, and no one is going to accuse this shape of being anything but unique.

Plugged in this guitar has one heck of a speaking voice, as the Randall designed UL and Ultra XL are two amazing pickups, with tons of bark, and growl. Playing through the dozen or so KISS songs I know on this guitar was fun, as the guitar just hangs in a certain way, and definitely looks cool enough to make you really feel like a real rock star. The clean tone is bright and jangly, and at times almost acoustic sounding and the distorted and overdriven tones definitely have that “Detroit rock city” style grind to them. I did get out the Rhinestone version of this guitar for a few minutes, to see if the increased mass of the rhinestones did anything for the already thick tone of this guitar, which they did, but just slightly, what they did best however was act like a mirror ball. They refract light in such a way that this thing creates one awesome light show, and who knows what it would do with some real lights, or maybe even lasers in front of it.

The Paul Stanley PS1800 Rhinestone Finish

The Paul Stanley PS1800 Rhinestone Finish

For what it is, the PS1800 is a beast, it’s definitely not your everyday guitar, and it really is designed to be one big eye catching machine. The Standard white version is a god send for anyone in a cover band, as you finally have the look and sound of those classic KISS songs, at a price that won’t leave you high and dry, and the rhinestone model is a definite for anyone who really just wants to be in your face and really own the stage. For its ability to actually get you the tones of those classic KISS songs, and look awesome while doing it, the PS1800 earns a definite 10 out of 10.

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 in White

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 in White

Next up is the PSV2200 which a totally different beast altogether. First and foremost, this guitar has a very vintage feel and voice to it, as opposed to the PS1800, which has an almost post-modern look to it, this guitar definitely feels like an old favorite. I chose yet again to play the white one, as it is far more my style than the other three, and also, I wasn’t as worried about scuffing the finish. This guitar has the same distinctive Mother of Pearl and Abalone inlays that just call out to me, and this guitar also sports a giant mirrored pickguard, which does a great job of being…well…a mirror. On stage this guy would reflect all of the house lighting back into the crowd, which would prove for one awesome addition to any light show.

Plugged in this guitar has a really cool sound, as the lone Seymour Duncan JB pickup just oozes classic rock tone. The sound is definitely defined, and bold, but never overly bright, this allows this guitar to perfectly fill out the rhythm guitar role that Paul Stanley has filled for decades, always a perfect halfway point between the soaring lead guitar parts, and the chugging bass lines. Playing the same dozen or so KISS riffs I know on this guitar proved interesting, as this guitar has quite a different tone than the PS1800, clean this guitar is what you would expect, bright, and with the tone rolled down, it has some more “acoustic” sounding clean tones, but over all this guitar is designed to be played distorted. Playing through an overdriven amp, this guitar was a lot less “Detroit rock city” and a bit more “I was made for loving you” as its tone is definitely more focused and defined. This allowed for bigger chords to come out with the same presence and power across the spectrum, no string over powering another, just big classic rock goodness.

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 Cracked Mirror Finish

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 Cracked Mirror Finish

The PSV2200 is one heck of a Rock n’ Roll machine, with more than enough power and punch to satisfy even the Starchild himself. Although the design is a tad simplistic, the image of this guitar on stage, with the lights shining off of its mirrored pickgaurd certainly makes up for its straightforward approach. For its ability to do just what you need it to, and nothing you don’t. the PSV2200 gets a solid 10 out of 10.

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 Cracked Mirror

The Paul Stanley PSV2200 Cracked Mirror

World Music Supply | Charvel Guitars

Hey everyone, it’s Brian here from World Music Supply again, to bring you yet another round of guitar reviews. Today we have a special treat, and that is because today we’re reviewing Charvel guitars Desolation, Skatecaster, and So-Cal series of guitars. Charvel Guitars was started by Wayne Charvel after working for three years at Fender in the early 70’s. Wayne Charvel left and started “Charvel’s Guitar Repair” to repair and refinish older Fender instruments. The shop earned a reputation among local musicians for its custom finishes, and handmade upgrade parts. After a number of foreign manufactures began to copy and sell Charvel style parts, Charvel made the decision to start producing complete guitars.

First up on the block today is the Desolation series, which are Charvels more modern shred ready guitars, available in single and double cutaway variants as well as a soloist version. They all feature sleek body shapes, a thin, and very fast neck profile, as well, most of the models in the desolation line come loaded with either active Seymour Duncan, or EMG humbuckers, and are decorated with abalone binding and inlays. For my review I picked a nice representative of the line, in the guise of the DS-1 Standard in transparent “blue smear”.  

The Charvel DS-1

The Charvel DS-1

Aesthetically, this guitar is fantastic, with its majestically sculpted body, and the stunning wood grain on the flamed maple top and headstock cover, this thing really does look great. Sonically this guitar is also a treat, as its Seymour Duncan pickups sound far different and much more natural than many other active pickups I’ve heard thus far, with much more clarity and “spank” then you would expect from a guitar like this.

With the Desolation running through a clean rig, this guitar had all of the body and brightness, as well as the dynamic response that you would expect out of a passive guitar, but with all of the volume and clarity that you would expect out of an active system, meaning my clean tones were huge! The neck is the right kind of thin to where you can still chord on it, without your hand cramping up, but you can also shred on it, without your hand likewise cramping up. The tone was lively and surprisingly jazz friendly, with all of the sparkle and shimmer that you need to play really smooth, all without ever losing its low end definition or bite. Chording on the neck was surprisingly comfortable, and the tone was always lush and complex.

Switching to a dirtier channel, it felt like the guitar “woke up” so to speak, it suddenly had all of those big searing distorted tones that you would typically expect out of an active guitar, but it also has all of the definition of its clean setting counterpart. This means that your dirty tones have all of the bite and punch that you want them too, but also so much clarity that you can still play big chords without it sounding muddy. Lead lines are bold and easy to play with the thin neck profile, and they always had a big warm edge to them thanks to the mahogany body and neck through design. Overall the Charvel Desolation series seems like they’re a real contender when it comes to the modern guitar market, and should not be overlooked. Thanks to their superb construction, jaw dropping good looks, and sweet sounds, the Desolation series earns itself a well earned 10 out of 10.

The Charvel Skatecaster SK-1

The Charvel Skatecaster SK-1

Next up, is the Skatecaster, a slick re-imagining of Charvels famous Surfcaster guitar, which was one of their more famous models of the 90’s and early 2000’s. The Skatecaster is Charvels attempt to breath new life into an old guitar, by taking all of the things that made the Surfcaster smooth, and vintage looking, and seemingly replacing them with a modern, hard edged, metal attitude. The first and most strikingly obvious differences are the lack of a pickgaurd, and a hollow body, making it actually more closely related to the Jackson Outcaster, but I digress. The lack of the pickgaurd makes it look less like the Italian guitars it once resembled, like Eko or Galanti, and more like a Jazzmaster that has been left in the sun too long, which if I’m honest, is still a pretty cool shape.

The lack of its hollowbody seems to be purely based on functionality, because now that this guitar has been redesigned for hard rock and metal, a hollow body would just feed back at the volumes this guitar has been designed for. For my sound test, I’ve decided on the SK-1 FR in Flat Black, which seemed like exactly the point of this new line, shear, shred metal power. With its hot EMG pickups, the SK-1 had a clean tone that was expectedly smooth and dark, with all the tones I have come to expect from these wonderful pickups. Everything I played was exaggerated, all of my highs were higher, and all of my lows were lower, all of my chicken pickin’ was snappier, and all of my jazzy chording was wider and more complex.

Turning up the gain on the amp however, and yet again I was assaulted by that familiar EMG 81/85 shout, with all of the snarl and aggression they were designed for. The best part about this guitar however, was by far the neck, which was lightning fast, and with the handsome abalone inlays, was just as good looking as it was sounding. The Floyd felt like a nice addition to this guitar, as it gave the guitar a slightly different personality than the guitar it is succeeding, the Surfcaster, which had a two point non locking trem. The lead tones to this guitar are searing and poignant, with the right amount of high end to cut through the mix, but never sound sharp or “buzzsaw” like. In the end, I like the Skatecaster, it takes the fun loving, guitar for guitarists vibe of the Surfcaster, and paints it black, loads it with active humbuckers, a floyd rose, and tons of abalone, all of which I whole heartedly approve of, for that fact alone this guitar easily grabs a 10 out of 10.

The Charvel So-Cal

The Charvel So-Cal

Last up is an old friend, the So-Cal. Based off of Charvel guitars that were in production during the hair metal heydays of the 80’s, this guitar would have reigned like a king, with its candy colored finishes, its overpowered pickups, and of course its Floyd Rose. Through a clean setting, its Dimarzio pickups have a specific kind of chime and character that is surely different from any other on the market. The So-Cal feels familiar to almost anyone who has ever picked up a Fender guitar at any point in their guitar playing life, except with a compound radius neck of 12 to 16 inches, and a slightly different color combination than a normal Fender style guitar.  

Playing it on a clean setting, the So-Cal has a rather dark character with a particular emphasis on the mids, which suits jazz, and the few clean toned 80’s riffs I know just fine. However, we both know what this guitar was designed for, and with that though in mind, I plugged this guitar into a Randall RT503, and let it rip. The So-Cal did its job, letting loose tons of EVH style riffs, all with a tone that could more than comp the feel of almost anything that came out while Reagan was in office.

The So-Cal is a throw back to an American classic, and just like the Corvette, or a Charger, it just gets better with age. Sure you can’t climb up to the 24th fret, and your only controls are a pick up switch and a volume knob, but that’s all you really need for most things. The So-Cal is what was great about guitar in the 80’s it was fun, and straightforward. For the fact that the So-Cal is designed as a catch all of guitars, and built from the ground up to be a machine of rock and roll fury, the So-Cal earns a deserved 10 out of 10