World Music Supply | Washburn Nuno Bettencourt Signature Models

Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply here again, to talk to you good people about some more cool guitars from our friends, Nuno Bettencourt, and Washburn Guitars. Today I got the chance to take a look at two more of Mr.Bettencourts signature models, each with their own defining features that help them stand out from the crowd.

The Washburn N24FNMK Nuno Bettencourt Electric Guitar

The Washburn N24FNMK Nuno Bettencourt Electric Guitar

First up is the N24FNMK, which is a flamed maple top version of the N24. The N24FNMK features the aforementioned flamed maple top, which is finished in a matte coating, there is also a Floyd Rose Special, a coil tap switch, and as with all Nuno Bettencourt models, it comes armed with Nuno’s favorite Bill Lawrence bridge humbucker and Stephens Extended Cutaway. Aesthetically this guitar is beautiful, with its tiny, light weight agathis body which is capped with that stunningly flamed maple top. Plugged in, this guitar sounds fantastic, with pure clear tone, which has great string to string definition and amazing body and warmth.

The neck pickup has plenty of acoustic like qualities to it, which makes it great for just strumming out chords, and playing warm sounding snappy licks, it has plenty of body too it, but not so much that it seems wooly or overly bass-y. The bridge pickup is bright sounding, but in a good way. It has a lot of body to it, but it definitely favors the treble frequencies, which is great for lead playing, although it is a little over kill on a bone dry setting. Compressed however, the Bill Lawrence humbucker has a very funky characteristic, which still retains its bright sounding punch, but it takes away the snap and twang from the tone, which helps the sound of this pickup work in a clean situation.

Distorted, this guitar is on fire! The power of the sound that is delivered from the combination of this guitar and our resident Randall RT503H, full of gritty metal tones, biting hard rock swagger, and 80s style sizzle. The neck lends itself to lighting fast runs, and the Stephens Extended Cutaway really lets you slide all the way to the top of the neck. The sound of this guy through the amp was heavy, with tons of screaming overtones and harmonics that just aren’t present with other bridge pickups, its clear after a few moments why Mr. Bettencourt favors this pickup so heavily. Try as I might I couldn’t get a bad tone out of this guitar, and I honestly have to say that if you’re looking for a jack of all trades super strat, the N24FNMK might just be your man. The N24FNMK earns itself an awesome 10 out of 10.

The Washburn N2PSNM Nuno Bettencourt Signature Electric Guitar

The Washburn N2PSNM Nuno Bettencourt Signature Electric Guitar

Next up on the rundown, is the N2PSNM which is a Padauk version of the popular entry level N2 model. The sound of Padauk is something that I have loved for awhile now, but first and foremost, you have to love the look of this tone wood, with its clear beautiful grain, and bright red coloring. The sound has often been compared to rosewood, which is a fair comparison, there is a lot of mid and high end definition, with a slightly glassy character, with the low end remaining tight and round. The combination of Padauk and the standard equipment of the N2 series, the Bill Lawrence pickup and Floyd Rose, this guitar sounds absolutely amazing.

Clean, the N2PSNM has a very full texture, with a lot of big bold tones, that really favor chords all over the neck, as there is just tons of definition to be found in this guitar. There is also loads of sustain to be found here, which has a tendency to hold the fundamental far longer than most other guitars that are armed with a floating trem system, which can sometimes rob the guitar of sustain.

Distorted, this guitar has a much more aggressive sound than any of the other variants of the Nuno Bettencourt signature I have yet played, which lots and lots of bite and grind to its sound. The amount of metal grind that you can kick out even at lower gain settings is just amazing. The lead flavor is round but with lots of sustain and bite on tap, and the rhythm sound has definition, but it really eats up any amount of distortion you feed it, always maintaining its clear crisp voice, but with all of the growl and thunder that you want from it.

I love the way this guitar sounds, I really, really do. The sound of Padauk is powerful, and exotic, leading me to ask why a tonewood that is in such large supply, with a cool exotic color and sound that you just don’t get with the standard maple, mahogany combo. Regardless, all wondering about tonewoods aside, the N2PSNM is one heck of an instrument, and easily deserves its score of a 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Washburn Nuno Bettencourt Signature

World Music Supply | Washburn Nuno Bettencourt Signature

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World Music Supply | Nuno Bettencourt Signature N4-Vintage

Hey guys Brian from World Music Supply here again to talk to you all about a few cool guitars designed by our friends over at Washburn for another one of our friends, Mr. Nuno Bettencourt. Nuno Bettencourt, most well known for his time as the lead guitarists of Extreme, and recently as the touring guitarist for Rihanna, has had a long standing relationship with Washburn who has produced his signature series guitars for the past 22 years, many of them carrying similar or identical features with one or two things changing, while the rest of the guitar remained the same, those being the locking tremolo system, Natural finished body and the Bill Lawrence bridge pickup. Other common features include the Stephens Extended cutaway, and the occasional use of Padauk wood.

The Nuno Bettencourt Washburn N4-Vintage Electric Guitar

The Nuno Bettencourt Washburn N4-Vintage Electric Guitar

In today’s review I got the chance to review one of the higher end models, the N4-Vintage, which was built right here in the good ol’ US of A, and it comes decked to the nines in any and everything Mr. Bettencourt could imagine. The Matte finished aged alder body feels comfortable and smooth, and the aged hardware looks just grungy enough to make you feel important with a guitar like this, like you were carrying around a guitar that really had seen that much time on the road. But not so grungy that it felt unclean, or maltreated in its tenure on the road.

Plugged into our resident tube amp, the glorious RT503, The N4 sounded exactly as I had imagined, biting, but with clarity for days on the bridge pickup, and smooth and soulful on the neck pickup. The action on the neck was super flat, but without even a hint of string buzz, and the response from the Floyd Rose was just divine. Clean, this guitar had everything you could dream of in one simple package, and for the most part, the absence of a tone control didn’t seem to bother me, although it made comping jazz tones a little more difficult. Granted, not many people with this guitar are getting it to play smooth, crystal clear jazz licks; most of them are getting it to play rock, really, really hard rock.

Through a distorted channel, this guitar just sang, with the bridge pickup driving the amp into a blistering grind, and the neck pickup taking it to a soulful, smooth singing lead tone. I understand why a guitarist like Nuno would want something like this around his neck all day, with its light body, its resonant singing tone, and its lightning fast action, for what it was designed to do, play like a dream, and look handsome doing it the N4-Vintage gets an EASY 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Jackson Guitars

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, sorry for the lack of a post Monday, but it was Labor day here in the good ol’ US of A and I had to spend it getting caught up on school work, so to all of our American readers, I hope you had a better Labor day than I, and to our foreign readers, I hope you had a pleasant Monday. Getting down to business, in today’s blog, I get to take a look at some cool guitars from our friends over at Jackson. As I’ve mentioned before, the formation of Jackson guitars is actually pretty weird, the company was formed by Grover Jackson shortly after he acquired Charvel Guitars. Jackson was initially a brand name applied to models that were so far from the norm, that he was worried releasing them under the Charvel name might damage the image of the brand. The First major guitar designed for the Jackson brand was the Concorde, which was designed in conjunction with one Randy Rhoads. This sleek revamp of the Flying V design was a radical departure for guitar design at the time (the very beginning of the 80s) and the redesign of many other older designs became a hallmark of Jackson guitars, and by association the majority of the guitar scene of the 1980s, with sleeker, more slender, and pointier versions of classic designs.

The Jackson RRXMG Rhoads Electric Guitar Snow White with Black Pin Stripes

The Jackson RRXMG Rhoads Electric Guitar Snow White with Black Pin Stripes

In today’s blog I get a chance to review a “proper” Randy Rhoads with the RRXMG in Snow White with Black Pin Stripes, and a more typical Jackson with the SLX Soloist in Kawasabi Green. First up is the RRXMG, which is a fairly liberal take on the classic Randy Rhoads Concorde, with the smaller modern Rhoads shape, and more modern details, like a compound radius fretboard, a Floyd Rose Special, and a set of EMG 81 and 85 pickups. This Rhoads is a sight to behold, its sleek white basswood and maple neck through body create an amazingly resonant and tuneful guitar.

Plugged in this guitar has that standard 81 85 speaking voice, with it’s darker clean sounds, with a warm, mellow attack and long singing sustain. The added body that the EMGs give to your clean tone are very noticeable on a guitar like this, as the neck through design adds plenty of body to the tone as well, resulting in a big, fat tone, even on the thinner sounding bridge pickup. Playing all of the neo-classical clean passages that Randy strategically placed throughout many famous Ozzy songs on a guitar like this really helps define why these modern modifications to a classic design are so useful. The addition of a modern compound radius means that all of those single notes runs and complex chords without worrying about your hand cramping up or fretting out during fast runs, and the fuller sounding active pickups add a clarity and body that normal humbucking pickups just couldn’t replicate.

Plugged into a Randall RT503H and its matching cabinet, this guitar has more than enough power to match those classic RR tones, with all of the punch and power that made the Rhoads guitar so infamous. Running through every Ozzy song I had memorized, this guitar pulled more than its weight, with tones that were as close to the record as I’ve ever heard them, and with more than enough power on hand to go far further thanks to the powerful EMG pickups. Switching out of Ozzy mode, I was able to comp some more modern metal tones from this guitar as well, simply by dropping the tuning a little, and letting the EMG pickups do what they do best, be as loud as absolutely possible. EMGs have the ability to stay tight no matter how high, or how low the tuning, with increased sustain and harmonic response thanks to their increased output.

In short the RRXMG is one powerful machine, with sustain for days, and a look and feel of one of the most famous guitars in metal history.  For all of these facts the RRXMG earns itself a much deserved 10 out of 10.

The Jackson SLX Soloist Electric Guitar Floyd Rose Special Kawasabi Green

The Jackson SLX Soloist Electric Guitar Floyd Rose Special Kawasabi Green

Next up is the SLX Soloist, which while I picked the rather distinctive Kawasabi Green for the review, it’s available in both Black and Snow White as well. The reason  I picked Kawasabi Green out of the other two colors is simply, because one, it is very distinct looking, and two, because Jackson Guitars was made famous by a handful of shredders back in the 80’s, and nothing says 80’s quite the same as a neon green guitar. This guitar comes outfitted with a through body maple neck, a Floyd Rose Special tremolo, a compound radius fretboard, and a set of Duncan Designed HB102 pickups.

Plugged into a clean amp, the HB102 humbuckers are smooth and warm sounding, allowing for clean jazzy runs and slick chord tones, made all the more enjoyable thanks to the comfortable neck profile and the compound fretboard radius, which made it easier to chord on the low end of the neck, and play quick runs on the upper end, without ever feeling strange or inappropriate. The bridge pickup was just snappy enough to help me cut through, but not so brash as to make using it on its own painful or annoying to listen to, and the neck was warm and clear, without being too bass heavy or muddy sounding.

Plugged into the same Randall RT503H and matching Randall Cabinet, the SLX proved itself quite versatile, able to pull off everything from modern metal grind, with dropped chords having a big beefy low end to them without losing too much high end, and having just as much power when it came to playing more traditional styles of rock. Tuned up in standard, this guitar had no problem banging out classic 80’s riffs that range from two handed Van Halen style brashness, to Police style chordal runs. The comfortable radius of the neck made this all the better, allowing me to play more natural all along the neck, and the Floyd Rose made any style of dive bomb, swirling vibrato, and high flying trem arm acrobatics a breeze, always coming back to tune no matter what I threw at it.

The Soloist has been a hallmark of the Jackson line for decades, and playing this guitar I understand why. I think it’s easier to understand what a super-strat really is, and why that style of guitar ruled the market place for nearly 20 years when you play a guitar like this, with all of it’s amazing appointments and its sheer array of tones, the SLX Soloist earns itself an easy 10 out of 10.

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