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.
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.
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.