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Author Topic: Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews  (Read 12244 times)

Offline cedwards

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« on: July 22, 2009, 10:09:34 PM »
This thread picks up from a prior thread I started under the Show Us Your Washburn topic when I was all excited about getting the new guit.[:D][:D]

Now that I'm starting to review the guitar's particulars, I thought I should move the topic here. You can view prior posts at this link:

http://forums.washburn.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15754

So, in the last post of the Show Us Your Washburn thread, Tio Kimo said to me:

quote:
I'll be interested to hear what you think of the p'ups. I understand you own a modeling amp and can shape your sound....but I'm curious what the default is like.

What type of music are you likely to be playing?


First, some basic parameters. What we have here is the stock, flamed trans-red WI45, as purchased retail, with no mods. Stock strings have been changed out for new D'Addario XL .10-.46 strings. This is being played through a Vox AD30VT modelling amp with tube-driven preamp. Stock humbucker pickups are Randall UL neck and Randall SL bridge. Set-up is as delivered and I note that pick-up heights are consistently set relative to string height within the arch-top, graduated-height mounting rings.

I don't have the luxury of a well-recognized pickup baseline, such as an SD '59 / Custom Custom pair against which to benchmark an evaluation of the pickups. What I do have is (a) a Lyon L115 with stock USMusic Corp (I assume) no name pickups and (b) 1970s Univox LP copy with stock pickups (which the vintage enthusiasts seem to regard quite highly - I've seen them referred to as DiMarzio copies).

So, Tio, finally, to your questions.

I set the amp to its cleanest Boutique Clean setting and bypassed all effects. Went low volume up to full volume on the amp. Compared to the Lyon, for both neck and bridge, the Randall p'ups have substantially more power. Compared to the Univox p'ups, the Randalls have perhaps a little more gain on each pickup when set (via VCC) to full humbucker. Compared to both of the other guits, the Randall pickups offered significantly better clarity of definition between strings. Whereas the Univox p'ups get quite boomy on the low end, the Randalls maintain clarity from low to high string. To my ears, the bridge p'up, set to single coil, can deliver ample bite. Both p'ups, in humbucker mode, can deliver a nice growl without getting muddy.

I know that some here are not impressed by the VCC controls but I am not a pro, wedded to a long history of performing with a certain configuration of tone knobs and, I must say, I'm starting to quite like it. There is a broad range of tones available between full humbucker and single coil settings. What did surprise me, at first, was the fact that the volume controls had a distinct effect on tone - rolling back volume scoops trebles out of the tone. At first I thought that was a problem. Then, after more playing, I realized that, used judiciously, the volume knobs permitted me to dial in some really nice fat, buttery sounds on both p'ups. So I use the amp for for volume control if I want to maintain tone and use the volume knobs as another set of tone controls. The result is a huge range of possible sounds even on a default clean amp setting.

Summary on the Randall UL and SL when played on the amp's default? Basically, plenty of gain and really quite good separation and clarity throughout the range. To my untutored ear, they sound quite balanced across the strings.

Perhaps it will help to say this. I have played around through both the Vox amp's single 10 speaker (which some say is the amp's weakness) and through the Vox run through Behringer 1202FX into headphones. When I play this guitar and these pickups through the phones, I am aware, for the first time, of the Vox speaker's limitations. I never got anything like this clarity of tone from either of the other guitars. It can deliver quite a professional sound. I have a friend with an AD50VT which, I believe has two better-quality Celestion speakers. I'll look for an opportunity to run it through that and report.

I think I said in an earlier post that these p'ups feel like they are designed to slip into the pocket when fed through some hi-gain distortion. Suitable, I think, for metal or power pop punk. However, after testing on the default setting with no effects, I went some other places. The Vox's next cleanest amp model is Black 2x12. I've found that, on that setting, with some reverb and chorus laid on, this guit/these p'ups really project and they do so with the sweetest of tones.

So I come upstairs, grinning, from the basement and say to the Lovely Wife, I'm really starting to like this guitar! She replies, Well, I was on the phone with my sister and every now and then the music would catch me and I was wondering what those sweet sounds were. Then I realized it was you playing with your new toy. I've never heard her say anything like that about my electric playing before. That's the WI45, through the Black 2x12 in various combinations of VCC humbucker and single coil settings. Same for the Vox's Tweed 4x12 model.

So, when Lovely Wife is out, I can easily punk out. When she's in, I can give her sweet-sounding classic rock, blues or whatever. So that's an endorsement, I guess. I like these pickups. Wish I had a WI66 with SDs so I could do a better comparison. Bottom line: the more I play around, the more I like both the guitar and the pickups.

What music do I play? I can answer that by reference to a song list my guitar buddy and I used for a recent party:

The Letter, Boxcars
New Slang, Shins
Good Riddance, Green Day
Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day
Halleluhia, Leonard Cohen
Solitary Man, Neil Diamond
Joker, Steve Miller
How I Spent My Fall Vacation, Bruce Cockburn
Knockin' on Heaven's Door, Bob Dylan
The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkle
Easily, Chili Peppers
Under the Bridge, Chili Peppers
Other Side, Chili Peppers
Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
Sense of Purpose, Pretenders
Sweet Jane, Lou Reed
Southern Mark Smith, Jazz Butcher
Thanksgiving, Poi Dog Pondering
King of the Road, Roger Miller
Alison, Elvis Costello
Ooh La, The Kooks
Hasn't Hit me Yet, Blue Rodeo
Criminal, Pretenders
Chain Gang, Pretenders
This Shirt, Mary Chapin-Carpenter
Song For a Winter's Night, Gordon Lightfoot
Come On Sunshine, Gordon Lightfoot
Field Behind the Plow, Stan Rogers
Natural Disaster, Joel Plaskett
All the Way Down the Line, Joel Plaskett
Ripple, Grateful Dead
Friend of the Devil, Grateful Dead
2000 Miles, Pretenders
Stay or Leave, Dave Matthews
All the Diamonds, Bruce Cockburn
Southern Cross, CSNY
Willin', Little Feat

And, of course, Radar Love (really, my buddy's song) when it gets drunk out. I just like to play good songs that catch my mood. I'm surrounded by Canadiana so that tends to work its way into the list.




Seize the Fish
*****
Washburn WG2S
Washburn D10SCE
Washburn WI45
Ibanez V300MH
Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy

« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 10:10:33 PM by cedwards »
Seize the Fish
*****
WG2S, D10SCE, WI45, JM300S, Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy


Offline Tio Kimo

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 10:21:02 PM »
Right on Chris. Nice report. And great song list! Anybody that can throw New Slang and Willin' in the same set is awwwwright in my book! That was a long night!

How far are ya from the White Mountains....I'm headed there this weekend and could throw my guit in the back for ya! I was planning to only bring the Acoustic along...but after that report, I'm tempted to get a little crazier.


Sounds like you're having a blast, and that, after all, is the point.

Cheers!
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Offline cedwards

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 07:41:23 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Tio Kimo

Right on Chris. Nice report. And great song list! Anybody that can throw New Slang and Willin' in the same set is awwwwright in my book! That was a long night!

How far are ya from the White Mountains....I'm headed there this weekend and could throw my guit in the back for ya! I was planning to only bring the Acoustic along...but after that report, I'm tempted to get a little crazier.


Sounds like you're having a blast, and that, after all, is the point.

Cheers!



We didn't play 'em all but that's basically the repertoire we draw from - some fairly polished and others, well . . . not. It was, however, a good, long night with songs getting steadily more impassioned and ragged as the hours passed. Might actually be having another one of those tonight - staff sailboat cruise, lobster dinner and party.

As for distance from White Mountains to here, it ain't no day trip! North Conway, NH is about seven hours straight driving time if I recall correctly. Have not skied there for a number of years. Boston is seven hours and Portland, ME is just over five. There is, as well, a border crossing that just isn't as simple as it used to be, though it's probably easier for you than for a Canadian. The US border guys are really prickly these days.

Oh! I forgot to mention that, based on what I have been told and research done on the web, the Randalls are Bruce Egnator designed active humbuckers. From posts I've read, it appears that Egnator had an arrangement with USM for a time but it ended somewhat prematurely - not exactly sure why. So some of those earlier Idols have Egnator branded pickups but now they carry the Randalls. So far as I know, they're the same pickups with different branding. FunkyMunky may be able to clarify that.

Seize the Fish
*****
Washburn WG2S
Washburn D10SCE
Washburn WI45
Ibanez V300MH
Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy

« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 07:57:47 AM by cedwards »
Seize the Fish
*****
WG2S, D10SCE, WI45, JM300S, Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy


Offline WB-Nick

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 08:50:58 AM »
cedwards,
You are correct that the Randall pickups are the same as the Egnater pickups in earlier guitars.
 

Offline WB-Nick

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 08:55:22 AM »
I almost forgot, nice review.  I printed it out and gave it to Rudy to read.  Glad you're having fun with your new guitar.
 

Offline Tio Kimo

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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 09:52:08 AM »
sweet...Chris, man, you outta work this. Have them send you a guitar every month for a review!!
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
Marshall AS50D
Little Lanilei 3350LT
Champlifier
Boogie DC-2

Offline cedwards

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 10:37:36 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by WB-Nick

I almost forgot, nice review.  I printed it out and gave it to Rudy to read.  Glad you're having fun with your new guitar.



There will be more as I get to know the guitar better and I intend to do a full-up one for Harmony Central at some point. I really struggled with the lack of good info out there on this particular model - everyone seems to sell it but there are no useful reviews out there. I'm trying to redress that. FunkyMunky was really helpful.

Despite the lack of information, I plunged and, so far, I'm very happy with the choice. I wanted good value on a tight budget and the WI45 seems to deliver well on that front. No grief from the Lovely Wife on this purchase - the price was easliy justified.

Tio - I like the way you think! Writing is my business.

Seize the Fish
*****
Washburn WG2S
Washburn D10SCE
Washburn WI45
Ibanez V300MH
Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy

« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 10:40:42 AM by cedwards »
Seize the Fish
*****
WG2S, D10SCE, WI45, JM300S, Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy


Offline coil_band

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 03:46:04 AM »
I got a killer deal on one in black, it's a VERY nice guitar for the money. Only thing I don't like about it the hardware is all black too, planning on redoing everything in chrome, cream humbucker rings, gold speed knobs, like the black WI-66. No big deal I can pick the parts up cheap and sell the black hardware. I'm really surprised by the pickups, the bridge pickup is definetely hot but not harsh at all, sounds very smooth and balanced. The neck pickup is nice in that it isn't muddy and too bassy like a lot of neck pickups. Again it sounds balanced and clear. Overall they are a steal for the price some very good deals to be had on them right now.
 

Offline cedwards

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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 10:11:53 AM »
Update - just back from an extended business trip and rocked (through headphones) into the wee hours last night. I reminded myself of a couple of things I have been meaning to say now that I've had this guitar for a while:

1) This guitar can produce some WICKED blues tones. I guess all that Chicago Washburn history is built into her.

2) I'm increasingly impressed with the sensitivity of this guitar and her pickups to attack. It's really quite easy to take her from clean 'n' sweet to pretty darned raunchy based on attack alone and with no adjustments using onboard or offboard electronics.

I know I've promised a more comprehensive review. I'm getting close to the point of being able to do that - would still like to run her through some different amps. So far, other than the general discomfort that the VCC system may pose for some players, I've found nothing bad to say about this guitar. I'm loving her more every day!

Seize the Fish
*****
Washburn WG2S
Washburn D10SCE
Washburn WI45
Ibanez V300MH
Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy

Seize the Fish
*****
WG2S, D10SCE, WI45, JM300S, Lyon L115
'70s Univox LP Copy


Offline fnichols11

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Idol WI45 Trans-Red Pics and Reviews
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2010, 04:05:59 PM »
Hello Washburn Forum! I created an account just so I could chime in on the WI45. I got a brand new one on ebay for $275 including shipping! The white one. It looks amazing of course.

It is slightly neck heavy which can be remedied by a nice strap (leather, or suede) nylon straps will reveal that the neck wants to hang down a little which can be annoying.

The neck is c shaped and not the thinnest neck I've played but not huge either. It takes a little getting used to but no complaints.

The VCC system is pretty cool but ultimately I prefer a normal coil split and other options via seymour duncan triple shots which i will eventually install. I'm in no hurry though, the VCC is okay. Volume knobs really act like tone knobs. VCC knobs aren't really worth anything in between 0 and 10, but 0 and 10 sound good.

As for the pickups, the Bridge pickup might be one of my favorite pickups of all time. It is nice and clean even at full volume/vcc. When you play distorted chords every note rings out beautifully. Great rock tone. Then, should you crank it up to metal, you will be pleasantly surprised. This thing grinds and squeals and compresses with heavy palm mutes and strumming. Just incredible. I have other guitars with EMG81 and Duncan Distortion and I'd go for this Randall pickup over those any day.

Neck pickup is not great. Very clean and good for jazz tones as some other reviewers have mentioned. It might be improved with normal tone knob and coil splitting. I just doesn't have a very deep rich sound that you would hope for. The Neck pup's biggest weakness is probably under gain, it just isn't a good shredder.

Overall this is the best guitar purchase I have ever made for the money and if you can still get them cheap then what are you waiting for!!!