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Author Topic: Washburn PXM18EB Review  (Read 7557 times)

Offline mrfrisky330

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Washburn PXM18EB Review
« on: January 29, 2014, 07:28:57 AM »
This is the first Parallaxe guitar I have bought, having been well and truly seduced by the web site I decided to take the plunge an buy one.

I chose the PXM18EB as I used to have an ESP SC608B and missed having an extended range guitar, yes I could bag an Ibanez RG8 for less than $500 but preferred the Washburn simply because the spec seemed like a dream, and offered a heck of a lot more than the established mainstream competition plus I remember Washburn necks as always being slim and playable.

First impressions - they got the bridge right!
My old ESP SC608B had some major issues due to build quality (it was the first batch mass produced I have no experience of the current model on sale)  first the nut wasn't cut properly so the F# string was almost sitting on top of the nut. Secondly the ESP locking tuners were obviously taken from their 6 string range and had added two extra, not accounting for the larger size of the bottom two strings. This meant changing the F# and B string was difficult the F# barely fitted into its string hole!

Other major issue was the bridge, they had not compensated for the extra scale length which made setting the intonation on the low B very hard and F# impossible, this coupled with the fact it has no neck pickup really tainted what was at the time a $1800 guitar :(

What about the Washburn? Bridge spot on, nut perfection, tuners lovely, intonation amazing thanks to the Buzz Lightyear tuning system :) Ok so what about the 8 string Achilles heel the neck size? Well comparing to the official figures from Ibanez's top flight 8 string the RG2228 here is how it pans out:

Width at first fret:
RG2228
54mm
PXM18EB
54mm

Thickness at first fret:
RG2228
20mm
PXM18EB
18mm

Width at last fret:
RG2228
80mm
PXM18EB
75mm(!!)

Thickness at last fret:
RG2228
21.5mm
PXM18EB
19mm (!!)
 
Sources: Ibanez data from the 2011 Ibanez catalog, Washburn data me with measuring tape

Thanks to the spectacular Stephen's extended cutaway the Washburn neck is more reminiscent of the early Ibanez Wizard necks that plus almost no thickness gain up the neck makes for an astonishing playing experience and when you do finally reach the 24th fret on the F# string you still don't have to change your hand position. Purists would say they prefer the design of the neck joint from the old EC29 but this is I think a lot better.

You really can shred on it with no problems, makes the Ibanez/ESP 8 strings look like baseball bats.

The ebony fingerboard is smooth and adds greatly to the playability, but it is ebony? Looking at the side of the fingerboard where the side dot markers are its rosewood brown and there are areas where the fingerboard edge meets this mysterious brown section where it has little brown sections showing in it where elsewhere on the neck its black.

Only stands out as other ebony fingerboarded guitars I have owned have the side of the fingerboard the same colour as the fingerboard top...hmmm...

Issues? The pickups, too limited in tone variation and have an almost digital soulless quality to them, its the only thing I would change on the guitar and will for some DImarzio DP859 PAFs. For a guitar of this size and cost where is the hardcase or gig bag? In fact why don't Washburn sell a case for it???

To sum up a great guitar with an unbelievable spec for a modest price, stop reading and buy one! :D




Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline Sextant1951

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 08:46:33 AM »
mrfrisky330...a fine review...and welcome to the forum. I recently wrote a review on a Washburn R320 which I had purchased awhile ago. I too, had questions about the fret board of this instrument being true ebony, these words:

"With my first look at the fretboard I was kind of surprised to see that the ebony wood had broad brown streaks. Even being used to ebony fretboards having that jet black appearance, I like the two color effect. I also noticed that the fretboard sports the black grain lines found common in rosewood fret boards. Did some investigating on ebony woods used for fretboards, from my reading, I'm thinking Macassar Ebony is being used?"

With some investigation into why so much brown was present in a ebony fretboard, I ran into some info on Macassar Ebony Wood. Do some research (google) on this wood, may clear up some of your confusion, pertaining to your fretboard. I'm also thinking that maybe all Washburn guitars made in Indonesia are sporting fretboards made with this type of wood.

BTW, could you explain the meaning of F# string.......is that the same as the high E string?


Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 08:59:50 AM »
Thanks :)

The F# string is string 8 the thickest, the fingerboard is odd as the top is black but the sides are brown??
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline Sextant1951

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 09:07:22 AM »
Thanks for the explanation of the string...never played a eight string before or even a seven string for that matter. As the saying goes, you learn something new every day. Do some reading on that type of Ebony Wood.......could be the characteristics of that particular blank.

Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 10:20:32 AM »
There is of course another possibility....

When the guy who founded Dean guitars released his own guitars under DBZ the first series all had genuine ebony fingerboards, but now they have been reported as having stained rosewood or "ebonized" fingerboards which look similar, something cheap guitars seem to have .

As shocking as this is (even to type) what is this explains the mysterious colour discrepancy as the top colour is completely different to the side across the entire neck??
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline t.y.

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2014, 10:58:31 AM »
I have a hard enough time with six strings.  LOL.  How do you  play c or g major chords on a 8 string?  Do you just play the lower 6 strings?    Tom.  :) Or the upper 6?

Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 11:03:18 AM »
The best thing about 8 strings is you can play full 13th chords all 7 notes no substitutions!

What is really good though is how fantastic that neck is on the PXM18EB, the ESP was like a football field, the Washburn is thin and narrow compared to the competition and the fingerboard has almost no camber - sweep city here we come :)

I like the extra room it gives me, plus when all the 6 string players are detuning to try and be heavier I can stay in standard tuning and be more heavy!

Amusingly Ibanez have confirmed at NAMM this year that they will be releasing the RG-9 - yes that's NINE strings!!!
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline Sextant1951

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 04:17:11 PM »
mrfrisky330...got to thinking more about your fret board question. Was thinking if a guitar maker can chose to "ebonized" rosewood or maple fret boards, why not ebony fret boards? Ran across this explanation kind of by accident. Read closely the first paragraph, might shed more light on, as to what your guitar is sporting.

http://www.gollihurmusic.com/faq/15-FINGERBOARDS_FOR_UPRIGHT_BASS_WHATS_TO_KNOW.html


Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 02:44:44 PM »
now thats interesting, I could see why they might have ebonized the ebony to fit in with peoples preconceptions...interesting...

In fact that might be it, looking very closely at the fingerboard from the top the edges of the fingerboard some of the fingerboard on the left hand side (when looking directly down at the frets) has little crescents of light brown as though the top was painted and they did quite reach the edges everytime.

I can get pictures but can I post them here?
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 02:54:16 PM »
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline danielsan73

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 05:04:25 PM »
 My N4 fretboard is almost green in places, due to the streaks in the Ebony. I can see why you would think otherwise though, that edge does look like Rosewood!
2011 N4 Korina 2.0, 1992 Alder N2, EA20SNB, Idol WIDLXSPLTD, 2007 N61,  Ibanez RG230, Ibanez Artcore AWD72ATF, Ovation Celebrity, Cort Bass, Vantage Acoustic Bass.

Offline Sextant1951

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 02:45:41 AM »
Yeah....after looking at your photo, I agree with you and danielsan73, the edge does look like rosewood. I can see where your initial thoughts might have led to confusion as to whether the board was or not ebony. If that is the matter, dealing with Parallaxe fret boards ( ebonizing the ebony, for what ever positive reason) you would think that Washburn would mention that in the spec description....might clear up some initial confusion and suspicions that many potential buyers may have after viewing the neck....doing that would also abate some suspicions that those who already own a Parallaxe might have.

btw....what are those black or blue vertical lines running down from each fret, did the instrument come like that?



Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 05:08:30 AM »
That's just due to the camera flash, no blue streaks :)

Looking at the picture again and seeing the top of the fingerboard edges have brown crescents on some of the fret spaces, is something I didn't expect to see. I would expect from a company like Washburn that they would do the job properly especially on an instrument priced that much..

Has anyone else seen this on their Parallaxe?
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!

Offline mrfrisky330

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Re: Washburn PXM18EB Review
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 04:48:05 AM »
Detuing? That's for students what you need is more bass strings!!