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Washburn N3

Washburn N3 -- A budget version of Nuno Bettencourt's N4 -- Alder body, Maple neck with Stephens Extended Cutaway, rosewood fretboard, Licensed Floyd Rose Pro tremolo.

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Washburn N3 -- you take the good and take the bad featured

Sound This guitar sounds pretty good, and actually gets a bit of Nuno's sound from the "Waiting for the Punchline" era (when I play "Hip Today," it makes me feel like a big man :D ). Sustain is good. The tone itself is influenced by its alder body, and by the Washburn pickups -- no Bill Lawrence models on this one. The pickups are hard-mounted, which makes for a bit of a visual difference, and the lack of a finish really helps the guitar to vibrate nicely.

The controls are simple" a single 3-position pickup selector, and a single push-pull volume pot with a coil split to allow for single coil tap. This makes it a versatile guitar, but I tend to stay with the humbuckers.

Action, Fit, & Finish The guitar needed a setup, as it was transported to my home in winter in a guitar box. It has been fine since purchase, with very little need to work on it, save for the tremolo system, which I will cover in the next section.

The neck itself is a sweetie. the fretboard is wider than I am used to, but works well for me. The frets are jumbos, but not really jumbo. It could stand some higher frets. It holds a low action nicely, although lately I have started to see a little buzz from the high E if fretted at the first fret. Still, the playability is excellent. I would love for it to have had the ebony fretboard like the N4 has though -- the extra snap would be great.

The Grover tuners work very well.

Reliability & Durability This is where things start to get a little bad. The whammy bar immediately started to give me trouble -- it simply wouldn't stay in tune when used, and I tried every trick I know. I ended up pulling the bridge off the guitar only to discover that there was a large burr on the knife edge. I took it in to the local shop, and he was able to clean it up, but the bar still comes back to level just a little out of tune.

One of the locking nut screws stripped immediately as well. It was very evident that these were extremely cheap pieces. A trip to the local guitar shop solved this problem with new hardened steel pieces, which even made a tiny difference to the sustain of the guitar. These are small pieces, but they add up.

As well, the finish has started to come off the trem posts

Customer Support I was informed by Washburn after buying the product from the States, and having it shipped to my home in Canada, that I would need to ship it back to the States for warranty work. The repairs to the tremolo cost less than the shipping would have been.

Liked about it The playability
The look
The tone

Didn't like The whammy bar problems
some cheap materials

Overall satisfaction:

By Philboski
Feb 25, 2010
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