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Washburn Idol 2018 models announced

Washburn Idol 2018 models announced  ·  Source: Washburn

At the tail end of the last millennium, Washburn introduced the Idol, a single-cut electric guitar that looks like a slimmed-down Les Paul with a flatter body. The company is now presenting two new models ahead of Summer NAMM 2018. 

Washburn Idol 2018

This version is called the Idol WIT16 VSK-D, with Seymour Duncan single coils in the style of a Telecaster, just with a fatter design and a larger ‘rear’ than a regular Tele. The pickguard is enlarged somewhat while a “Burled Maple” top, finished in vintage sunburst, is fitted to an ash body. The maple neck has an ebony fingerboard. The guitar has matching gold hardware throughout. I have to say that, personally, I find it ugly as sin, but you may love it!

Washburn Idol 2018 in Vintage Sunburst

Washburn Idol 2018 in Vintage Sunburst

Revamped?

Next up is the Idol WI26 MRK-D. This is the “normal” model, meaning that it’s closer to the original 1999 versions. It’s finished in  Metallic Red Copper and fitted with two humbuckers, again by Seymour Duncan: a USA 59 and a Custom 5.

The Idol WI26 MRK-D is a mahogany body, so no fancy maple top. The mahogany neck has an ebony fingerboard. I find this design a bit easier on the eye, looking like a Les Paul/SG variant. But for me, this one isn’t exactly a looker, either.

Washburn Idol 2018

Washburn Idol 2018

Too little, too late?

I love Washburn guitars. I owned an old Falcon (an amazing guitar and possibly a classic?) back in the early ’80s and have had the odd N4 in my time. But I find these Idol models a bit bland and unfortunately a little overpriced as well. On the plus side, they have Seymour Duncan pickups and both guitars use the Buzz Feiten tuning system. I just find the designs a little lacklustre and drab.

You may love them, but they don’t do anything for me, I’m afraid. Sorry, Washburn, but you need to do something a bit more exciting if you want to stand out from the crowd in 2018…

RRP – USD 1426 

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by Jef

4 responses to “Washburn Idol range makes a comeback in 2018”

  1. Jef, surprises me as well as this line never really made any waves over here in the States when they were originally sold. Over here in the States, Washburn has always been sort of a ‘me-too’ brand and, after it’s original launch (actually second) by Rudy Schlacher/Fretted Industries in the late 70’s, has mostly been a line pushed by dealers who didn’t/don’t have some of the major guitar lines. A lot of what success the Washburn brand had/has had, especially here in the Midwest (not surprising since they were based in Evanston, Illinois), was due to a particularly energetic sales rep force and a lot of promotion. They’ve had a few short-termed ‘hits’ with the Wing series (like your Falcon), the Nuno guitars, the Dimebag guitars, etc. and seem to do a consistent decent business in the lower to mid line acoustic business but I’ve always noticed that the Washburn brand seems to have more ‘mojo’ and interest (especially in the music/guitar press) overseas (especially in the UK) than it does over here.

    • Jef says:

      Ditto, They have always been well made, just not the same kudos as owning a Fender or Gibson in the UK. The Wing Series was nice, heavy, but well made and they did re-release them back in the ’90s, they always reminded me a little of the Yamaha SG range, but not as refined.

  2. Kurt says:

    I think these are beautiful, and a nice addition to the “shredder” based Parallaxe line. Washburn now has a couple of classic rock/blues machines that are loaded with good hardware and excellent pickups. Considering they sell in Canada for less than a Gibson Tribute Les Paul or a Fender Mexi Tele, I think they are a great alternative as they feel and sound better (to my ears anyway) than those options. To each their own, but as a classic Les Paul and tele fan, I’m digging these beasts. Thanks for the review.

  3. Peter says:

    Late comment here, but…

    I can’t believe they’re charging $799.00 US for what is basically an old Wi-64 with SD pickups and an ebony fretboard.

    I got a mint 2003 Wi-66Pro for $450.00 in 2005, and they could be had brand new for under $750.00
    Inflation or not, nothing about the Idol Standard 26 says “$800 guitar” to me.

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