There's no pretence with Washburn's new Parallaxe guitars: the series is "designed specifically for modern chops-intensive shredders", with the company itself branding the Parallaxe "the perfect shred machine".
Suffice to say, if you're more interested in your open-position chords than Mixolydian face-melting at 190bpm, you'd better look away now. Such bold claims may seem audacious, but a quick glance at Washburn's artist roster confirms the company's supreme shredentials, with the likes of Nuno Bettencourt, Dimebag Darrell and Jennifer Batten all brandishing Washburns over the years.
The spec lists support Washburn's ambition, too. For starters, all the models in the series - whether single-cuts, double-cuts, seven- or eight-strings - are loaded with passive Seymour Duncan or active EMG pickups, while the hardware bears similarly impressive names.
"Walnut Matt finish feels good underneath the fingers, and that feeling of quality extends to the playability"
Across the range, you get Grover machineheads for precise and stable tuning; the Buzz Feiten Tuning System for improved intonation across the neck; and extended cutaways, whether that's via Washburn's full-access neck joint or Stephen's Extended Cutaway. That means unprecedented access to the widdly end of the fingerboard, without scaring your audience away with poor intonation.
This body shape might feel familiar to those who remember the Idol series. However, the PXL10WA refines the Idol's trim LP curves for a shape that just feels right, sitting or standing. Sure, it's not the most flashy guitar, and there are no additional finish options at this basic level, but the Walnut Matt finish feels good underneath the fingers, and that feeling of quality extends to the playability.
It takes a brave shredder to grapple with an LP-alike 629mm (24.75-inch) scale length, but Washburn's Full Access Set Neck ensures you'll have no trouble taking on the upper echelons - even if those frets might feel a little cramped. Nonetheless, the ebony fingerboard is a smooth player, and it's just as suited to burly rhythm playing as spindly leads.
On the pickup front, the Seymour Duncan '59/JB pairing gives you thick, cutting distorted tones to give those solos maximum impact, although it's less suited to modern metal - out-and-out aggression is not these humbuckers' speciality.
The PXL10WA does, however, offer individual coil-splits for the Duncans, which are activated via the pickups' respective volume knobs. It's a handy addition, even if its thinned-out tones aren't as single coil-like as we'd prefer. Still, that's unlikely to bother you.