Considering Kiss merch ranges from condoms to coffins, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that frontman Paul Stanley has licensed his name to a series of Washburn electrics.
Ever the narcissist, Stanley has thrown in a personalised gigbag, a glossy photo of himself, a handful of plectrums and a studded leather strap. Once we’d tipped that lot out of the window, we were faced with the PS80, which the Kiss man reckons is the kind of guitar that “can only come from a great partnership of talents and experience."
Well, nobody does cheap electrics like Washburn.
Anyone who followed Kiss across America in the ‘70s will lap up PS80 trimmings like the star child ’stock logo and bespoke pickguard. Rockers who weren’t born until 1991, meanwhile, might argue that Paul’s baby beauty looks like an SG after a shark attack, is too heavy and almost the wrong side of £300.
Luckily, the PS80’s graceless visuals are outweighed by a strong physical performance and one of the best tones in the group for straight-ahead stadium rock, courtesy of two rich and responsive humbuckers. Chords are raunchy, solos are rough round the edges, and while it doesn’t play as fast as some, you can trust this to excel in a hard rock context.
Pros: ‘Classic rock’ voice, Kiss details.
Cons: Not the best-looking axe.
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