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Scott Ian can’t get enough of his US Custom Shop SI81: “This guitar is exactly what I’ve been looking for - it’s evil and it plays fuckin’ awesome.” Let’s hope the cheaper SI61 rocks too…
Washburn treats mid-price punters well, so while realists won’t be surprised to find the SI81’s graded timbers and premium hardware missing in action, they’ll be satisfied with the features the SI61 retains.
Visually, there’s actually more of Ian’s influence here, with an Obey graphic and Anthragram fret inlays giving off a meaner vibe than the US model’s po-faced maple top and parallelograms.
Look past the Obey graphic and you’ll realise the SI61 follows familiar contours, costing it points in the originality stakes, but clawing them back if you love the classic doublecut vibe. It’s easy to hit the top frets and to fret notes with speed and precision, which will suit Anthrax fans looking to mimic Ian’s percussive down-picking.
We’d concur with the man himself - it plays frickin’ awesome. Following a rail format, the SI61’s twin Egnater humbuckers stand out in this group, offering a bone-crunching bottom-end that’s perfect for Among The Living speed-riffing, but that’s less convincing for more melodic styles.
Still, if you’re considering this axe it’s because you want to nail Ian’s vibe, and if that’s the criteria, mission accomplished.
Pros: Perfect for Scott Ian-style riffing.
Cons: Not for non-Anthrax fans.
Buy: Washburn SI61 is currently available from Thomann