Washburn RX 30
Washburn RX 30
Respect to Washburn. Even when the Chicago giant is manning the band saw for Nuno Bettencourt, it has one eye on the working musician with the Nando's loyalty card.
And it's said musician who's in the sights of the RX 30: a doublecut that sails worryingly close to the £200 financial cliff-edge, beyond which electrics often turn to driftwood, yet packs a spec with no obvious Achilles heel. If this baby doesn't drop the ball, we could have ourselves an entry-level bargain.
There are decent ingredients here and they've been lashed together with no little panache, with a carved maple veneer suggesting a pricier guitar and control knobs (plural, take note) recessed into the basswood body.
It would all be very adult and classy were it not for the back-kinked pointy headstock and reassuring presence of twin Duncan USM humbuckers, apparently wound for some high‑output rock.
Physically, we're not getting carried away. A rock bottom electric will never tear it up like a 70s Strat and the RX 30 is better described as comfortable and more professional than an extension of your arm.
That said, the cutaway is stellar, the unfinished neck works wonders for sweat monsters, and the widening radius is solid for chords and lead. It doesn't have any real identity but it's good enough to learn on and gig.
Ultimately, the real slam-dunk comes from those aftermarket Duncan pickups. Twangy and woody when played raw, they offer three distinct voices when you clunk between settings - the neck is warm and full; the bridge lean and mean - and it's a relief to be able to tailor this superior voice.
Plus, Washburn wasn't kidding. When you push these units into the red they've got a napalm punch that belies the cultured looks.
Everybody's a winner here - with this review proving the entry-level sector is as competitive as ever.