This is my review of the Washburn X50 and X50 Pro FE guitars with the Buzz Feiten tuning system.
Another manufacturer that I think is highly underrated is Washburn Guitars. For 100 years they have been making quality instruments, but since the 80’s Washburn has been known for making killer shredding machines at affordable prices. Gibsons and Fenders are great, but the cost is too high and they just aren’t very versatile. Their cheaper counterparts (Squier and Epiphone) are a laughable joke quality and price wise. In addition there have never been improvements made to essentials such as tuning and intonation or electronics.
It’s funny, even thought you can’t (currently) find a Washburn guitar in any Guitar Center store, you can still find them in small music shops all over. In addition, modern touring bands are using them every day – like Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Dead Man, Sevendust, Anthrax, Goo Goo Dolls, Sammy Hagar, As I Lay Dying, Def Leppard, Toby Keith, Meatloaf, Kiss, Black Label Society, All-American Rejects, Neil McCoy, Shinedown, Fall Out Boy, Brooks and Dunn, Derek Trucks, Hawthorne Heights, and Breaking Benjamin.
The 2 guitars I’m going to talk about today are the X50 and X50 Pro FE.
You used to be able to get the X-50 Pro for between $400-$500 and and the X-50 Pro sold for $600-700. The X50 Pro comes with a Duncan ’59 reissue humbucker pickup in the next and a Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge. The X50 Pro FE comes with EMG 81 and EMG 85 active pickups. The X50 pros have quilted maple tops, and the X50 Pro FE’s have flamed maple tops. Each Washburn guitar features the Buzz Feiten tuning system, which you can read about here. The X50 series also uses Washburn’s patented VCC or “Volume Contour Control” system. Basically the volume control is a coil tap, and when pull it out it splits the humbuckers in half…but the way that the VCC works is that when you back off the volume control, once it reaches 50% the coil tap automatically kicks in chopping the humbucker down to a single coil.
There have been stellar reviews of both models, Washburn posted a 2004 review of the X50 Pro from Guitar World.
Both Harmony Central and Ultimate Guitar reviews were very high. The thing that has amazed me is when watching these models in eBay auctions for a few weeks, most of the auctions received 40+ bids – which is very high for most guitar auctions. Then, once I read of the features (like the electronics and the Buzz Feiten) – I now know why.
Pickups are a very personal choice, and I think that the Duncan Custom Custom and ’59 both are great choices for many guitarists and amp combinations. Lately though, I am very partial to EMG pickups (especially the 81 and 85) because I find that they work like “peas and carrots” with a POD (I have a PodXT Live). The active electronics just seem to give a certain extra “clarity” to everything that comes through my POD. Many players favor 81/85 pickups – like Zakk Wylde.
You don’t see a lot of X50’s on eBay, usually only a few at a time. They don’t sell them new anymore, so this guitar is a little more rare than it used to be. This page will always have the latest live auctions for Washburn X-50 and X50 Pro FE’s, bookmark it now!
There are usually a half dozen for sale on eBay most days, check what auctions are available now by clicking this link. Prices can be $300 – $600 depending on condition.
If the X50 series isn’t for you – there are hundreds of Washburn guitars on eBay right now in different styles, models, and colors, check them out as well!
Here’s a good YouTube review as well: