So how do you play a Washburn acoustic? One of the least asked questions I get is that of knowing your tone. I don’t play a Washburn acoustic but I think that it’s important to note the tonal qualities of the guitar you own. The sound that comes out of your axe will shape and define your unique voice to the point that it will eventually become “you”.
I use an ESP KH2 “Skully” Kirk Hammett signature model guitar with dual EMG 81 pickups. It has 24 frets, an original floyd rose locking tremelo set up with a Jackson reverse dinky headstock and a body that looks like an MII Deluxe. The neck is a little bit wider than your average electric guitar and has an almost “classical” feel to it when you grip it. Rather than an old “file down the fret” cliche that allows for optimal shredding, my guitar has jumbo “rounded” frets which if pressed down hard enough can actually make a string bending sound. The floating bridge takes some getting used to and if you haven’t used one before you can actually make the guitar sound out of tune by leaning on it too hard with your right hand palm mute. It has a 3 way switch which unlike a strat and more like a Les Paul you can “cut” the sound immediatly and make a really nice Morello sounding percussive “on off” sound.
I also use a Line 6 upgraded AXSYS212 ampliphier with a floorboard that carries both a volume and a wah pedal. The Line 6 was the first digital amp to master the art of “tube tone” back in the mid-nineties. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it as a solid-state amp to be honest. With 32 presets and 32 user presets with 4 channels each, the options are pretty infinite. This model can not only replicate the greatest artists of all time but holds
countless configurations of individual amp models/effect pedals/cabinet sizes/ and even offers a “noise gate” that you can open or close at will.
Now that’s not my only rig. I also play a Zakk Wylde custom Epiphone “Les Paul” with 22 frets that I’ve tricked out with his custom “.60” string set up. Getting used to a set of strings of that caliber requires a huge change in the amount of hand strength that you need. It’s also got a set of dual EMG pickups and the ability to “cut” the sound out immediately when you toggle between the rhythm and treble pickups (having one volume all the way down of course) like the KH2.
I play that one through a Scott Ian signature Randall ampliphier that has an EQ option of being able to shave your eyebrows off under the right amount of pressure. It’s got a much more pure clean tone than the Line 6 and ultimately I think the distortion channel is superior as well, but it lacks in the pedal effect options. I like this amp because it has an L and R input in the back that I can hook my CD player or digital studio into and use as a monitor while I’m training.
As the amp and the guitar make up your unique sound I have a digital studio that completly changes all that. I record with a Boss BR-532 digital 4-track that has it’s own effects that just don’t match up to the tones that I can get live. So technically I have a “recorded” voice and “live” voice. There are a lot of subtle things that you have to pay attention to in the studio like thinking about “loop effects” and pre-post effects that you can alter during a mastering.
I bring these things up because as you continue playing you may start to realize that you can’t sound like Dragonforce on an acoustic. Black Sabbath unplugged only works for “Planet Caravan”… and maybe some of their Dio stuff. If you want to develop your own tone I believe it’s important to understand how to control those factors.
Breakdown your own rig and let me know if you have any questions that might help create your ideal sound.
Until next time, enjoy your tone!