In the past, Washburn have been highly successful with their own shapes such as the twin-horned Falcon and the angular Stage, but this is a quote from tradition. Many of the Washburn thoughts and theories have been applied to the outline of the good old Gibson 335.
Gibson's earliest models featured rounded horns either side of the neck that came to be known as Mickey Mouse ears by loving owners and enthusiasts. The HB-35 goes for the latter-day revision with thinner horns.
The two f holes are there (Gibson's very latest alteration has been to produce top locked models without the f holes as further ammunition against the dreaded feedback). Likewise the cream binding along the edge of the neck and the back and front of the body.
But the bridge is pure Washburn. Each of the saddles is an oblong of brass with a large circular hole in the centre. The string passes from the back of the guitar body, through the hole and over the top edge towards the plastic nut.
The carved top and rear are both single pieces of maple, exhibiting a busy grain under a good cherry red glossed finish. The three-piece mahogany/ maple/mahogany 22 fret neck joins the body in an effortless glide and all the frets are well set and sealed into the rosewood fingerboard.
I'd hazard that the pickups are Di Marzios both with twin, black exposed coils and Allen key adjustment for the individual pole pieces. The surrounds are black plastic and not that well fixed. There are large gaps around the pickups where sections of the body show through and that rather defeats the point.
This guitar, if you'll forgive the expression, throbs. Not the sort of description often applied to six strings, but it's the best way I can find of summing up the low, powerful bass end exhibited by the bottom three strings across all three pickup selections.
This thick growl is obviously at its strongest on the neck pickup, though the strings don't have the richness you'd find on a genuine Gibson. Even on the tail pickup, those bottom three strings retain their full bodied presence but the top three turn out to be too weedy and brittle for my idea of lead playing. On the neck and middle pickup positions they balance out sweetly with the other strings but get too carried away when the bridge coils are used. Of course some players really like that raucous, fly away treble, but I think the HB-35 establishes its character so strongly as a thick, meaty blues or jazz guitar, this final piece of tone changing seems out of place.
Review by Paul Colbert
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