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Westone Spectrum DX guitar

Article from Making Music, June 1987


We've not reviewed a Westone six string before, though they've been regular entrants in the Buyer's Bible since Issue One. Now here comes the Spectrum DX with added Bendmaster Deluxe Floyd Rose-style tremolo, one of the last of the Westones to be made in the Japanese factory in Matsumoto City.

The double cutaway Spectrum body should be fairly familiar now, with its two truncated horns and gentle body contouring. The ST and DX models are those graced with two pickups, as opposed to the three on the SX, LX and FX guitars. There's no scratchplate, so the pickups are mounted directly onto the maple body.

The controls are simple Volume and Tone, plus a three-way pickup selector. The knobs are wider at the top than the bottom, which looks a bit daft until you realise that the tone doubles as a push/pull coil tap (for both); this means that sweaty paws don't slip off the thing quite so easily at the end of yet another scorching solo.

The unbound fingerboard is very wide with high round frets, which makes it feel even flatter than it actually is. This is all well and good for tapping and three-fisted hammering-on, but having so much space to lose your fingers isn't necessarily so comfortable for other styles of playing. Furthermore, for me and most other guitarists who aren't as good as E. V. Halen and Y. Malmsteen, high fat frets can be a pain in the fingertips.

The back of the neck and the headstock are both finished in smooth satin black, which is slightly more pleasing to the touch. The allen keys for the locking bolts are neatly stashed in their own clamp behind the headstock - something I've only seen on the much-lauded Marlin Sidewinder, and an idea well worth nicking.

As for the new tremolo - it'll do the dive-bombing business if you're that way inclined, but the tuning on our particular model wasn't as stable as it should have been. Better (or even older) strings and a quick set-up should cure this, but get the shop to do it for you before you buy.

Like we said in the Bible, the sounds are rather undistinguished. It's warm and almost jazzy with both coils on, even in the bridge position, while the tapped sounds are brighter, more brittle, and considerably quieter. That said, it isn't stacked with character; in its favour, Westone might argue that at least it doesn't sound like a Strat


How churlish to argue that £199 is too much for such an excellently finished, clearly thought out, and very well-made instrument. But the Spectrum has neither the mimetic appeal of a good copy nor a truly stylish originality - anyway, not enough to compete with the cheaper Korean or Taiwanese neo-oriental guitars.


PRICE £199
BODY maple
NECK black satin finish on 25½in maple
FINGERBOARD 22 frets on rosewood
PICKUPS two Magnaflux One
CONTROLS Volume, Tone, Coil Tap, 3-way switch
FINISH black or red

Featuring related gear

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Casio FZ1 sampler

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The Deal Blaggers

Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Jun 1987

Gear in this article:

Guitar > Westone > Spectrum DX

Gear Tags:

Electric Guitar

Review by Jon Lewin

Previous article in this issue:

> Casio FZ1 sampler

Next article in this issue:

> The Deal Blaggers

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