Saturday, February 20, 2010

Washburn #2 - 'KC90 V' natural

In modern times, Washburn have contracted out the bulk of their manufacture with only the 'custom shop' models being made in the USA. In the early 90s, the Chicago series were their standard superstrat offering and mostly made in Korea. Nowadays they're not in the slightest bit desirable so if you want a good quality cheap superstrat one of the KC models would be right at the top of my list. The electrics and pickups are even of a decent quality.

The two top models, the KC90 and KC100 were made in Japan. This was in the factory which made early 90s 'Professional' Jacksons, renowned for being made to giant-slaying levels of quality and playability. Unlike the Jacksons this isn't widely known so the KC90 can be had rather cheaply sometimes. I managed to pick this up for £90. The KC100 is similar but with a through rather than bolt-on neck and is quite uncommon.

So, the KC90 comes with good quality Japanese hardware, Washburn branded Gotoh machine heads, Washburn 600-S tremolo which is actually a Takeuchi TRS-101 and fantastic build quality. The neck on mine feels exactly like the one on my Jackson Rhoads EX Pro, which would have come from the same factory. It even has the same slightly too close together inlays at the 12th fret.

Last but not least you get genuine Seymour Duncan pickups. Mine came with a JBJ at the bridge and 'classic' single coil in the middle position. Originally the neck pickup would have been a Duncan too but somebody had replaced it with a cheapo Artec mini-humbucker at some point. The electrics were all scratchy too, but such is the peril of of 15+ year old guitars.

When I got this it had a badly chipped metallic blue finish on the body. So I stripped it back to the wood and did a Danish Oil finish. this was my first go at refinishing and it's not perfect but is adequate.

I also rewired it with a Kent Armstrong Motherbucker at the bridge and two Cool Rails in the other positions. I stole the Duncans from it for one of my EC29s.

If I see another one cheap I'll buy it. They're the perfect base for a 'superstrat project' as you're starting from something decent.

2 comments:

Long said...

One question, do you think the guitar body is basswood or ash. Thanks.

Nick Reynolds said...

According to http://www.washburn.com/about-us/customer-service/washburn-guitar-archives.html it's ash, I'm bad at recognising wood myself.