This is what happens when you hang around the Washburn forum too much.
Washburn have been making the Nuno Bettencourt signature models since 1990. Which is a long time for a signature association when the guitar itself is pretty much unique to the artist rather than just one of the companies normal models with some artist-specific bling. All those units shifted must mean something and it's not like Nuno is a hugely popular figure either.
The Nuno models tick a lot of my boxes as they're well specified twin humbucker superstrats that use the "Stephen's Extended Cutaway" neck joint found on my EC29s. The problem is that I really don't like the reverse headstock and have no interest in Nuno at all. Also, the majority of models are US made so out of my price range. There is the N2 which is very common but this is a budget N4 lookalike model with conventional neck joint.
There were a few 'import' models made with a decent spec. in the shape of the N3, N24 and N61. The N3 was rapidly discontinued, I suspect it cannibalised sales of the very similar US N4 models. The N61 messes the formula up with a scratchplate and single coils and I've never seen an N24 for sale in the UK. Even so these still have the reverse headstock and Nuno association which put me off them.
What I wasn't aware of until I hung around on the forum was that Washburn filed the serial numbers off the Nuno design, turned the headstock the right way up, fitted a tone control (omitted on Nunos) and push/pull coil tap then released this as the Korean made 'Nextar' or NX3.
So that's all the bits that appeal from the Nuno guitars minus all the things that don't. One came up on eBay at a sane price and I bought it.
It's in very good nick, plays nicely and the stock Washburn pickups which get a bit of a slagging at times seem pretty good to me. I really like the very plain satin finish and direct mounted pickups. The body is a 3-piece affair but joined very subtly so it looks almost like a one piece.
It's my first guitar with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System (tm). I am very sceptical about this as I don't like proprietary patented stuff like this that locks you into going to an 'authorised dealer' for servicing/setup. However you can find how to intonate the guitar according to BFTS on the Internet if you look for it. I can't say I noticed the BFTS making it sound any sweeter than I expected.
More on this when I come to do some setup work on it.