SMG REVIEW: 1993 Washburn N2 Koa Flame Top

Nick Arrietta shreddin’ on his ’93 Washburn N2 Koa Flame Top!

OUT OF THE BOX

I recently acquired a ’93 Washburn N2 Koa Flame Top electric guitar from an online auction website, that shall remain nameless. I have waited a long time to own my own Nuno Bettencourt Signature Axe. There has been some dispute whether or not the N2 came out before the N4. I am currently waiting to hear back from Washburn on this matter. I have heard stories that the N2 was a concept model for what eventually became Nuno’s N4 and eventually the N5 and N6. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet guitar.

The first thing that I noticed about the axe was that the body is slightly smaller than a standard sized “Strat,” as well as the newer N4 model. The N2 is slimmer from top to bottom. Nuno is a small guy so it makes sense that the guitar was made to his specifications. The N2 is light weight and very comfortable to play. The neck is in-between a super fast neck and a fat Stratocaster type neck (as well as a bit wider). It took a minute to get used to the strings being a little bit more spaced out than my Les Paul. The N2 came equipped with a Bill Lawrence L500 bridge pickup and a Washburn Eliminator neck pickup. The tone is rich but doesn’t have a really low end tone to it. It has more of a mid-range style sound. The tone is really warm (almost too warm) however the volume difference between pickups is superb. One is not too much louder than the other. The N2 also has an S-600 series double locking Floyd Rose tremolo that stays in tune perfectly. The N2 utilizes a 3-way toggle switch and a single volume/tone knob. The great thing about the toggle switch and the volume knob is that they are located close to where your hand strums the strings, so you don’t have to reach very far to mess with them while jamming.

THE SPECS

  • Alder body
  • Koa Flame Top
  • Natural finish maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 25.5″ scale
  • Dot inlay
  • 22 jumbo frets
  • Nut width: 43mm
  • Bridge pickup: L500 Bill Lawrence™
  • Licensed Floyd Rose® tremolo system S-600 series
  • Chrome hardware

THE LOW DOWN

This is a great guitar! Although it might not be for everybody, as there are some things molded to Nuno’s specific likings. The sound is lacking in the low end, but not too much, you might want to switch out the Bill Lawrence if it’s not bright enough for you. I am personally going to leave the Lawrence in but switch out the Eliminator neck pickup, as it’s really similar to the L500. The N2 is super comfy and light and the neck is great. The extended cutaway allows you to reach all the higher frets with ease so that you can rip solos like there is no tomorrow. The Floyd Rose is an older style, but the way it’s set up on the N2, nothing gets in your way of playing, not even pressing in while palm muting. For me that is a huge Plus. If you have a chance to play one, I would highly recommend it.

Pros: Light, great neck, cool look, Custom pickup (Bill Lawrence L500), easy access to toggle switch and volume knob, Stay’s in tune perfectly.

Cons: N/A

Price range $549- $829

Till next week, thanks for reading and keep on shredding.

Nick Arrietta is a staff writer at SMG. Nick is a professional Music teacher from California and has been playing the Guitar for 24 years. Along with teaching music he is a touring guitarist, studio musician and songwriter. Email: nick@sharemyguitar.com

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  • Jimdonovanboogie

    SEING THAT YOU GRABBED IT ON EBAY FOR PROBABLY 200 LESS THAN ITS PRCE, YA GOT NO COMPLIANTS. I LOOKED AT HIS LATEST, VERY EXPENSIVE, SELS FOR $2500. THIS IS GORGEOUS WOOD. WOULD LOVE TO PLAY IT JUST TO SEE IF I AGREE WITH THESE COMMENTS. yOU DIDNT LIST THE 2ND PICKUP, THEN  YOU MENTIONED AN ELIMINATOR, SO I GUESS THAT’S WHAT IT IS.

  • survivor030406

    Nice find. From looking at the picture of the bridge pick-up, it is neither a Bill Lawrence USA (logo on top missing, thin rails, one grey wire) or Wilde USA (aka Bill & Becky, w/ no logo on top, American flag sticker on bottom, 4 insulated wires, one bare). It is a replacement pick-up.

  • survivor030406

    That is not Bill Lawrence pickup.
    It is a copy.
    The N2 was never made with a koa top.
    I wonder why the seller didn’t mention it..
    Maybe the whole thing is fake?

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