WASHBURN HAS BEEN STEADILY BUILDING ITS REPUTATION AMONG
shred and metal players, offering such things as the U.S.-made HM
Series guitars, which are designed from the ground up to satisfy the
most demanding shred-oholics. In that spirit, the WM24 Renegade
is a well-equipped ax that sports a thin, bolt-on neck with a relatively
flat phenolic fretboard and 24 carefully shaped frets. The black
hardware consists of a Floyd Rose-licensed double-locking trem system,
a set of mini Grover tuners, and a pair of Randall-made humbuckers.
Master Volume and Tone controls and a 3-way selector
complete the package. In keeping with its sleek design ethos, the
Renegade dispenses with fretboard inlays and limits the bling factor
to a sharp looking transparent redburst finish that beautifully
highlights the figuring of the maple veneer top.
The lightweight Renegade has a comfy carve on the backside of
its body, as well as a generous lower cutaway and rounded neck
joint that make it easy to reach the high frets. This guitar arrived
with a good setup and superb intonation—a result of the Buzz Feiten
Tuning System—which allowed chords to sound
extremely tuneful in all regions of the fretboard.
And with its glass-smooth synthetic fretboard and
polished frets, the playing feel is quick to say the
least. The trem took a little while to settle in,
but once the strings had been fully stretched, it
was possible to work the bar to its extremes without
going out of tune. One bothersome thing,
however, was excess play in the arm. This can be
eliminated with some adjusting, but it’s not something
you want to hassle with on a new guitar.
The Renegade’s slightly dark voicing made it easy
to get thick sounding tones from all of our test amps.
The Randall pickups have their own thing going. They
are strong and punchy, with a naturally “brown”
response that was particularly noticeable on the
bridge unit (possibly due to a higher number of
wire turns). Some players may like this quality
more than others. If you’re into buttery
high-gain tones, the Renegade may have just
the sound you want—if you like a lot of highend
bite on your pick attack, it may not.
Nevertheless, with its excellent playability,
solid construction, and hip features, the
Renegade is a pretty smokin’ deal for $399.
You could certainly spend a lot more on a U.Sor
Japanese-made guitar of this type, but the
Renegade proves that you don’t have to.
(847) 949-0444; washburn.com
MODEL HM Series
PRICE $399 street
NECK Mahogany, set
FRETS 24 standard
PICKUPS Randall Ultra XL
CONTROLS Volume, Tone,
TUNERS Grover die-cast
WEIGHT 7.3 lbs
KUDOS Killer shred
guitar for a low
price. Plays well.