Washburn Idol Series W164 Review

Guitar Reviews

Washburn’s Idol Series W164 is a great choice if you don’t want a bland look-alike or sound-alike instrument. This distinctively shaped single-cutaway solidbody features an exceptionally thin mahogany body and beveled edges reminiscent of an SG, and it’s loaded with several unusual features that truly makes it stand out from the crowd.

Washburn W164 Features

With its dual high-output WB360 humbuckers, separate volume for each pickup, three-position pickup toggle, stop tailpiece and Tune-O-Matic bridge, the W164 is reminiscent of other models born in America’s Midwest, but this guitar has a personality that’s all its own. The one-piece mahogany set neck offers a 24 ¾-inch scale, 22 frets and a rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, but the scooped cutaway is deep enough to provide easy access to the highest note.

The W164’s Buzz Feiten tuning system and Voice Contour Control (VCC) electronics really set it apart from the crowd. The Feiten system ensures that the guitar’s intonation remains perfect no matter where you play. VCC replaces standard tone controls with a circuit that lets you incrementally blend humbucking and single-coil tones at the twist of a knob. This feature is exclusive to Washburn guitars, and it’s on a guitar this affordable.

Washburn W164 Performance

The VCC circuit makes the W164 an exceptionally versatile instrument. With it set at full humbucking position, the pickups deliver the dark tones of doom you expect from a thin mahogany-bodied guitar, but as you dial in single-coil tones, the sound becomes much brighter and livelier. Best of all, at the “in-between” setting the pickups sound like P90s, so it’s almost like the guitar has three sets of pickups.

The W164’s neck has the meaty profile of a classic ax, and the frets feel deliciously smooth and buttery. Players accustomed to playing vintage axes will feel right at home. The action is nice and low, and the W164 is a joy to play way up the neck, where the notes retain perfect intonation.


With its vintage feel and versatile electronics, the Washburn W164 is a great choice for players who don’t want to abandon a familiar favorite but need a guitar that can provide all the sounds they need.

Review provided by Musician’s Friend.

Washburn Idol Series W164


  1. I’ve had this guitar for almost a year now, and I absolutly love it. It is so easy to play. The neck is so smooth, very fast. The heel of this guitar is perfect, I have had no trouble getting to the high frets. I have never had a tuning problem. The only problem ive had was that there wasn’t that much sustain on the higher frets.

  2. My WI64 is nearly ten years old and I still play it regularly. It’s one of my work-horses for gigs. It can produce some very desirable tones. I never bother with the VCC system, and honestly I would just assume it only had volume and tone knobs. I also like the slimmed down body.

  3. I’ve had this guitar for a few years now and have had NO problems with it at all. The tuning system really holds the guitar in tune better than most of the other guitars I’ve used over the years. And the variety of tones I can get with this beast cover any style of music I want to play. I tend to play it through a bass amp to get more solid bottom ends. For the price, it’s a great instrument.

  4. Having been through many guitars in my life (almost all American or Japanese made), this one seems like the best deal out there. I would have preferred coil-tap switches instead instead of VGC, which takes it’s place. Even though it’s made in Indonesia (was hoping for a Korean-made guitar), it’s well built and plays great. I am going to use this as my travel electric and leave my more expensive guitars at home. I would definitely replace it if it was lost or stolen.

  5. I have had my I64 for a few months now, and I can say I am very happy with my new guitar. I did change strings, but other than that I left it pure stock. I think the VCC gives this guitar some nice versatility in sound. I seem to get about anything I’m looking for. I really like the neck on this guitar, working the frets is fast and easy for me. The sustain on this thing just goes on and on. I like the pickups, I get nice tone clean or distorted. I especially like to play the bluesy stuff and this guitar does it as good or better than anything else I’ve played. This guitar is also very comfortable to play, everything just seems to be in the right place. The quality of manufacture of this guitar is, in my opinion, excellent. I simply cant find anything I don’t like about this guitar, and I tend to be picky about such things. The wood is gorgeous, finish is excellent, everything is tight and well fit. I have the transparent red finish and pictures just don’t do it justice. This is a really nice looking guitar. If you are considering getting one of these I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all, I know I wasn’t.

  6. I just discovered a little-known version of this Washburn guitar that really piqued my interest. It’s the W64 PL model and I believe the humbuckers may be different and the hardware is gold; but all the specs and features like graduated split coil (“voicing) and Grover 16-1 tuners with Buzz Feiten’s intonation system.

    The big difference is between 50 and 300 of these were made with aged Mother of Pearl top, pickup surrounds, pickguard, and headstock. The MOP on the top is feathered into the deep mahogany paint around the edge of the top to create a unique pearl sunburst affect. With the gold hardware, it’s one of the most beautiful guitars2 I’ve seen.

    So after testing this PL out over several days, I bought it. It’s one of the coolest in my collection and will be an increasingly rare collectable. But it’s a player!

  7. So glad to knowthis guitar was everything I expected it to be, having bought mine online and for the price worth the gamble. I gambled and won! Thanks for this.
    AndBTW, It’s NOT W164. It’s W I 64, the “I” is for Idol. Not the number one.

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