Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Review & Prices

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Review
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  • From Washburn's 2010 Nuno Bettencourt series
  • Nuno Bettencourt Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Birdseye Maple 5-Bolt Stephen's Extended Cutaway neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Bill Lawrence L-500 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 0 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Floyd Rose 1000 Series Original bridge
  • Washburn Nuno Bettencourt Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium frets
  • Grover Exclusive 18:1 Chrome tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 67
Sound 77
Build quality 69
Value for money 61
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Locking Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $3420, which means that the Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA is around 24% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Double Locking bridge that are made in United States.

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Videos

Washburn N4 "Nuno Bettencourt" Vintage | SOUND BITE
Washburn N4 "Nuno Bettencourt" Vintage | 60 SECOND REVIEW
Nuno Bettencourt on the Washburn N4 at The Music Zoo
Nuno Bettencourt Signature Model Guitar - Washburn N4 Vintage - In-depth Demo - MasterThatGear!
Nuno Bettencourt Signature Guitar - Washburn N4 Authentic Guitar
More Videos

Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners
  • Easy-to-use bridge

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Scale Length Comparison
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Neck Profile
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Nut Width
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Nut Width

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA Fret Size Comparison
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 70
Playability 67

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Birdseye Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Birdseye Maple Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Birdseye Maple Neck: This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Bill Lawrence. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Bill Lawrence L-500 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 62
Tuning Stability 85
Sound 77

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

Bridge

Floyd Rose 1000 Series Original: With this type of tremolo bridge, you'll be able to perform dive bombs and pinch harmonics without getting out of tune. This type of bridge gives you the best versatility, but it also makes it harder to set up your guitar correctly, especially when changing your strings.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The tuners have a ratio of 18:1. This means you need 18 turns of the tuner knob to make the tuner post go around 1 complete revolution. The more turns it takes, the finer and more precise your tuning is going to be. An 18:1 ratio is what most instruments have nowadays. Some high-end ones come with a ratio of 21:1.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA has a Locking nut. Instead of the typical nut, this nut locks the strings in place and will make them stay in tune even after heavy tremolo use. This type of nut provides the best tune stability, but they also make the guitar more expensive.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a retainer bar for the nut, which would be a helpful addition. Without it, the strings will change pitch once you lock down the nut, so you'll have to make more micro-adjustments at the bridge to tune it correctly.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 51
Features 60
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 69

All Specs

Washburn N4-Nuno Vintage USA
General
Brand: Washburn
Year: 2010
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Nuno Bettencourt
Colors: Natural Matte
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: Floyd Rose 1000 Series Original
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Grover Exclusive 18:1 Chrome
Fretboard: Ebony
Neck Material: Birdseye Maple 5-Bolt Stephen's Extended Cutaway
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Washburn Nuno Bettencourt
Frets: 22 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Locking
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Bill Lawrence L-500 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Seymour Duncan '59 SH-1N (Humbucker / Passive)

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