Hands-On Review:The Washburn DIME2ST & Randall's Warhead Combo
Top-gun weaponry in the war against silence.
I write here to cheer the unholy alliance of Washburn, Randall, and Dimebag Darrell. Over the years, these three have produced a number of killer guitars and monster amps for taking music to the very edge. But their latest creations are the best yet, especially for us ordinary mortals who don't play the big gigs.
The guitar is the DIME2ST Stealth Guitar, Washburn's latest Dimebag model. The amp is the Randall Warhead Combo, a scaled-down, one-box version of the 300W Warhead and monster stack Dime uses on stage. Equip yourself with this guitar and this combo, and you'll be seriously armed and dangerous. They comprise the best guitar/combo setup in all of Metaldom.
First, The Man
Dimebag Darrell is one amazing dude. A monster guitarist. A major creative force for Pantera. On stage, he's dynamic, a one-man attack force. Off stage, he's down-to-earth, a true and total wild man, yes, but one who genuinely appreciates his fans and always delivers the goods. His dedication to his music goes beyond creating and performing. Dime's also way into the gear. Working closely with both Washburn and Randall, he has been instrumental in creating the guitars and the mega amps needed for metal mayhem.
Now, with the DIME2ST and the Warhead Combo, Dime and his cohorts have come up with a package perfect for those who play the music, but for crowds numbering in the hundreds, not the thousands; in rock clubs, gyms, and smaller outdoor venues, not in giant stadiums.
Just introduced, the DIME2ST Stealth is the latest design in the Dimebag Series and is destined to be popular with the metalists. It has the radical body and headstock shape of the Custom Shop 3ST models, with lots of planes and angles like the Stealth bomber. Sharp points on body and headstock give it a threatening vibe (especially threatening to other band members), and its black and silver finish with black hardware enhance its sinister presence.
Like the Air Force version, Dime's Stealth is perfectly designed to deliver a Warhead. Other similarities with the Custom Shop 3ST models include a pair of Dime-selected humbuckers, a Floyd Rose trem, and a locking nut. But the big thing is what it doesn't have: the Custom Shop price tag. The 2ST is no cheapie, but it is accessible. Since few shredders belong to the privileged class, this is an important feature.
It's a well-made axe in the Washburn tradition. Strapped on, it has nice balance. The 2ST is not super lightweight. It has mass and substance to hang solid. The beveled edges make it comfortable, and the top rear wing snugs up under the upper arm so you can hold it firmly even when you're pumpin' and jumpin'. At super volumes you don't want a guitar that bangs against your body too much. It could explode.
I especially liked the way the 2ST came alive when I plugged into the Warhead Combo. The neck is fast and makes it easy to rip off some speed. If chugging is your aim, it lets you get it done to perfection. But what mainly makes it a metal guitar is its bad-ass looks. If some enthusiast from the audience tries to scramble onto the stage, just brandish the 2ST
headstock at him and he'll back off.
The Warhead is exactly what its name implies... a weapon of mass destruction. Though it has only half the output of the big Warhead, it still has plenty to satisfy even the power mad. With 150 watts, this is no sissy amp. Driving its two Celestion twelves, it can do plenty of damage. If you want more, plug in an extension cab with two more twelves or a fifteen. It'll push them all with ease.
Other than the scaled-back power stage, this amp is the full-featured Warhead . Like its big brother, you get a load of controls for tone shaping: inde-pendent volumes, and active three-band EQs on both channels with mid sweep on the distortion side. It also gives you a nine-band graphic for dealing with any out-of-bounds frequencies that rear their ugly heads when you crank it up to mega volumes.
Another cool feature is the built-in effects 16 combinations of delay, chorus, flange, and reverb. These are Dime's favorites, hand-picked to emulate the sounds on his recordings. On stage, Dime's sound depends largely on sheer mega-tonnage, but in the studio these effects are necessary for getting some of his most extreme tones. Some thicken the tone for heavy bottom end thump. Others enhance sustain. I especially liked the flange which gives you a Van Halen-type sound.
What really sets the Warhead apart from all other amps is its righteous distortion. If anyone in the world knows distortion, it's Dime, and he and Randall have put a lot of work into getting it just right in the Warhead. It's brutal, yet the tone stays tight and focused, even with the gain fully cranked. If your intention is to play metal in a style anywhere near the Dime mode, the Warhead Combo will deliver the sounds. Put it together with the DIME2ST, and you've got the deadliest, most affordable serious metal rig known to humankind.
|Dimebag Stealth||Warhead Combo|