The WM526 is Washburns attempt to make the ultimate guitar. Washburn has been around for a long time but they have never really made a name for themselves. The WM526 was one of their latest attempts to get some buzz around the company and it still didnt really work out. These guitars were really expensive and started to develop problems after they were released. They were discontinued shortly after. On paper the design sounds great but it was not so good in execution. It is a all mahogany shred guitar. Mahogany neck and body with dual EMG pickups an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck with a composite fretboard with stainless steel frets. All these things on paper sound like an awesome guitar and in some ways it is.
Playability is where this guitar shines. Washburn hooked up with Parker guitars to make a composite fretboard for the WM526. The fretboard is almost perfectly flat and is as smooth as glass. Along with the composite fretboard they Parker also helped them with the stainless steel frets. Stainless steel frets are great because they never wear out. They always stay the same size and luster. They will always be smooth and level. This with the super smooth composite fretboard makes this guitar feel like butter in your fingers. The Original Floyd Rose never goes out of tune when it is set up properly too.
Sound is what kills this guitar. Apparently Washburn tried to compensate the mahogany neck and body with a bunch of hardware to brighten the guitar up. I think they went a little too far. The body is quite thin so there is not a lot of mahogany there. Stainless steel frets are harder than normal nickel frets so they are a bit brighter than normal frets soundwise. The original Floyd Rose system will add a little bit of brightness on any guitar. The EMG 81 in the bridge is known for its high end bite. All these together make this guitar really bright and thin sounding. Switching the pickups around so it has an 85 in the bridge may add some meat to the sound but a 2000 dollar guitar should not sound this bad.
Its hard to believe this guitar is made out of mahogany. The sound is so thin. The Washburn Custom Shop got everything right except for the most important part, the sound! These guitars are hard to find now because no one bought them. They were really expensive then also. If you can find one for less than a grand and dont mind changing the pickups to something darker you could get a really good playing guitar with a usable sound for way less than it should be worth.