Framus is famous for producing the museum-quality, vintage-style guitars favored by artists like Earl Slick, Elliot Easton and John Jorgenson. But the German guitar maker also applies its uncompromising craftsmanship and engineering excellence to guitars made for metal players, like the new Diablo Progressive X.
Its design wisely defers to many of the ideals established by metal guitar makers in the early Eighties, including the belief that rounder neck profiles create more sustain, and that medium-to-heavyweight bodies offer a fuller tone with driven amps. As with Framus’ other superlative planks, this combination of established ideologies, unerring German technology and famously resonant woods results in a guitar that’s as exciting as it is refined.
On the face of it, the Diablo Progressive X looks like a simple, two-humbucker, Floyd Rose–equipped double-cutaway guitar. But there’s a great deal of engineering that separates its feel and performance from many of its similarly appointed brethren. For example, the maple neck has a C-shaped profile whose depth gently tapers from the nut to heel. This is key to creating sustain and volume. In addition, Framus’ “bolt-in” construction provides the attack of a traditional bolt-on while delivering a smoother tone and more resonant continuity between the neck heel and body.
The guitar also features Framus’ Invisible Fretwork Technology, something unique to Framus guitars. The IFT system installs each fret precisely and leaves two millimeters of wood to either side of it, so that fret ends are not exposed. The resulting U profile increases the neck’s stability and improves the transfer of vibrations.
The mahogany body isn’t much deeper than the neck heel, so high frets are easy to access, weight is minimized, and there’s plenty of treble sting to balance with the bountiful low-mids. Framus chose a Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz Model for the neck position and a STB-6 Distortion Trembucker for the bridge tones. Both pickups are wired to a five-way switch and low-friction pots.
Overall, the quality of Diablo Progressive X is outstanding. From the body’s gorgeous select wood to the Sperzel machine heads, everything about this guitar screams perfection. Anyone looking to step up from a midrange guitar would do well to consider this ax.
Whether I strummed it softly or aggressively, the Diablo Progressive X vibrated strongly, reminding me that I was playing a finely crafted instrument and not a standard off-the-shelf guitar. Bass tones were rich, distinct and gloriously dark. The midrange was warm but punchy, and highs were full and powerful. These qualities, along with various single-coil and humbucking combinations, equate to deliciously detailed clean, crunch and high-gain tones. Most impressive was how the Diablo Progressive X cut through even the most heavily distorted amp settings, allowing my expression, technique and touch to shine.
List Price $6,799.99 (includes Premium Line Plus Rockbag)
Manufacturer Warwick GmbH & Co Music Equipment KG, framus.de
An Original Floyd Rose bridge floats in a rear-routed cutout, allowing whammy-proficient players to pull up and dive.
The Seymour Duncan Jazz Model SH-2 neck pickup and high-powered STB-6 Distortion Trembucker are mated to a five-way switch for myriad tonal options.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve always wanted a top-shelf instrument with a recessed Floyd Rose and absolute tonal flexibility, Framus’ Diablo Progressive X may be the master-built guitar of your dreams.