Washburn and Nuno Bettencourt Create New Nele Guitars with 6-Way Switch for Expanded Sonic Versatility

Celebrating 30 years of creative collaboration, guitar phenom Nuno Bettencourt and Washburn today again rewrote the rules of guitar design with the introduction of a new custom-built, U.S.-made Nuno Bettencourt Nele Guitar Series that offers increased sonic versatility with a 6-way tone switch and single coil pickups. The guitar is so unique that Bettencourt utilized it on the Extreme’s highly anticipated upcoming album, the band’s first major release in more than a decade.

“I’m excited about the new Nele and its multitude of tones,” said Bettencourt. “In addition to taking a traditional approach with single coils, the 6-position switch opens up new creative possibilities and gives me more granular tone control. Washburn has been with me through thick and thin, and fans will hear this guitar on the new Extreme album.”

The new Nuno Bettencourt Nele Series, launching in standard and deluxe versions, is a single-cut solid body guitar that features a natural-grain swamp ash body, Seymour Duncan® Vintage Stack® neck pickups, Bill Lawrence L-250 bridge pickups, and an innovative 6-way “Freeway Ultra” switch. The new tone switch allows players to select from the neck pickup, bridge pickup, bridge and neck, both pickups in series and in phase, both pickups in series and out of phase, or both pickups parallel and out of phase.

The two versions feature slightly different builds, with the Standard version using a maple neck, birdseye maple fretboard and acrylic inlay, while the Deluxe version includes a birdseye maple neck, ebony fretboard and pearloid inlay. The Deluxe version also adds a figured maple cap on the swamp ash body. Both models utilize an extended cutaway and 22 fret board for maximum playability.

“Nuno’s skill, style and storied career have helped make him one of Washburn’s leading evangelists over the past 30 years,” said Washburn Vice President of Sales James Tsaptsinos. “Our engineers worked hard with Nuno to design a new series of guitars with unique capabilities, feel and sound, and we’re thrilled it’s already been put to use on the long-awaited Extreme album due to release this year.”

The Nele series is available for shipping to Washburn dealers immediately, with MSRPs of $3,600 for the Nele Standard and $4,370 for the Nele Deluxe.

Nuno Bettencourt was launched into the annals of rock history as lead guitarist for the platinum-selling band Extreme in the 1980s, and has since developed a career as an acclaimed solo musician, as Musical Director for the multi Grammy Award-winning songwriter Rihanna and a member of Steve Vai’s touring super group of guitarists Generation Axe. 

For high-res images, click here.