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Thread: What's special about Washburns?

  1. #1
    Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clements... Robert's Avatar
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    Default What's special about Washburns?

    Not trying to piss anyone off, but I haven't seen many Washburn acoustics around my neck of the woods, and the one I have seen haven't been much to write home about.

    So what am I missing? How much do the "good ones" cost? Why would you pick a Washburn over a Martin, for example? I mean, even the lower end Martins are very nice, I must say.

    Forgive my ignorance. Enlighten me.
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  2. #2
    Regular Fretter Kazz's Avatar
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    For me it started as an artist sponsorship....my guitar hero Frank Hannon of Tesla had an endorsement deal with Washburn during their 2005 acoustic tour...the 2nd show we went to on that tour we won passes to sit on stage and I was on the other side of the stage seated next to former guitar player Tommy Skeoch and had a really good angle to see all of Frank's guitars that night and the new Washburn's he was given before the show were pretty spectacular....I think he had a J58 Jumbo Acoustic and the back and sides were visually awesome....so I started doing some research and found that the J28SCEDL or SDL might be in my price range and joined the Washburn forum....I gassed for that J28 for quite some time...played a few....bid on several.....winded up with a D46.


    The quality is there and they offer reasonable price tags that fit into my budget much more than the big names. Sure I would love to have a Martin, or a Taylor....or Gibson J-185 or for that matter the workhorse J-45 but I do not make that kind of money, have a family of 4 children and a big mortgage to pay....so under $500 dollar guitars seems to be where I land...and when you can find deals on them for under $300 with a case....you really cannot go wrong.


    I also have a Parkwood PW-340FM that I was fortunate to catch on sale before they got popular....for under 400.....for a guitar that had an SRP of over $1100.

    Truly I think the real deal with them....is alot of us who migrated over here from the Washburn forum.....feel a special bond from that initial interest....Strum and Mudcat found this place I believe....invited the rest of us over 1 by 1 and the rest is history.....I think you have seen that most if not all of us have since bought other brands and even some of us who were very loyal to the acoustic side...(Strum and Shiner) have wandered across to the dark side of Electricity even.

    Things change.....things stay the same....but at the end of the day it boils down to do you have champagne tastes and pocket money to boot? No....I have champagne tastes and cheap beer pocket money.....so I bought a Washburn Acoustic (which actually makes the 5th W I have bought over the last 3 years)

  3. #3
    Regular Fretter street music's Avatar
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    Robert, I had started out with two Fender acoustics and my first instructor worked at a guitar shop that sold Washburn and he talked me into buying one of them. I had problems after a short time and it was sent back to the factory to repair a brace, then it came loose again. Well, I had learned a couple of things by that time and tried out several more brands and was convinced that for the money it's hard to beat a TAKAMINE for acoustic-electric. I'm still of that same mind but have found a Taylor to be on my want list someday. I'm so glad to have found this site.

  4. #4

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    Hey Robert,are you on youtube as 'rotren' ? if so,then you have the best videos on the net! props!

    Oh and on the washburn topic,it was claptons first guitar if I can remember correctly.That alone says it for me! haha

  5. #5
    Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clements... Robert's Avatar
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    Ironbird, yep, that's me. Thanks!

    I tried some Taylors when I met my Fret friends in Boston. I was very impressed by the guitars - not so by the price tag...
    The Law of Gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.
    Master Guitar Academy - I also teach via SKYPE.

  6. #6
    Regular Fretter wingsdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazz
    ...
    The quality is there and they offer reasonable price tags that fit into my budget much more than the big names. Sure I would love to have a Martin, or a Taylor....or Gibson J-185 or for that matter the workhorse J-45 but I do not make that kind of money, have a family of 4 children and a big mortgage to pay....so under $500 dollar guitars seems to be where I land...and when you can find deals on them for under $300 with a case....you really cannot go wrong.

    ....but at the end of the day it boils down to do you have champagne tastes and pocket money to boot? No....I have champagne tastes and cheap beer pocket money.....so I bought a Washburn Acoustic (which actually makes the 5th W I have bought over the last 3 years)
    Well put, Kazz. :

    One must realize that many (note: I say many, not all) of the Pacific Rim imports of decent quality, that pack bang-for-the buck in the $300-$500 (US) street price (approx. 30-40% off MSRP) range, like Washburns, Epiphones, Ibanez, Guild GAD series, even Takamines (G-series, mainly...their top line insturments are Japanese), are made in the same Chinese and Indonesian factories under contract to the various brand name 'manufacturer' specifications, and even shift production from one factory to another as the factories bid for low-cost. Samick is just one such factory producer that comes to mind.

    Generally, Korean-mades kick the price tag up a notch to the $500-$1000 range. Washburn has shifted away from Korean factories to China and Indonesia over the past 3-4 years. And when these shifts happen, some models get discontinued in favor of new models from new factories.

    Point is: there aren't that many quality Pacific Rim factories that produce consistently good quality instruments. One man's Epiphone, Guild GAD series, Tak G-series or Ibanez EW series may be another man's Washburn, because they may have been built in the same factory.

  7. #7
    Contributing Member sunvalleylaw's Avatar
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    So in essence, they can be the equivalent of an Agile or SX, Epi, etc. in the electric world, or like you say, a Samick. I suppose then once you figure you are buying a guitar out of the Samick, or similar, factory (Does Cort (sp?) make Acoustic?), then the next question is what styling do you want. Spanish mustache like an Iabanez, the gibsonish look of an Epiphone, etc. You guys like the looks of Washburns at that price point. Is that about right? :-)
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  8. #8
    Regular Fretter luvmyshiner's Avatar
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    I guess for me it's an issue of bang for the buck. Two years ago when I decided to pick the guitar back up, CB asked one of her co-workers (a Martin snob) what guitar he would recommend in the price range we were looking for. His response was that you couldn't find a decent guitar in that price range, and I'd be better off saving my money for a real guitar.

    When I started researching the issue I found the Washburn D10S. It had been named by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as the best acoustic guitar under $500, so I thought I'd give it a try (at that time they were going for $200 new, though the price has gone up this year to about $275). I fell in love with it.

    Since then I've done a few things to improve her, specifically a bone nut and saddle, and the improvement they made was well worth the coin. I now have five Washburns for the price of less then I could have spent on one Martin or Taylor.

    Now, I'm not going to try to tell you that my little D10S sounds just as good as a Martin or Taylor. It doesn't. But I will tell you that she sounds just as good (and plays as well) as guitars costing three or four times as much. I can also say that when you compare the D10S to other guitars in the same price range, the difference in terms of craftsmanship, quality and sound is immediately evident.

  9. #9
    Regular Fretter wingsdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw
    .. (Does Cort (sp?) make Acoustic?)...
    They do make acoustics, too. Besides marketing their own brand name guitars, Cort's factory in Korea has made some electrics for Ibanez for years, notably some of their 'jazz boxes'.

    Hoshino, Japan is the parent corporation to Ibanez and Cort. My local music store carries them both, ordered through the same sales rep, and the bill comes from Hoshino.

  10. #10
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    Well, for me Its more than the Guitar. I have a washburn guitar since 2001..Really liked this guitar so last year I went looking for some Info on this Guitar....I found a lot more then I was looking for. I found one of the greatest group of guys and girls I have ever known...well not to go on and on, they all came here to hang out in this great forum, so I had to followed...LOL glad I did because I found another friendly place that has some very knowledgeable people.
    Back to the guitar, For the price washburn has some real nice Guitars and Mandolins, you get good quality Instruments for the price of cheaper guitars.

  11. #11
    Luke Skyrawker Spudman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw
    (Does Cort (sp?) make Acoustic?),
    Cort makes some really nice acoustics and so does Samick. But as with Washburns, Cort and Samick acoustics I don't have a clue as to what the really nice models are.

    Speaking of Cort reminded me of the Larry Coryell model that Cort makes. Larry let me play his signature guitar...and then put it away for him. Lazy bum.

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  12. #12
    Regular Fretter Kazz's Avatar
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    Cort makes the Parkwood line of acoustic guitars.

  13. #13
    Regular Fretter wingsdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magoo
    ... For the price washburn has some real nice Guitars and Mandolins, you get good quality Instruments for the price of cheaper guitars.
    +1, magoo : I've had a number of Washburn & Oscar Schmidt acoustics & electrics. At this point, these 3 diverse instruments fill roles in my bag o' tricks:

    Simply-put, a great Korean-made chambered semi-solid mahogany body/solid spruce top nylon string acoustic/electric, the NV100C is meant to be a plug n' play for direct recording or live apps. With sealed gear/adjustable tension tuners you don't often find on a classical, a bolt-on adjustable pitch neck, contoured back & heel and a B-Band A3.2 preamp/UST, with surprising unplugged volume & tone, essentially because of the bridge design, similar to a Tacoma. I A-B'd it against an Ibanez Exotic Wood (Bubinga body) thin-bodied classical last week, & the Chinese Ibanez failed miserably. This was under $500 new:


    I'd had an Oscar Schmidt A-style a/e mando that ran about $150, but moved up to this superb all-solid wood (maple & spruce) Korean-made F-style Mando, the M6SW "Jethro Burns" model. Less than $700 new. I've A-B'd it against a Gibson at 3X the price, and the Gibson loses in volume and tone:


    Oscar Schmidt, the 'economy' brand of the Washburn/US Music family, makes great Ukuleles. If anyone is thinking of plinking one of these little guys, this Indonesian all Koa (laminate) OU-6 Tenor model replaced a smaller Koa/spruce (laminate) Chinese model I'd had, the OU-3. Less than $250 new, the longer scale of the tenor is easier to handle and gives more range:


    These 3 quality instruments for a total of around $1,400 pack a tremendous bang for the buck.

  14. #14
    Regular Fretter Childbride's Avatar
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    Robert... it's one of those things you have to Play, you can't necessarily Explain.

    i invite you anytime to our neck of the woods to play the herd, and then you'd Know.

    don't get me wrong; i dearly, dearly love Odyssey, and the D'aquisto.

    but i lack the words to tell you how the others speak in their own voices, and they sing a Symphony.

    and how at the end of a day, when i come in from out of county and get home around seven, that picking up Storm
    [the 12-er my husband acquired for me from Rocket] or Savage [the ea20 we acquired from Strummy] just puts all the jigsaw puzzle pieces Back in Place in my head.

    [edit: (wince) i forgot Autumn... my very first Washie... and darned if that solid top isn't opening up. that girl can Sing. ]

    they are beautiful, great sounding guitars.

    and the people i've met since i've started this journey on that forum are Priceless, and True, Truest Friends.

    k

  15. #15
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    Nothing special about Washburns except for some of the people that have them. I could say the same for Gibsons, Fenders, Taylors, et alii.
    Maybe they can all bring production back home some day. Here's to lofty goals!

  16. #16
    Regular Fretter Steve206's Avatar
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    My first guitar, that I actually bought, was a 61 Martin 016-NY. $100 from a friend in 1966. Went to Germany in 1970 and got a used Framus 12 string, $35. Came back to the states and the Army overpaid me and I went down to a music store in Ft. Lauderdale and paid $400 for a Martin D-35.

    I was set. I was complete. Gave the 12 string to a friend. Ended up selling the D-35 during lean times. Still have the 016-NY.

    Decided I needed a 12 string again. I really do not know why. Went to Sam Ash and grabbed an 87 D28-12N. Spruce top and rosewood back and sides, By Washburn. Better price than Yamaha.

    I was set. I was complete. Some years later, decided to find out what the Wash was worth, as I was not playing it. Discovered a forum full of fantastic folks and loads of information.

    Discovered GAS and what it meant to me, personally.

    In one year, I went from a 3 guitar guy, with no real problems, to a 9 guitar guy, glued to the forum pages, thinking I had found a long lost home, a special place, that I did not realize that I was searching for, or needed, but found out, later, that I really did.

    I will put the Wash J28 up against all of the jumbos in the price range. I will do the same with the J6 Montgomery. For no reason at all, I just like having a hollow body, jazz, guitar. Could be like wearing a favorite shirt that no one else notices, but I feel better just having it on.

    I am not truly pleased with my HB32-DM, from BSG. Just a normal HB-32 that it would seem that they slapped some SD pups into and did not change anything else. Like the pots. The volume knobs only work in the first couple of moves. 0 is off,,,,and 3 is full tilt. From what I have heard here, I should be looking at getting new pots. The frets are clumbsily dressed and catching the E string at the third and sometimes higher.

    All in all, knowing that a handful of factories are producing very similar guitars, what is really in the name, anyway?

    Steve

  17. #17

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    I just bought a Washburn D-10S last week and pretty much stumbled upon it by accident. I dropped in to a local music store, and the owner suggested I take a look at it after I told him I was looking for an acoustic. Plus, he was selling it for $250...about $50 less than what MF or GC sells it for.

    I was skeptical about the guitar due to the price tag and started playing it in the store. I was pretty impressed to be honest. Granted, it's not a Taylor or a Martin, but it IS on par with a Takamine that I payed $450 for 10 years ago that eventually warped in the neck and on the top. It was also on par with a Yamaha that I played at GC that sold for $450.

    Washburn has been around a long time and has a reputation for putting out quality instruments. Time will tell how this guitar holds up, but it is a pretty good guitar that can be caught at an excellent value.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TS808
    Washburn has been around a long time and has a reputation for putting out quality instruments.
    Washburn HAS been around a long time but their reputation is not all virginal.
    In 2000, after a 5-year investigation, Washburn pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, sentenced to five years probation, and ordered to pay a $1,000,000 fine. They were caught in the act of directing their employees to systematically remove the "Made in Korea" labels from instruments, which were then repackaged and relabeled to indicate that they were made in the United States.
    http://www.cbp.gov/custoday/nov2000/tye2.htm
    Just because a company has been around a long time doesn't mean they automatically deserve your implicit trust.

  19. #19
    Regular Fretter just strum's Avatar
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    I've owned two acoustics and one acoustic/electric.

    I would say in the $650 and lower category Washburn offers a very competitive guitar when comparing it against a lot of guitars in the same price range and comparing some that might sell for as much as $1,200.

    I purchased my EA20SDL used and liked it, but not enough to keep it and used the money to buy an electric guitar. It is now in the hands of CB and was purchased as a gift from Shiner. Both have commented on a number of occasions that they really like it. The guitar model has always received good reviews.

    My WD32SW was a solid wood dreadnought and new it was $325 (W/O case) and I think it was one of the best deals for a solid wood guitar out there.

    The last one I had was a J28SDL (solid top) Jumbo. A real booming sound and a great guitar to play. It was selling for $685 w/case, I got it new for $325 w/case on E-bay. It was one of those that managed to get under the radar. I probably would not have paid full price for it, but it was a good guitar.

    If I recall, the EA20SDL was made in Indonesia and the other two in China. All were well built and had no flaws, except none of them arrived with anything close to a decent set up.

    On the high end, I cannot speak first hand, but I've heard some very good reviews.

    I have heard people comment that their Washburn's in the price range of my old ones would give a $3,000 to $4,000 Martin, Gibson, or Taylor a run for their money - I don't buy it. Although I've never owned any of those, I played them at stores and IMHO, there is no comparison. The Martin, Gibson, or Taylor blow the lower end Washburn's away.

    I played a $180 Fender acoustic (all laminated) and I was surprised how good it played and it certainly would give Washburn's D10 a run for its money.

    Based solely on the past models I've owned, I would say Washburn is a safe guitar to purchase, but they are not the BEST.

    As for electrics, I almost bought one of the Idol series - great look and good reviews.

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