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Author Topic: First Washburn, HB35  (Read 1982 times)

Offline guitaro

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First Washburn, HB35
« on: July 26, 2017, 01:09:16 PM »
Bought my first Washburn guitar yesterday off of Reverb and am pretty excited about it.  Seems to be an older model.  The seller listed it as a 1991 MIK which may or may not be correct so I'm hoping you guys can help me figure out more about age and location of build.  Don't worry, I'm not going to ask "what is my guitar worth?" because I don't really care and plan on keeping it unless there is something wrong and unexpected.

What has me confused about the age and location of manufacturing is I see images of other HB35's listed as 1991's and mine looks very different including not having flame maple, different horns and different headstock. 

If what I read is correct, 1991 was right around the time they transitioned factories from Japan to Korea for these models.  It has a 6 digit SN that starts with 911.

Here are the pics.

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: First Washburn, HB35
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 12:50:45 PM »
Somewhere around here is a thread where me & a few others tried to put together notes on the evolution of the HB-35. My hope was to make it easier to date a 35 on sight aloneby these changes: "ear" shape, pickplate shape, logo, placement of knobs & switch & jack, headstock shape, logo...

You do have a lovely guitar, which has been well-played but cared for. The tailpiece (Schaller?) is a nice upgrade.

At a glance, though, I doubt 1991. Others may correct me, but two points stand out.

First, those look like Grovers. If so, & they're original, it's NOT a 1991. Washburn didn't start putting Grovers on their midrange guitars until the late 1990s.

Then there's the block inlays. They were split-block until the late '90s. (And they stop at fret 19 rather than 21.)

Yours has "Mickey Mouse ears" for cutaway horns. I vaguely recall someone saying that was a brief period in the 35's history, but can't remember further. While I don't mind the thicker, rounder ears, I find the almost-pointed "cat ears" more aesthetically pleasing. (Here's a short article about 335 ears:

I'm sure there's other stuff, so I'll pull up the 1993 catalogue --
Yep, there we go: split blocks, no Grovers. Also: smaller pointier horns, switch on upper bout, reverse knob layout, different tonehole shape, side-mount jack. In recent years, Washburn has gone back to these old specs, even the soundhole shape.

The seller was well-intentioned -- at least he didn't try to claim it was MIJ ::) -- but so far as the serial number, he's kinda got one part of his anatomy stuck up another. ;) (Many Washburn dabblers do, if not most.)

Briefly, if an s/n doesn't have one or two prefix letters, it's probably not current. If less than 8 digits, it's not recent past. Six digits is probably before 2000, so I'd guess 1999 (one-digit year code) & call it a "transitional" version, maybe the first run from an Indonesia or Red China factory, & possibly some other brand's ES-335 sorta-clone, rebadged to fill a rush order for Washburns.

Anyone care to shoot me down on this? :)

So long as it feels good, sounds good, & plays good, that's all that really matters. It's a very lovely axe, morseso than some of the "standard" 35s I've seen.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 12:54:43 PM by Tony Raven »
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