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Author Topic: Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars  (Read 1032 times)

Online YerDugliness

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Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars
« on: January 26, 2018, 10:26:48 AM »
There are some VERY good prices now on Washburn's series of "ELITE" instruments.

Here is what I've heard about the "ELITE" series, of which I am aware of 2 models:

Washburn WSJ60SKELITE Solid Cedar Top Southern Jumbo Acoustic Guitar with case

Washburn WSJ50SKELITE Solid Spruce Top Southern Jumbo Acoustic Guitar with case.

The 60 model has a solid cedar soundboard and laminate "Cocobolo" sides and back.

The 50 model has a solid spruce soundboard with laminate Koa sides and back.

Both models appear to be "Southern Jumbo" models...essentially "slope shouldered" dread-sized instruments.

There isn't much really known about how the ELITE series originated, but after having some conversations with the owner of the online company from which I order, here is what little I have heard (I have no idea how accurate it is).

The ELITE line was developed to be sold only in certain music stores, which were going to be designated as "ELITE" dealers by Washburn. This was reported to have been a project that was going to involve stores not only in the U.S., but also in Europe. Somehow, the "ELITE" dealerships didn't seem to get off the ground, but Washburn had a stock of "ELITE" labeled guitars already made, so one of the online instrument dealers (which IS an authorized Washburn dealer) apparently bought the entire stock and is offering great deals on these ELITE instruments.

One issue which is usually of particular importance (to me) is the quality of lutherie and the nature of the materials used. In this case, the instrument gets a B...the dreaded "ivoroid" cream colored bindings on the body and neck are notably absent and in their place is high quality maple. That gives the instrument a much more "professional" look. The Rosette is MOP/Abalone, but the purfling is not. The fretboard is bound, as is the head plate. The neck is surprisingly "thick" (I like a V-neck, so a thick neck suits me just fine). The only reason I give it a B rather than an A is that I also own a WG26S (Grand Auditorium body style) and the bindings along that guitar's fretboard/headplate  and around the body are much more "deluxe" than the ones on the ELITE. I would have expected that to be reversed for an instrument that Washburn was developing as it's premier line.

I have yet to see or hear the other ELITE offering from WMS...it's spruce soundboard should offer brighter tones and tolerate much more vigorous strumming, and the koa will give a warmth to the sound.

Cheers!

Dugly 8)

« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 12:54:02 PM by YerDugliness »
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,D62SW,C124SWK,
WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE,WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S (2).
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline cedarboy

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Re: Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 08:27:16 AM »
I just received the last WSJ60SKELITE cedar topped elite model WMS had in stock. It's very finely crafted and the cedar top gives it a very warm and broken in sound. They had sent me the 50 spruce topped one at first by mistake which was a nice guitar but it sounded too bright. I am glad they found the 60 in the warehouse. The cedar top on this one is very nice with extremely tight and uniform grains. I'm in the process of setting it up. The action was too low so I'm fitting another bone saddle to get the action where I want it and I replaced the stock tuners with much higher quality Gotoh sealed tuners. I will report back soon and also post pics.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 08:30:57 AM by cedarboy »

Online YerDugliness

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Re: Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 08:31:15 AM »
I had noticed that the 60 model had dropped off the inventory list at WMS, glad to hear you got one!

It has taken a while for me to develop an appreciation of my SJ60ELITE...it took a while for the strings to settle in and in fact I still have the factory strings on mine. My 60 was at a disadvantage because I had recently purchased a couple of WG26S guitars and they appear to my old, noise damaged ears to have better spectral balance as well as greater volume than the 60. Having said all that, though, I'd have to say that my 60 is in the top half of my collection regarding play time. It's a pleasant guitar to play and there's something about those slope-shouldered dreads that really helps them shine in a group.

I had wondered how the 50 model sounds...I expected it to have a more woody sound because of the Koa used for the sides and backs.

Cheers!

Dugly 8) 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 09:05:01 AM by YerDugliness »
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,D62SW,C124SWK,
WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE,WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S (2).
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline cedarboy

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Re: Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 10:25:25 AM »
Mine was set up like an electric solidbody...the action was too low so the b and high e strings were massively buzzing out at the 13th and 14th frets. I was worried at first that the neck had a hump or high frets and would have to get a fret level. I put on another bone saddle that I sanded so the action was just a tad higher and had complete success. I also use D'Addario Flat Tops strings which I installed and now it just sings. This is my first steel string with a solid cedar top and I'm very impressed with how much warmer the overall sound is. I only had the 50 which they sent by mistake for a week and in comparing the two I'd have to say the 50 sounded brittle and thin even though it had a nice spruce top.  I think the cedar top will make for a good recording guitar as the tone and volume seem very even and sweet.

Online YerDugliness

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Re: Washburn's "ELITE" series of acoustic guitars
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 11:07:23 AM »
Now that I've had my WSJ60SKELITE for a while I thought I ought to post again about the instrument.

When it arrived the sound was not as impressive as I had expected, but this is one of those instruments that improves with some better strings. I put on Dean Markley GoldBronze .011-.052s and the more they stretch in the better the tone gets. I suspect that over the years there will be further improvements in tone as the solid cedar soundboard ages in...and one of the nice surprises regarding this instrument is the volume it can produce without "breaking up", like so many cedar soundboards do when played vigorously. Perhaps it is the large soundboard (it is a pretty large guitar), I don't know, but it has gotten much better over time, including the balance across the strings, which was not so good until the GoldBronze strings were installed.

In the beginning my goal was to have a nice camping/road guitar. This is SO much more than that, but since it's been growing on me I think I'll take it to the next Pearl Bluegrass jamfest. At first I thought it would just be a "looker", now it's become a "player", too.

Good job, Washburn!

Cheers!

Dugly 8)







YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,D62SW,C124SWK,
WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE,WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S (2).
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC