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Messages - Tony Raven

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Washburn Parallaxe Series / Re: Using the buzz feiten system
« on: November 17, 2017, 12:52:13 AM »

Washburn Parallaxe Series / Re: Using the buzz feiten system
« on: November 17, 2017, 12:29:45 AM »
I have a bunch of (potentially relevant) thoughts.

Over the years, I've played a  range of guitars -- & by "range" I mean that I'm a gear addict. ::) Anyway, a very common problem, IME, is that the nut is worn, ever so slightly, & particularly under the wound strings; if an electric guitar has seen lots of vibrato use, this wear can extend all across. As a result, it's impossible to properly tune such a guitar relying on the open-string tone: to do so would make all fretted notes sharp, however slightly, & adjusting the bridge based on the open note would screw up ALL fretted notes.

When I adjust a bridge, I put a capo at Fret #1 (though, as I'll get to, maybe #3 would be better). And when I tune a guitar, I tend to adjust for where I'm playing, so an acoustic will be tuned to sound best on first-position chords, a rhythm guitar for accuracy around frets 5-7, & an electric for soloing work around fret 10.

Though I have been critical of the Buzz Feiten Tuning System, I should make clear that it is an excellent fix for an inherent problem of the guitar, namely the "break angle" over the nut. See, in a mechanically ideal system, the edge of the nut ought to be as close as possible to the exact center of the string. Instead, not only do strings vary in diameter, but some of them have further wraps that push the string up from its proper break point (not unlike the mounting end of strings in an autoharp or piano). As a result, when fretting the thicker strings, pressing down stretches the string, raising its pitch. The BFTS is a very simple & smart way of compensating for this.

However, this is NOT some miraculous cure-all. Feiten's own literature states that this compensation is intended to make up for problems in the first two or three frets. Anything higher on the fretboard is probably imaginary.
This eliminates sharp notes at the first three frets.

Ultimately, though, it's a game of "close enough for jazz" (or whatever). It is impossible to tune ANY guitar perfectly, because even temperament is a compromise... but that's another discussion for another day. 8)

Far as I know, for modern banjos, the necks are pretty much interchangeable, maybe with slight modifications. But I'm a guitar guy, & hope for a more hands-on opinion from someone.

Bantam Basses / Re: WAshburn XB122 bad preamp
« on: November 13, 2017, 01:04:34 AM »
Photos need to be placed at some online site, from which you can import htem with an [ img ] tagset.

Anyway, speaking as an actual guitar tech 8) the kid at the GC counter is NOT an authority.

If you get a "pop" then nothing, I'd suspect a break or short first, rather than the preamp. To me, sounds like a bad battery connection across the jack.

I have no idea what an XB-122 is.  ??? The 120 ended 2004. In any case, it's likely LONG gone & there's about zero chance of a factory replacement, seeing as the company has changed hands since. For me, there's little upside to reworking a $200 instrument except for he experience.

As the (happy) owner of an XB-400 & XB-500, a downside is that the mini-pots easily sieze up due to humidity. They need a shot of something like Caig DeoxIT to have a chance of working right.

Idol Series / Re: What did I get?!?
« on: November 11, 2017, 06:44:04 PM »
The WI-14 only had a hardtail bridge. It's possible someone routed it out for a trem, though I'd be surprised they'd do this with the cheapest Idol. BlueBook says the 14 was built 2004-2010, but there's some "slop factor" in the numbering system so 2003 would not be impossible. The 14 was available in Walnut finish -- you don't say what the color is.

Trussrod covers can be changed.

There's little demand for good Washburns, especially in the local market (as opposed to online). My D-46CESPK is near-mint, & I'd take $450, but I'd likely wait months before getting any interest, & even then probably go below $400.

All in all, asking price depends what's more important: maximizing price, or moving it along in the foreseeable future. It's a flashy axe, so you might just have to do some fishing: "$500 or best offer, cash only." There's no law that says you MUST take the best offer, particularly if it's so low you'd rather just donate the guitar to Goodwill. :( You can always ratchetthe price down if you get tired of waiting, or contact the high bidder(s) to negotiate.

Guitar Care, Repair, Modification & Lutherie / Re: Bridge Ground on WM100
« on: November 11, 2017, 06:29:22 PM »
Just looked it up: the WM-100 has a two-piece TOM-style bridge.

In any case, if the strings & the jack are connected, all is well.

Guitar Care, Repair, Modification & Lutherie / Re: Bridge Ground on WM100
« on: November 11, 2017, 06:25:08 PM »
Hmm. Well, first thought: there's a rather large different between "feedback" & "noise." The latter is usually used to describe mains hum (50 Hz or 60 Hz, depending on your region's electric service).

Sometimes feedback is caused by microphoning, one or more components witin the pickup vibrating too freely. However, this is NOT stopped by damping the strings; a microphoning pickup would squeal even with the strings removed.

Therefore, it's simple: you've got the amp set waaaay too loud for your circumstances. ::) Try stepping away from the speaker. Then, adjust your EQ to reduce the problematic tonal range. It's also possible that the room your in has a natural resonance at that tone, & I'm guessing you've got hard walls.

It's possible that you are getting mains hum, & the room resonates at about that frequency, AND so does the speaker cone & the guitar, & this "perfect wave" is your problem.

If you can't figure it out, spend $100 on a Behringer Shark, which can knock out up to eight feedback points.

As for the ground... wow, you ARE new to this stuff. :o Set your VOM to continuity (or, failing that, to a low-ohmage resistance test). Touch one lead to a string, the other to the mounting nut of the output jack. If the needle moves, they are connected.

I have no idea what your bridge/tailpiece config is. However, I've seen every imaginable way to wire a ground. A two-screw vibrato had the ground wire in the hole of one of the mounting studs, apparently reasoning that there wouldn't be enough height adjustments to break the wire. The ground bus wire may be soldered on, or wrapped around a screw, or simply set under metal hardware before it's bolted down.

General Discussion / Re: used Washburns on the market
« on: November 02, 2017, 01:14:33 AM »
Hah!! You all thought I was hallucinating when I asked about the Rover dulcimer!! :o Here's a rare RO-5, almost entirely a lawsuit-able ripoff of the McNally StrumStick (for instance, note the three inset strips of hard plastic to keep the strings from sawing into the peghead). Well, at $70, it's cheaper than a used McNally, & the available cases are better.

I don't have my notes handy, but this looks like a BT-10 or thereabouts, which I didn't know existed in the "BillyT" line before it was renamed "Maverick." In any case, $200 is not a bad price.

If you can afford $650, then find someone who loves you & make them hold your cash & credit cards before you check out this J-10. The headstock inlay alone is hypnotic.

Despite my advice, some people want to believe the "special edition" hype, so here's a $400 DM2000SCE with nice inlays & a case. Nice guitar, but hardly "collectible" much less "rare."

...but $300 can get you a D-25.

...while $250 buys an all-wood WD32.

Likely as overpriced ($600) as it is gaudy, this flag-bedecked Vee is perfect for anyone feeling insecure about their loyalty. Still, nicely made (of course), well-loved, & has a case.

As awkward-looking as ever, $150 for a PS-400 is not a terrible deal.

Tonight's "I reallyREALLY wish I could buy this" is a $300 R-60BCE thin-body electrified resonator. This just DEMANDS jangly fingerpick blues.

Vintage and Rare Washburns / Re: newbie help please!! d49cespk
« on: November 02, 2017, 12:35:33 AM »
  • you don't say what condition the guitar is in, whether it's been adjusted recently, whether it's even had initial setting-up, &c
  • if in great shape & needing no work AND with OHSC, it's a decent deal; for comparison, I bought my D46CESPK new for $420
  • with Washburn, 500 units IS NOT RARE; as crazed Washie collector Jim Smith said, many of the better models of Washburn guitar only had 200 units built
  • (though I haven't made a study of it, I've been seeing a majority of "limited" models with lower serial numbers, & a clear minority nearer the run size, which -- speaking as a former statistician -- indicates that such runs are often not completed &, if I were a collector, I'd want one of the LAST guitars... ;))
  • before anyone tells you otherwise: there is no "S" in the suffix, because it's an all-laminate guitar; it's actually "SP" for "spalt maple veneer"
  • my 46 is distinctly quieter than my (laminate) Alvarez; however, as it was intended to be a stage guitar (amplified), & has an excellent range of tone, this is a positive for me, though YMMV

Vintage and Rare Washburns / unusual Washburn models
« on: October 29, 2017, 11:17:57 AM »
There are, however, some Washies that just totally defy my attempts at research...  >:( I've heard that Washburn has put out guitars available in a particular region; e.g., the X-3 seems to have appeared only in Australia. I'll put in the current headscratchers, but anyone is welcome to add to the stack.

Here's a silkscreen block for a "Presidential Series" of guitars --

Though this looks like an XB-400 with gold hardware & Status pickups, it's listed as a KE-1250, & the headstock decal confirms it's a Kip Winger signature model.

And another, in Natural --

Both sellers in Japan, so I figure it's a regional release, & not mentioned in U.S. catalogues.

Out looking for more info on that one, I find reference to the PB-1250 Pat Badger signature bass. Again, only Japan sellers:

First try setting the pickups ~1/8" deeper. If that lightens the tone, you can still get plenty of play before you need to shop for parts.

I knew a guy many years ago who had his pickups almost level with the rings. It looked odd, but gave him the tone & response he wanted.

Vintage and Rare Washburns / the reality of "Limited" & "Special Edition"
« on: October 28, 2017, 12:51:32 PM »
I get the feeling that "there's a sucker born every minute" applies to MANY buyers when it comes to "valuable" Washburn models. It's not that the company (or its retailers) is trying to mislead, but they certainly take advantage of assumptions.

Typically, Washburn puts out some sort of "special edition" variant of a standard model, usually at the behest of a huge company like Guitar Center or Musician's Friend, though previously higher-end models for dealers like Funky Munky. Production runs of the latter might be forty or twenty or ten or five; for the former, "limited" could be 1,000, or even more.

For me, the problem with this is that (as Jim Smith has said), most Washburn models over the years have been ordered 200 at a time. If sales don't pan out, the model is simply never re-ordered. This is VERY common among higher-end guitars, particularly acoustic (where a 200 run might take two full years to sell out). Sometimes, because of a business change (i.e., someone in Marketing decided a certain design didn't have a real chance), a model or line is scrapped before it appears in a pricelist much less catalogue: the mass-market TB-100 isn't much easier to find than the deluxe TB-400.

In short, it's not difficult to spot a Washburn that is, by any measure, actually rarer than most "limited edition" guitars from ANY company.

That doesn't happen so often as might be assumed. Finding the ones that're actually uncommon requires a bit of research, & familiarity with Washburn's corporate quirks, though such background isn't difficult. However, it's easier for a seller to simply claim rarity, as if aware that most buyers are even more ignorant.

Washburn LIKES to do limited runs for sellers. That way, they're taking no chances... they probably get some (maybe all) of their cost paid up-front... there's no changes to the pricelist... no worries about whether anyone will want the guitars... no warehousing... no need for clearance. And because they can order more than 200 from the factory, Washburn stands to profit a little more per unit.

I've mentioned elsewhere how the D-100 is just a D-10 made for a major reseller. Some, though, believe the number gives relative value.

The major example of casual mistruth is the "LTD" series of acoustics. No entry in Washburn catalogues or pricelists, none in Blue Book. I've called them the "D-9xLTD" & found credible reference of them for 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, & 1998. Each year has been said to've been "limited" to the date-number (1,996 for 1996, called the D-96LTD) or 2,000 (as some labels state).

Okay, right there, ANYONE ought to wonder how "limited" they really are!! :o

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was the LTD that went out one year with soundhole labels printed with the name of the company that ordered the lot, & these were sometimes gifted to employees or shops (rather than put up for sale).

My guess thus far is the base model is a D-9, with upgrades. Some years, there is rather nice-sounding decoration, like someone claims the 1997 has abalone rosette & top binding... though the guy paid $250 new so I suspect he can't tell abalone from pearloid. Another paid "less than $500" for his '94 from a real-world store.

I have a few more details elsewhere:,26915.msg158911.html#msg158911

Lately, "Millennium" guitars have been popping up regularly. You can tell the clueless because they believe "Millennium" was a model; it was a SERIES, variants on a few models, listed together to cash in on Year 2K Mania. Their scarcity (let alone rarity) is questionable at best.

(Amusingly, the 12th-fret inlay actually says Millenium (single n), a misspelling I've seen repeated on the soundhole tag & a COA.)

Natural-finish Festival with butterfly bridge, sold for $400 --

A black Festival, can't get an opening $175 bid --

A dread, DM2000QCE in Amber, a 300 run, MIK, butterfly bridge, s/n indicates 1999 --
Only been up half a day, yet up to $130 on only four bids -- might top $250.

General Discussion / Re: used Washburns on the market
« on: October 28, 2017, 12:10:57 PM »
Not feeling the need to shop lately, but I do note a few interesting pieces on Generally, I don't direct people there because the bidders are a bit crazed & will often pay more than they could hope to get on resale, & sometimes more than an identical guitar is selling for used at GC or MGR. Then again, this is a marker for what I might stand to collect if I auction a similar item, therefore valuable intel. 8)

Many of the stores refuse to ship items. Of the majority that do, s/h charges can vary wildly.

This KC-40V is interesting for its finish (all-around, too) & for the case (maybe $70 new; a no-compartment "neck breaker," but solid enough, possibly near-new as the velvet hasn't been destroyed by the bridge yet). The edge chip knocks it below 80%, so <$200 on a pre-1992 $470 axe -- not "collectible" but really not terrible as a player. At $52 with three days to go.

Roughly contemporaneous, an MG-40 in red (perhaps metallic). It's SRP was $100 more than the KC-40, so worth $25-$50 more now, better condition but no case, so if you're already in the market, maybe $250 max. Two days to go, hasn't hit $40.

Vintage and Rare Washburns / Re: Help With Wiring a Falcon
« on: October 28, 2017, 10:19:48 AM »
If you are going to keep randomly soldering things together, you might be at this for a VERY long time. :o

Apologies if what follows seems harsh (rude, impolite, high-handed...) but I've been fixing guitars for the love of it since like 1974, & have regularly repaired the work of "modders." Pay attention & you too can eventually learn to do it well.

Do you have any experience in electronics, or at least basic electrical wiring? Can you read a circuit diagramme AND translate that into real-world wiring? If so, you have the ability to sit down & diagramme the PC, & thus not only answer your own questions but to put the results online & add to general knowledge. If not, there are plenty of online learning opportunities.

You keep using phrases like "to circuit board" & "going into the pot" & "soddered to pot" without telling us WHAT PART of the potentiometer. Like, you talking about the wiper, the element, the case?

For the moment, hoping for the first, we proceed, starting with some VERY basic things. In any case, CEASE RANDOM MUCKING-ABOUT... though you're hardly the first "modder" to employ this approach, based upon "even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn." :-[ For instance, if you DON'T want a coil-tap circuit, then hooking stuff up to a coil-tap switch is at best counterproductive.

First, always determine whether you even HAVE a signal path from the pickup -- if it's somehow got damaged (coil windings have been known to fail, as has the joint from the coil to the output lead) you could be "fixing" wires literally FOREVER without getting results. (I will not criticise your choice of hobby nor how you fritter away the precious time God has granted you, but perhaps that isn't how you intend.) This will require you to hook the pickup to some sort of amplifier, NOT merely a meter.

Nowadays, the ground wire is probably a "floater," there to reject mains noise, NOT provide an electrical path. Some pickups run a bus to the pickup frame. (If the ground is actually the pickup "negative," then QED the others are positives, one for each coil. I don't see these very often; it was sometimes used to make wiring "coil split" guitars faster.)

As for the Duncan, it's simple: look at the official SD wiring diagrams. 8) But, I'm already invested. Here is the most stunningly simple circuit, direct from the SD website, & it took a frustrating 43 seconds to find (I'm usually MUCH faster) --,2-pickups,neck-h,bridge-h,2-volume,2-tone,3-way-blade

From what you say, though, you're trying to turn a coil-split circuit into a non-split circuit, without a clear understanding of what the word "circuit" means.

In any case, you ought first find actual output, & save the fancy stuff for next steps.

Please remember HOW the two coils of a humbucker are wired -- if you don't know, then go learn before you ever do another "mod" on your own. (Hint: the two main leads from a humbucker have the same polarity.)

The SD runs four leads: two for each coil + a floating ground bus. I can't find the SD pinout for the pickup, but looking at the diagramme, it's using the black as the "main hot" & green as "ground feed," thus each one goes to a different coil. (If you ask, I can explain how this is used to do the "coil split" thing.)

Therefore, though I haven't yet had my morning coffee, I'm going to hazard a guess & tell you what'll work better than what you've done thus far:
  • disconnect the SD pickup entirely
  • separate its wires
  • pigtail the red & white
  • attach the green & ground to any handy ground point in the circuit (pot body, output jack)
  • connect the black to the output jack's "hot"
  • once you've determined this all actually works, THEN you can go back & put in the switch & pots & stuff: first, disconnect the black
  • if there's two Vol pots, connect the black to the available pot's terminal (wiper or ungrounded element); if there's one Vol, then connect the black to the TOGGLE switch

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