The Washburn Guitars Forum

Washburn Acoustic Guitars Forums => Travel Series including The Rover => Topic started by: cspan on November 17, 2014, 08:23:57 PM

Title: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: cspan on November 17, 2014, 08:23:57 PM
OK, I'll start.

I own both the nylon-string RO20 and steel-string RO10 Rovers. I play primarily classical guitar, but on occasion have played some folk. I not only like the Rovers for their portability and great case (which has done fantastic in airplane travel), but I have relatively inflexible hands so their scale makes reaches much easier. That said, I still use a full-scale CG for lessons. But sometimes for early music and/or difficult stretches, I'll take out the Rover RO20.

Over the last year, I have tried a couple shorter-scale CGs ... the Cordoba Dolce (7/8 scale, which to them is 630mm) and the Jasmine JC-23 (594mm). The Dolce was lovely, but despite being a solid-top, it sounded no better than my Yamaha laminate. Worse yet, it had sharp frets out of the box. The cheap Jasmine was, amazingly, much better in the fretwork department. Great neck, nicely finished, cute parlor-size body. But, it sounded plastic. I've had a Jasmine steel-string acoustic in a laminate that sounded perfectly fine. This one did not, and it was mainly in the B and G strings. [BTW, I did check - it was wood inside! Smelled nice too ... just sounded terrible on those strings. And yes, I tried new strings].

The smaller scale was not intended to be a travel guitar ... if I liked either, they may have supplanted my Yamaha as my main guitar. But as it is, if I run into trouble with the Yamaha on a difficult stretch, I'll use a capo and tune accordingly.

Having said all that, the Rover RO20 really has a lovely sound all its own. I don't know if it's the shape or the solid wood, or both. I do make a point of keeping it humidified (which I hate doing ... I prefer to leave guitars out, which is why I favor laminates), but since there's really nothing like the RO20, AND it's out of production, I baby it. I nearly bought a backup one but it was a bit too far away, and could not get down to the seller. I do keep an eye out though.

When I was between CG instructors, I played with a local Folk School and enjoyed learning a few tunes there. I had to buy a dreadnought for projection (our "class recital" was at a bluegrass festival), but about a year later I sold that otherwise-lovely solid-top Yamaha dreadnought and kept my Rover RO10. Folk music sounds great on the little steel string Rover ... esp. if you're just at home and don't have to project far. Sadly that one is in its case for the winter too. The styrofoam cases are pretty good about keeping dry air out, so I only have to check the sponges about once a week.

My house has natural gas heat, and gets pretty dry in winter. I'm in SE Tennessee, yet here in mid-November the humidity has already dropped to about 35% in the house last week, and later in the winter, it can get below 20% on the coldest nights. So we really have to watch it for a few months per year.

I love that Washburn still makes the steel-string Rover, though mine is not likely to wear out. I remember when they used to offer some offbeat colors/designs, like the cowboy/western themed one - and lately I think I saw a camo one. If I saw one cheap, I could see picking up a backup or one I wouldn't mind neglecting a bit. Kind of like a sacrificial guitar - keep the other pristine (yet I bet decades from now the rarer weird ones will be more valuable). But I wish they still made the RO20 because IMO there's no good substitute for it. The Martin Backpacker strikes me as inferior in so many ways (except name recognition). I've tried it, and felt it wasn't finished as well, not to mention the lack of truss rod, less-protective gig bag, and awkward shape. Just read recent reviews and you'll be glad you have the Rover.

Sometimes I get tempted by the Traveler Ultra Light Nylon or the Yamaha SLG130NW for silent hotel room practice. But they're so much more costly, and the Rover is so much easier to bring along (esp. in terms of protection). One can just use a string mute on the Rover if silent practice is desired.

That's it from here. You can have my Rovers when you pry them from ...
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: Sextant1951 on November 18, 2014, 08:27:19 AM
I have a Red RO10 Rover, which I call Little Red Rooster, named after the blues song written by the late, great, Willie Dixon. (yeah, I know the original title was The Red Rooster) I play this guitar every day for at least an hour to practice fret board exercises, to learn new chords, technique, etc. Then I go on to larger guitars during the day. It's a great guitar to grab and get it done, no fuss no muss. I purchased this guitar back in early 2009, and instantly took it in for a pro-setup, have had no intonation problems since it's been set tunes up very well. I got a strap pin put in at the heel when it was being set up, cuts out all the problems dealing in the holding of this fact I can adjust the strap for perfect balance, (for me) whether standing or sitting. In doing this, when switching to an electric guitar I'm not that far off with my left hand having to adjust to a different neck position. I've used SIT extra light 10s (P1048 - Phosphor Bronze) strings on this guitar since day one of it's set-up...these strings work well on this lease for my purposes (and their not that expensive). Some info for those of us who belong to the Rover brigade who may not know, but was curious - per Washburn CS: "The Rover bridge pins are a unique part exclusive to the Rover and the Rover has 16:1 gear ratio tuners." (answers to some questions I asked them some months ago). Thanks for starting an appreciation thread for this little guitar...long over due in my opinion.  ;)
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: cspan on November 18, 2014, 06:25:52 PM
"The Rover bridge pins are a unique part exclusive to the Rover and the Rover has 16:1 gear ratio tuners." (answers to some questions I asked them some months ago). Thanks for starting an appreciation thread for this little guitar...long over due in my opinion.  ;)

My RO10 is red too! Great minds ....

So, what do you think the bridge pins being unique/exclusive means? Do you think other pins won't fit or hold?

Luckily I've never had difficulty with the tuners.

That's neat what you said about adding a strap button at the heel. I saw the same done here:

see at 1:00 and following

but I've not done it myself. You say the balance is good? For me, for classical position, I like the headstock near shoulder level, so the strap button there may not help me on the RO20. What do you think? For the RO10 it may be perfect though. I believe it is said of the Martin Backpacker that the headstock still dives to the floor even with the strap button at the heel of the neck. I wonder if the Rover balance is similar. Would not surprise me if it's better.

Anyway I love the Rovers.
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: Sextant1951 on November 19, 2014, 11:46:52 AM
I'm thinking that the bridge pins that come with the Rover are made exclusively to fit the Rover. Don't think that any other random pins would fit. As I write this I'm looking at some bridge pins used for the RO10 (Washburn CS sent me a free spare set as a courtesy after I asked them my question about the bridge pins, so nice for them to do so.) next to the original bridge pins that came with my R320SWRK..... they ARE a more wider, thicker, slightly more squared pin. I know, just by looking, doesn't tell you jack most of the time, but I can see that there is quite a difference. If you look at the chart showing the differences between pin sizes, per guitar models, per guitar makers that Bob Colosi has on his site, this does not seem to be out of the ordinary. It might be a good idea to get a couple of spare sets just in case you need them in the future. I neglected to state in my original reply although I'm able to achieve perfect balance (for my needs), the neck is still somewhat "neck heavy". I've noticed that I can achieve this balance by "lightly" pressing my right forearm (that comes over the top lower bout while playing) against that part of the body, and this creates an anchoring point (so to speak) that stops the Rover from moving around, thus giving me a perfect balance...again, for my needs. It's not awkward, and I do it without thinking about it... I guess I've done it so many times, I don't even notice it now. I also use a strap that I've kind of set up to use only with the Rover, the buckle that adjusts the strap is set in a sweet spot (marked that buckle spot off with a red sharpie, so I can get back to it if it ever moves) I've found that works well for this "balancing act", sets the neck at around 10 o'clock, which works well for me. I did not trust "my skills" in putting a strap pin at the heel (thought that I might screw into the truss rod if I did ) so the guitar/tech did it when he set the guitar up, although on the heel, he put it closer to the neck, than the guy does in your link. I'm guessing you use the string or leather strip attached to the strap then to the headstock, and you're having no problem adjusting the strap to put your neck/headstock at near shoulder level, if that's working for you then stick with it, don't change if it's working for you. I do think you could achieve the same effect even if you straped up using a strap pin on the heel, (either on the RO20 or the RO10)  by adjusting the strap accordingly. I play more electric guitar than acoustic so having the strap attached to the headstock feels very uncomfortable to me. I seem to carry more tension in the left shoulder area, when I have the strap like that. I like to have the area above and below the fretboard "open" where I feel I can ascend or descend the fretboard more freely.

I've added a link to Bob Colosi's site...scroll down and you'll run into the chart that I was speaking of.
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: cspan on December 06, 2014, 07:38:34 PM

Brought my RO20 on a road trip recently. When going to pack it, one of the zipper pulls came off the case. The pull and the semi-oval ring holding it to the zipper body. So I switched cases to the one for my RO10. Upon arrival at my destination, the same thing happened on the other case! I wonder how hard it is to get zippers replaced. I only travel with these things a few times a year tops so I hoped the cases would last a bit longer. Cheap hardware or something. I'm not sure I can find the ring from the first one, but maybe some JB Weld will do the trick on the second one, as I have both broken-off pieces.

Still a better guitar than the backpacker by a lot, but IMO not by as wide a margin as a week ago. 
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: Sextant1951 on December 07, 2014, 02:59:30 AM
I have noticed that sometimes a spacing problem occurs when closing the case of the Rover...gaps so to speak, when closing the case. In the winter time I try to make sure the zipper closes the case completely... the air inside the house is very dry. Have not had any problem with zipper pulls breaking or falling off over the years...but; I'm very careful in opening and closing the case, I always do it very slowly. In the past I've had certain problems with old guitar cases, handles coming loose or off, and was always able to have it fixed by a shoe repair shop...they do a very good job fixing these problems. You might want to see if a shoe repair shop might be able to fix your zippers or even put on stronger ones. If trying to have it fixed fails, you can always buy a new case, (if you think it's worth plunking down the money) I think Music123 has them for about 35.00.
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: cmac84 on December 08, 2014, 12:01:13 PM
I love old Rovers..

( ;)
Title: Re: Rover Appreciation Thread
Post by: SonyaVB on June 30, 2019, 06:51:52 PM
Guys, thanks for the discussion and recommendations here. I travel a lot, next week I'm heading to Fort Worth (, for instance. So, I'm leaning towards buying RO10. Hopefully, I'll be able to find it somewhere to try and buy.