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Messages - Tony Raven

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Heya, WeCo -- please ignore the troll. ::)

My experience has been somewhat like Cornish Boy said. My "best" guitars get little use, while my workhorses were bought used for ~$250. A new nut, a trussrod tweak for the strings I prefer, and I'm ready to play; a few dings here and there means I'm more concerned with sound and playability than "preserving value" or any of that.

Idol Series / Re: WI-40NM
« on: June 16, 2019, 01:50:30 PM »
A decent-enough guitar, but it was Washburn's "too little, too late" half-hearted attempt to reboot the Idol line and unique body shape.

The "watershed moment" for the company came in 2010 when JAM Industries completed purchase. They really didn't know what they were doing, and scrapped a couple dozen good-selling models that'd been created under Rudy Schlacher's ownership. The Idol Series became just another LP clone.

Someone clearly realized their error, and the 2014 WI40 was an attempt to renew interest in the Idols, which had become a standard in some metal crowds. But, the world had moved along in the meantime.

The 40 was a decent-enough guitar. I can't find a spec sheet, but the ebony fretboard was a big positive, and I think it was one of the last Washies to have Grover tuners. As for manufacture, most by 2014 were Red China. An old Sweetwater listing says they sold the WI40 for $433 -- however, unlike most better pre-2010 guitars, that didn't include case or even gigbag. Another dealer says MSRP was $1069, common street price $599.

bumping this because I brought up the LTDs elsewhere

Vintage and Rare Washburns / Re: Which D30-SN-M Do I have?
« on: June 16, 2019, 12:48:14 PM »
If I were to guess, I'm seeing "solid-top, natural-finish mahogany" in those letters.

Really loving the back/sides figuring; anyone know what the wood is?

In a word? "No." Or, at least, "probably not."

If you're planning to spend cash merely to spend cash, then you are what carnies have long called a mark, and every retailer in the world would like to be your friend. 8) If you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, your focus might be more on bragging rights than quality.

I almost bought a used $3,100 luthier-built guitar that both felt and sounded incredible. But my $250 Aria holds its own in real-world play against guitars that cost ten times as much, and as I am neither an artiste or doing studio work, it suits my actual needs just fine.

IMO, if you've got a bit of $$$ and want quality, you ought to begin by finding a skilled luthier -- an actual experienced guitar-making artisan -- in your area.

No, I'm not saying to have a guitar made. However, what you SHOULD do is find a decent-enough guitar, something that sounds okay but feels really nice to your fretting hand, then take it to the luthier for a proper upgrade. Like, reset the neck, reset the bridge plate, put in bone nut and saddle, plane the braces, level and dress the frets. That stuff will cost a few hundred dollars, and it will almost always turn a mediocre (but well-constructed) acoustic into a tone monster that'll make you weep with joy, and I'm really not exaggerating. :o

Often, the various numbers written inside a guitar meant something ONLY to a factory trying to keep itself organized and efficient. In general, THERE ARE NO SECRET CODES.

For that era, it's possible that NEITHER number is the serial number of the finished guitar. If you've got Gary over making necks, he doesn't simply make a finished neck every time someone's got a body almost completed -- Gary cranks out one rough-shaped neck after another and stacks them on a cart. When full enough, this cart is dragged over to Phil, who does fine shaping, then over to Ed for inlays and frets and binding, and back to Alice for lacquer.

Gary (or the station before Gary) probably makes a little notation on each neck, so that it can be tracked for quality-control purposes. As material is removed, flaws might appear, and the neck ends up either in Rework or scrapped. If there's poor glue lay-up on the fretboard, the foreman needs to know IMMEDIATELY that necks from the same glue task need to be more closely inspected.

They don't have time to be dealing with some sort of "mysterious code" numbers -- they number them in mere sequence then check a clipboard or spreadsheet page to see what route it took.

The body follows a similar trail. Only when the whole thing is finishedand ready for sale does it receive a serial number.

Some of the Japan Washburns did not have a serial number that indicated year. I've seen photos of two where the obvious s/n, if "decoded" by any known method, would indicate the guitar was built decades before or after the actual production years. ???

Given the year, I'd guess one of their Korea vendors.

My observation has been that very few of the "LTD" acoustics from the 1990s actually sold at retail, but were commonly given out as gifts, sales incentives, and promotionals; one year had the store's name printed on the soundhole label. As fewer than 2,000 were produced, the model never appeared in Washburn catalogues or pricelists (though I suppose there might have been a flyer for the authorized sellers).

If anyone's got a credible review of one or more model years, and/or a spec sheet, I'd enjoy learning more.

...this is now the SEVENTH attempt to post this message...

Yah, you're likely correct about the date. I'd say it's the 3,454th Washburn instrument completed at that factory in the month of August 2004.

Few of us can do more than make an educated guess about the factory. I have a list I asssembled from various brands but it's misplaced; here's an Epiphone list:

I = Saein
U = Unsung
S = Samick
P or R = Peerless

DW = DeaWon
EA = Gibson/QingDao
EE = Gibson/QingDao
MC = Muse
SJ = SaeJung
Z = Zaozhuang Saehan
BW = China

I'm certain that leaves off at least three more Red China factory complexes.

Show Us Your Washburn / Re: My BT-2
« on: June 16, 2019, 11:12:38 AM »
The BT-2 is (IMO) the most underappreciated model in a very unappreciated line. I've called the BT-2 "the poor man's SG... and with better balance." But even that (or "great beginner axe") gives the impression it's just a "good enough for now" guitar -- fact is, I recommend most any BT as a serious gigging guitar.

Nice color, BTW. :) Is that an early one (maybe "BillyT"), or does it have Grover tuners?

As for a replacement... hmm. Keeping the scale length is the problem, as everyone and his dog has for too many years been cloning Strats and superstrats, but there are few decent Gibson-esque copies. Really, your best option is probably to haunt every Guitar Center and pawn shop in your region, because manufacturers (especially of affordable guitars) have been known to change spec whenever they choose -- this seems most common when shifting production to another factory.

Over the years, Fender has produced a few guitars with shorter scale, and (back in the early '60s, I think) even Strats were turned out. It's possible there's been one Squier or another that would suit your needs, but these sometimes last only a month or two so can be tough to find.

I had an older Austin SG (AU766 "Thunder Rock") that might suit, but they're hardly common. You might like their current "AS" series, which includes double-cuts and one with P90s, for $250 or less -- home site: They're carried by Adorama Camera among others:

And of course there's Washburn's cousin, Oscar Schmidt, who make the well-reviewed OE20 (LP) and OS50 (SG). These are findable, NEW, for under $300 (try or Amazon, and of course Guitar Center and Music-Go-Round for used).

Piezo pickups weren't meant to last forever, maybe less than a decade. What you describe sounds to me like simple breakdown of the insulation at bend points, though it could as easily be vibration wear of conductor and/or shielding, any of which the nimrods "fixing" your guitar ought to have been able to guess. You might be able to find a new piezo strip, but finding an EA20 in better condition might be both easier and cheaper.

Being near the bottom of the line, the nut is probably plastic, whatever, they call it.

If you're looking for improvement, a proper LUTHIER setup will cost $50-$100. A hand-shaped bone nut ()suited to your playing style) will cost you at least $50 -- welcome to "inexpensive" beginner guitars. ???

Cedar top sounds sweeter with fingerstyle, but you'd need to use lighter strings than with spruce.

Oh, wow, sorry but it sux. :(

If the break resembles at all a straight line, you can have a small chance of grinding the surfaces of the break down to the point that you might make a parallel join -- remember, though, it's got to be parallel in TWO dimensions.

Else, you'd have to engage a lutheir, who'd likely charge $500-$1,500 just to make the mechanical join, and more if you want to make it hidden (if even possible).

General Discussion / Re: serial numbers washburn n2??
« on: June 15, 2019, 11:56:16 PM »
Are you certain of that s/n? If "common wisdom" holds, it will be built December 2020. :o

General Discussion / Re: Factory Tour
« on: June 15, 2019, 11:53:30 PM »
In my herd, I own a Randall 50-watt tube head. Frighteningly clean (needs an OD pedal!!)  but all-around versatile, especially with humbuckers.

I would never buy an amp based upon name alone. Much depend on your playing style and primary genre.

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