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Old 02-25-2020, 12:37 AM
Horst Horst is offline
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Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I agree with everything that Osage wrote about old Washburns, and especially want to reiterate what he wrote about the tonal mediocrity of so many Brazilian rosewood guitars - not only from that era but right up to those still being built today. Thereís so much hype about Brazilian rosewood that many players donít actually judge those guitars with their ears, the way they would whenever any other tonewood gets used.

Based on the fairly large sample of pre-WWII Brazilian rosewood guitars Iíve had a chance to play, I would estimate that at least half of them lack the trademark glassy treble response and natural reverb that characterizes the best Brazilian.

Those are the old ones, the guitars that will cost more than your car. About half of them, at least, are nothing special from a tonal standpoint, and actually donít sound terribly different from Indian rosewood.

As for the modern Brazilian rosewood guitars Iíve encountered, maybe a quarter of them have that trademark Brazilian sparkle. Seriously. Even though many them are beautifully built custom guitars, again, most of them donít sound much different than Indian rosewood.

So honestly, having owned Brazilian rosewood guitars and mountain dulcimers myself, what I can tell you is that some of it is superb, most of it is pretty good, but some is downright mediocre.

I should mention that Hawaiian koa wood, my all-time favorite tonewood when you find a good set, has an even worse track record. There are lots and lots of mediocre- and downright bad-sounding koa guitars out there, especially those made in large factories.

But my main point here is that even back a hundred years ago not every Brazilian rosewood instrument sounded as good as the die-hard Brazilian rosewood fans would have you believe. Donít get me wrong - itís a great tonewood. But not every instrument made from it sounds great, and never has.

Hope that makes sense.

Wade Hampton Miller
Very awakening. I may have been falling for those mythical claims a bit. Half is a very real percentage I have to take account of. I don't think I would buy a modern one unless I knew it was good.

I wish I could travel the country and test them all to find that sweet one I am looking for, but unfortunately, they're all pretty spread out.

Regardless if it comes to me as everything I was dreaming, I'm going to go for it. From my experience most guitars in the same price range, new and old, don't have the highest of standards anyway. So spending what they're going for won't be a loss even if it's not that good. As long as it plays well and sound pretty good I'll be happy.

Also, for some reason I want to be able to say I've owned a Brazilian rosewood even if it's mostly hype. Just the fact it's hard to get draws me in lol
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:40 AM
Horst Horst is offline
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Originally Posted by J Patrick View Post
....I will add to this conversation with a string recommendation....the John Pearse Folk strings that are manufactured for them by Thomastik Infeld are the bees knees...designed for guitars that would have been strung with gut strings they are like no others...spendy but very long lasting...
The recommendation is much appreciated. I'm trusting you on this and Just ordered some haha
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:46 AM
Horst Horst is offline
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Thank you all so much for the advice!

With everything I learned I decided to add one to my collection. I am very excited and nervous at the same time. I think it will be a good experience either way.

I went with an earlier one, 1894-1896 based off the History of Washburn guitar Pre-War instruments Styles, Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos, Ukuleles, 1883-1940. I'm more drawn to the nylon/gut ones for this guitar. I have plenty of steel and want to experiment a bit with nylon.

I now will go in with more realistic expectations and I thank you all for that.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:14 AM
Bushbaby Bushbaby is offline
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Default Old Washburn

Hi Horst,
I too am new to posting on this forum, though I am so grateful for the knowledge
that all the experienced Guitar Folk are kind enough to share with Noobs like
I own an all mahogany (quite rare I believe) Washburn Parlour. Steel strung/ ladder braced. With the help of Hubert Pleijsierís excellent book approximate
date 1917/18.
I love it, and will never part with it!
It has been very sympathetically restored by a luthier here in the Uk, and the
playability/tone of this ďdear old girlĒ is now a delight.
Best wishes in your quest for an old Washburn guitar.
Originally Posted by N+1 View Post
Let me rephrase my statement then, like this: the conflict between my liking for the sound of a zero fret, and my dislike of the sound of a nut, is pretty much resolved by the use of a capo.

I may have identified the problem incorrectly, for there are several aspects to it:
1. I don't much like the sound of a string terminated at one end by a nut.
2. I do like the sound of a zero fret much better.
3. I also like the sound of a fretted string, with a finger behind the fret, which is mimicked well enough (for me) by a capo behind the fret.

My point is that using the capo seems to solve my problems, whatever mix of reasons one might put together. That's all I'm really concerned about.

The scale length issue was touched upon above, and I need no persuading that you're right about all you say. All I claim is that my vote goes to the string that is terminated by either a zero fret, a fingered fret, or a capoed fret, and NOT to the nut-terminated string.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:22 AM
PatrickMadsen PatrickMadsen is offline
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Location: Blaine, Washington
Posts: 91

I owned an 1895 Bay State Model 9 parlor and recently picked up a wonderful 1895-1902 00 C. Bruno made by either Oscar Schmidt or J.C. Haynes (Bay State) Both had extra light John Pearse steel strings on with no problems.

Haynes, Bay State, Washburn, Martin and others were often sub contracted to make instruments of all kinds for distributors. There were instances where they would collaborate on an order. My Bruno has appointments where it's difficult to pin down if it's a Bay State or Oscar Schmidt. With the shallower v joint for the neck, it could even be a Martin design.

There is nothing like the sound of a 120 year old guitar. Playing mine, I can sometimes feel the ghosts of players past come out and play.

Considering a vintage may cost 8 or 900, even with a three or four hundred dollar neck reset and fret job, it comes to 1300 or so at the most. Having a good luthier experienced in restoring vintage guitars helps a lot.

It may be like vintage cars; they are great to own but if you don't know what to look for, it's a toss of the dice how much you'll need to sink in to it.

Charles Robinson has an interesting site on old guitars:

Last edited by PatrickMadsen; 02-25-2020 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:17 AM
EllenGtrGrl EllenGtrGrl is offline
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Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi, as Wade has said, small flat tops are almost all about Martins. The Washburns, and the Weymanns and such are unknown to many. If you look at the majority of posts on this forum they are about 14 fret Martin dreads and OMs with the occasional reference to 00 or 000 and of course taylors and Gibsons.

Old baby boomers like me started listening to scratchy old records of the old ragtime and bluesmen many of whom recorded before there were such things as OMs (1929-1933) and 14 fret dreads - 1934 on).

Martin has now, I believe discontinued their finest designs - 0,00, and 000, although thankfully Eastman are making perfectly good versions and Collings still make all incarnations of the old Martin catalogue.

A new generation is replacing us whose heroes don't go back much further than the '60s.

I remember Stefan Grossman telling me that in his teens and twenties you could pick up 0,00 and 000 45 level Martins for pennies as no-one wanted them.
VERY true! I've been playing for 41 years, and it seems that until at least the mid 90s, it was "all 'dread all the time," except for cheap laminated smaller bodied guitars, that usually sounded like a cardboard box with rubber bands on it, that you typically avoided like the plague. I don't remember see much in the way of decent acoustics that weren't dreadnoughts, until at least the mid 90s, and even then, they were typically Martins. The typical mindset (and I stand guilty of also having it) back in the day, was "why would you want a 'smaller sounding' guitar?" Hence the reason why most manufacturers didn't offer 000s, 00s, 0s/Parlor, and in many cases, not even OMs, except for aforementioned cheap laminated ones. Only Martin seemed to offer anything above and beyond dreadnoughts, that sounded or looked decent, but you only saw them in photos - you didn't see them for sale in most locales.
Play Whatever Brings a Smile To Your Face

My Smile Makers:

Taylor 150e 12-string
Eastman E8OM
Fender Britt Daniel Tele Thinline
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:25 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Location: Chugiak, Alaska
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I received my custom 000-42, built for me by Scott Baxendale, in 1989, and shortly after getting it it became my main stage guitar. It got sneered at by a lot of other players, especially the hardcore bluegrass guys. I remember playing a rousing set and getting a great audience response at a festival. Then, as I walked offstage, one of those guys said:

ďWhen are you going to get a REAL guitar?!?Ē

I said: ďThis one seems to work pretty well...Ē

Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:04 AM
ship of fools ship of fools is offline
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Default Horst

Like any old guitar from that era you are going to find lemons on which ever side of the fence one is one. I have had some Washburns well lets say they didn't move me as much as I had hoped and others that just blew me away.
And we have to remember that while Martin built some great guitars in that time period Washburn ( Lyon and Healy ) were marketing wizards and more then likely outsold them and came up with some creative innovations for the guitars and they borrowed stole and cheated from each other.
Sometimes you just have to go out and try the guitars and see what it is that you are really looking for in these old beauties no matter which brand you pick go out and play as many as you can find and enjoy.
And Wade love that last post of yours ain't it the truth of it all, its not the guitar but the player that makes the music and interprets the sound.
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brazillian rosewood, dream guitars, parlor, spruce, vintage

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