Museum: Other Acoustic Guitars

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1930 Washburn Style 5237

Serial number 858. The 000-sized 12-fret X-braced Washburn guitars built in the late 1920's and early 1930's are some of the most unknown and undervalued guitars on the vintage market today. Built by J.R. Stewart and then by Regal, the Tonk era Washburns are generally excellent sounding guitars with a lot of power, punchy midrange, meaty trebles, and strong fundamental. This guitar is all that, and then some - it's musky through the upper mids and fairly dark, with a tone that's colored but not overshadowed by overtones.

This example features elements of both Regal and Stewart manufacture. We suspect that it's an early Regal-built neck with on a body that was left-over from the short period when J.R. Stewart was building Washburns. The body is built with laminate Indian rosewood back and sides and a spruce top and is X-braced with light bracing. Slotted headstock, bound ebony fingerboard with 20 frets, and pearl diamond inlays. The neck is substantial in feel with a round carve and a nutwidth of 1-7/8". Scale length is a full 25.4".

The guitar is now in perfect playing order after a good stay in our repair shop. There were a number of older repairs that needed attention; a few top cracks repaired or re-repaired, a new bridge made and installed, fingerboard dressing and bar-fret reinstallation, new nut, and reinforcement of an old heel crack. There is some overspray on the body, and finish touchup on the neck. The instrument is set up with a fingerstyle action and plays cleanly and easily in all fretting positions. Despite the list of repairs, old and new, the guitar is in excellent structural order and in need of no further repair work. It's a vintage guitar that plays like a Collings.

With modern Martin Geib style deluxe hardshell case

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