2/03/2017

2016 Washburn WSJ124K Slope Dreadnought Guitar





A customer dropped this off for consignment -- she'd purchased it for a friend last year but he was no longer using it, so... off it goes. Aside from a few small surface scratches and a tiny ding or two, it's essentially new. I must say, for a new Indonesian-made guitar that's all-ply, this thing sounds great. It wouldn't be my first choice to record instrumental bluegrass picking, but as a chord-thumper behind a singer it's perfect. The voice is warm, full, and -- in a way -- Gibson J-45-esque with its emphasis on strong fundamentals and chunk. It also has trim that, while a little "bling" to my taste, echoes older styles -- especially the multicolor backstrip and patterned purfling.

You can read all about the model at the company's website, but the important specs include a long 25 1/2" scale, standard 1 11/16" nut width, 15 3/4" lower bout, and big 5" depth to the sides. The company calls it a "jumbo" but it's shaped and sized more like a slope-shouldered dreadnought (J-45) or like a 14-fret neck put on a 12-fret Martin dreadnought. I think the reason that the build is so successful, though, is that it's very lightweight and reminds me of the thinner-ply Japanese guitars from the 70s that tend to sound quite good -- but with better bracing and better-quality workmanship.


I gave the guitar a quick setup and it plays buttery-fast.


There's one small ding on the headstock veneer below the high E tuner's shaft. The nut is bone.



The center of the rosette has abalone (I think). The outside ring and purfling are done in the vintage-looking rope/marquetry patterns found on 1920s and 1930s Chicago-made guitars.


The rosewood "butterfly" bridge has factory-cut string ramps (a good idea) and a fully-compensated saddle.





The tuners have an antiqued bronze look to them.


The back of the neck is a hard V-shape and is sized about the same heft as early-30s Gibson V-necks. That's to say -- it's not huge and it's not small, either. I find it as comfortable as other modern guitars I have around here.



The multicolored backstrip is pretty nice.




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