Washburn have built their entire reputation upon building first-class acoustic instruments. It's part of their heritage, and the company continues to craft fine guitars for a new generation of players.
Washburn have been implementing some serious developments into their acoustic instruments of late, marking a new commitment from the company to win players over from the traditional heavy-hitters, while announcing their place among the giants of Martin and Gibson.
Tonally, you're in for a dry and earthy tone that'll fit nicely into band mixes. With its smaller body size, it works exceptionally well for finger-style playing – offering rich harmonic content across the fretboard. The sound is focused and crisp, meaning intricate details of your playing won't become lost, as is the case with larger dreadnought-style models. While at first the tone of this guitar might seem a little flat, after a couple of hours of acclimatisation it begins to sing. The smaller body size also offers a level of natural compression too, which means you can play more dynamically at lower volumes as well as digging in harder for strumming. There's a great amount of projection here when needed, making this a fantastic all-rounder.
Many of the hallmarks of acoustic playing, such as open tunings and drop-D work exceptionally well – coming across resonant and lush. Far from the glossy, metallic sound of many contemporary acoustics, this makes a fine choice for anyone looking for the rounded and warm tones of yesteryear. String it up with some light-gauge nickel or silk and steel strings for extra authenticity and you've found a sonic portal into the golden age of folk and country.
Solid rosewood back and sides make for a tried and tested combination that rings true here, with a rosewood fretboard adding a mellow touch to the tone. Sunburst finishes can be divisive at the best of times on acoustic guitars, but in this instance it works exceptionally well, thanks in part to the understated aesthetics that adorn the rest of the guitar. It's a sharp look that'll have you standing out from the pack, complimented by the micro dots that mark the neck.
As for the neck, playability is key here. It feels more akin to something you'd find on an electric – marking a bold step in a modern direction for Washburn while still retaining the most well-loved elements of their heritage. You can even pull off string bends thanks to a low-set action, making this a relatively versatile model that'd work well for genres outside of what's traditionally expected from an acoustic.
While some may say the lack of a built-in pickup is frustrating, one can easily be added. Plus, an instrument this nice could theoretically spend most of its life behind a set of pencil microphones at a recording studio. The good thing is that the onus is on you to make that choice, rather than having any unnecessary modifications thrust on to you out of the box. Capping it off comes a vintage-inspired brown leather case, befitting of the guitar's quality. You could safely transport this through most situations without any problems whatsoever.
Washburn may not be the first name you think of when acoustic instruments come to mind, but they're well worth the time of day. They're currently churning out instruments that are just as good as guitars three times the cost and well worth exploring if you're in the market for an investment-quality guitar that won't break the bank.
Hits and Misses
Warm earthy tone
Modern and playable fretboard
Sunburst finish might not be for everyone