NGD! Washburn something. Stage series. Mystery. Could be a '79 serial number? odd details. Project.

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by GreenMagicMan, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    I just scored a Washburn off craigslist :)
    Pretty poorly put together ad, little details, lousy pics. No serial number pictured.
    I just got my hands on it and back home.

    I think it's an A20V.
    The headstock reads: "791233" only. Front of headstock says "Washburn".
    It is definitely a neck through. I also believe it to be a 5 piece construction neck and all the literature I can find says they are 3 piece necks.
    It's all black with black binding on the top of the guitar, the back is not bound.
    It has original looking "George Washburn" labeled matching silver tuners.
    Unusual (to me) fretboard. I guess it's ebony?
    The wooden truss rod cover appears to not be original. It looks to have a bone nut with some oddball maybe homemade shim behind it?? (Were stock ones all brass?)
    It has a tremolo (of the type I've seen on my other likely Matsumoku vintage guitars) that I believe to be stock.

    The seller covered the missing control area with a long tele style cover but said that it was not originally like that - it was not originally a tele shaped control cover.
    No strings on the guitar, no pickups, and no pots / controls / wiring. So I'll have to sort that all out.
    It's much heavier in hand than I thought it would be, not in a bad way, in a solid unified way.

    I got it and a Fender gig case for a song. I could not play it of course since it was not strung.
    I will be posting pics next in a little gallery here!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  2. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Any help with figuring out just what I have and what I've gotten myself into would be greatly appreciated :)

    I know they made re-issues of this series in the 90s but I don't think they ever made them again with neck throughs.
    Also, one other thing: there is no 'belly cut' on the back of the guitar like I think most or all of them had?? This little guy is quite confusing.
    The seller said he had the bridge pickup area routed out and the originally this guitar had a single center mounted pickup.
    He said the neck pickup insert area was also not original - only the center pickup space was.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  3. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    disregard, you just posted pictures as I was making a comment.
     
  4. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    I had to look at this guitar under a very bright light.
    The neck which I thought was not bound is bound - it's black on black and hard to see.
    The body had black binding with I believe now it may be brass in it as well.
    The fret markers are those open brass circles I believe.
     
  5. Mbechmann

    Mbechmann Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

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    Just send you a reply. Very very very cool guitar you have there. I like it a LOT.

    "You have something of a gem there. It is indeed from 1979. Its made by Yamaki. However there are some issues with it. Its not all original.

    The pickups should be 3 screw system, so they are not original. You can see it on the middle humbucker cavity. One side is routed out bigger than the other. The missing paint in the neck cavity shows that at least that one has been re-routed out. I think the middle one is the only original pickup for this one. I think it originally was a single pickup in the middle position - where a push/pull knob would make it split coils.

    The electronics - with the Tele style knobs - are as you said, also not original. However, It is cool that its only 2 knobs that its prepared for. Its a bit of a shame that it has been routed away, because thats not something they did often back than. It fits with the 1 pickup originally.

    The trem also looks like it has been changed.

    All in all, I think what you have is a super rare A-20V. In fact, I only know of 1 thats earlier than this one - and thats from 1978. But thats not all. In fact, yours is the second earliest Washburn Stage series that we know - in total.

    All of this ofcause means that I think you have one of the coolest instruments I have seen a while. I like a LOT. Very very very cool guitar."
     
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  6. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Thank you!!
    This is really wonderful news to read this morning with coffee!
    I was very intrigued and confused about this guitar and it's features. It was very puzzling but made me extremely curious. When I got home hours later after buying it I finally saw the serial number. After reading a post you made a couple years ago about another serial number... I didn't want to stop for a dinner break and I kept searching online for any more light to shed on this.
    I had about 5 or 10 minutes tops to inspect the guitar with the buyer at a convenience store parking lot near a highway. I was running late, and we had to meet on his way out to work.
    I just dropped it on one knee in the parking lot and thought" "Feels nice. I'll take it!"
    It's pretty exciting to have just accidentally stumbled on to this particular guitar.

    I also was wondering about the trem... I will try to post a better picture. But 90% of the cavity looks original and matches the look and texture of the center pickup cavity - same black treatment material etc... But a small portion of the tremolo cavity on the neck side looks like it's been shaved back every so slightly, to bare wood.
    There is also wood sawdust in thost two pockets - clearly looking like it was blown in there when the bridge cavity was routed out.
    I'll also pull off the tele cover today and have a look what's behind there as well.

    Short term goal is to just get it strung: I read from Washburn they were all strung with light gauge strings from D'Addario. I would love to see what the action is like on this and how it sounds unplugged.
     
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  7. Mbechmann

    Mbechmann Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

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    I love stories like this. Finding it by accident makes the history a LOT better as well :).

    Couple of follow up questions :). The jack. Can you take a picture of that. Does that look like it has been added later? The reason I ask, is that some of these had top mounted jack on the early ones.

    I have been talking to friend of mine about it. You know what we would both do? We would fill up the bridge and neck pickup cavity, and drop in an original humbucker in the middle. Make it as original as possible :).
     
  8. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    i don't think its a A20 stage.
    because it had 2 hum. 'normal' strat bridge
    2 vol 2 tone.
    these guitars were also build with 3 single coils, and i think someone took a router at your on.

    that said, i thing these are the most beautiful explorer types, and i miss mine
     
  9. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Ah! Yes, I was wondering about this. When speaking to the buyer, I told him that since it had been routed that maybe I should plug it back with matching wood... He said he knows nothing about wood work and carpentry at all. But I do. I told him I know nothing about guitar playing at all!
    I'm still learning - I only re-started my dream of playing a year ago.
    I have a lot of very high quality Ash wood from a hardwood floor install I did at a family home a couple years ago.
    I was wondering about cutting out perfect pieces of ash and gluing them back in there and sanding it down to perfect fit. But maybe this is a different wood in there?
    I will take a picture of the jack and investigate it.

    And I found this guitar by accident. Ok, so I have been hardcore trolling Craigslist for over a year - searching, questing for guitars of good quality and good price. I not only search my area but extend it to Florida and sometimes California, both places I work at from time to time.
    The real reason I found this, is because since I was a kid, all I ever wanted was an 'Explorer' shaped guitar.
    The guitars on the right I found searching Florida craigslist, and it was this gorgeous matching pair - another mystery I will have to post up here as well with a couple funny stories too.

    About 10 days ago I did my usual: type "Explorer" into the musical instruments section and his A20V popped up. Seller's ad title simply said:

    "Vintage Washburn Explorer Style Electric Project Guitar".
    And the ad only said this:
    "Neck-through body construction. Likely Japanese built. Solid beater for the right person to finish up."

    Horrible pics, I had no idea what it was. But if it was true it was a through neck that made it interesting based on looking up facts on these old Washburns. I also knew it could be mistaken, and a re-issue etc... It looked bad in the photos, but worlds better in person!

    Here's my guitar history below:
    As I mentioned, all I ever wanted was an Explorer shaped guitar.
    As a little kid, I tried to make an explorer out of particle board (also known as 'fallaparticle board' haha). It never went anywhere.
    I finally bought THE WORST guitar in the world around 7th grade (age 13 or so) for $50. I think it was a "Global" label strat type bad copy. Horrible horrible. Constantly breaking strings. Awful tone. Strings killed my finger. Action / neck killed my wrists. The white pickguard was warped and lifting. Anyway, I tried really hard back then and I just could not play that p.o.s. So I thought: "This is guitar. And I guess I can't ever play one."
    Decades later, and eyeing acoustics and picking one up every now and then I Finally re-committed to try again, and got some encouragement from other beginners too.
    Now it's my new hobby.
     
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  10. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    hopdybob, Thanks for you comments.
    Like you, I was completely confused about seeing the dark photo with 3 pickup holes... none of them made any sense. But I am wondering if maybe this one simply had the center Humbucker pickup only somehow. Perhaps some early oddball one off? That's probably too much to hope for in a way, but maybe the routed out bridge position one was simply enlarged and deepened to fit a more modern pickup??
    I could try to re-ask the seller more questions about the pickup puzzle perhaps.
     
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  11. Mbechmann

    Mbechmann Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

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    I do understand why you would think so, but the 3 single coiled version (A10 and A15) have a couple of major differencies. First, the A20 has rounded brass ring dots and it has binding on the necks. Also the ones you are talking about is from late 79-84. This one is early 79. Thats a big difference because we have seen some really weird instruments from those. To be honest, from everything we know about Yamaki these would be what you today call prototypes. They didnt build prototypes like we do today. But they did build something experimental and see if that sold. If it did, they would run with that. Thats why I am sure this is an A20 but its a complete custom A20
     
  12. Mbechmann

    Mbechmann Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

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    I dont think you are asking too much that this is an early oddball. I think thats exactly what you have.

    As for filling up the holes. I would completely fill them up with a block. Not just a piece/top. And I would fill the neck and bridge pickup cavities. I think the reason why they moved the jack because the top mounted jacks had a reputation of cracking. I think this might have been the case here. And thats the reason why they moved it. So when filling the pickup cavities I would also fill up the Tele cavity, but I would keep the side mounted jack. Thats the only thing I would change from the original design.

    And yes, it does mean it would have to be repainted - but only the top. Leave the rest in original colors.
     
  13. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    to give some idea off produced models
     
  14. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    i have the love for the A20 as many know it, and i am not so in the history off how the company produced.
    But this is what comes to mind when i read A20 ;-)[​IMG]
    i hope the TS will give his some TLC, its worth it
     
  15. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Wow, that's a nice looking guitar! Is that an all maple neck? I never saw that in the literature either so interesting!
    I did find some of those brochures you posted. It's one of the reasons I was so confused about what I was going to look at, and what I ultimately bought.
    I'm quite excited to get this back to playability. I just have a really good feeling about this guitar and that it's going to really suit me.
    I just took a lot more pics, very close up, of the pickups areas, the tremolo spot I was talking about, and the 1/4" output jack.
     
  16. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Here's more pics. I think Mbechmann was right about a lot of this!! Thanks Mbechmann!
    I believe the 1/4" output jack was moved and made by someone - not the factory. There's evidence the tremolo pocket was modified - you can see in the pictures it appears to have been shaved back - maybe to install this different tremolo system?
    I wonder (and I will apologize right now about writing that) if this guitar may have had the early "Wonder Bar" tremolo by Washburn before it got litigated out of existence by Kahler.

     
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  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Fun guitar project!

    I have this Affinity Tele I rescued. The bridge pickup route had been hacked with a screwdriver and cut larger than a pickguard by one or more previous owners. I ended up routing in quarter inch thick maple and walnut inlays then recutting the pickup cavity correctly. Here's the repair thread. I have several guitar rescue threads if you look them up.

    [​IMG]

    Since it looks like your control cavity is also mangled, you may want to level the top down enough to put a whole new cap on it (maybe a flamed maple like that other example). Or do strips like I did and put the Tele control plate back on to cover that cavity 'number'.

    Keep us posted with pictures as you go ;)

    .
     
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  18. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    @GreenMagicMan
    i think my route with this guitar would be:
    1 sand it down to the bare wood
    2 look what you find an if its worth a clear finish
    3 you don't have to fill every hole/gap, ore you are forced to a solid color finish, you can make a pick guard instead.
    filling those holes and get it flat without any gaps is a hard time consuming work and i think in sound it will not get so much better that you can even hear it.
    would focus more on the nut, sanding it to bare wood and glue a new piece to it to strengthen that spot

    what do you want with the guitar soundwise?
    a humbucker at bridge with single coil at neck with 5 way, half out of fase bill lawrence switching would give you a very versatile guitar
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the tips and taking the time to make a plan :)
    I've been thinking about it... I won't do anything incredibly fast to give me a little time to think it through.
    But so far, in my whole year of playing guitars (ha - redfaced), it seems like I have become a massive fan of the bridge position pickup.
    The Cort Tele I got - that's all I play on so far (bridge pickup setting). In fact, I think the neck pickup is muddled and flat sounding and does nothing for me. The 'V' on left is my #2 go to guitar, only eclipsed by the same pictured 'Explorer'. Both I just love on the bridge pickup, They sound gorgeous, and I crank the 'tone' knob up all the way on both guitars and only am running them through very good quality home stereo set ups (with DI boxes, and a 2 channel tube mic preamp box by ART on the V).
    A lot of words there, but in short, I seem to have an addiction to the bridge pickups.
    I have been starting to eye a Dimarzio super distortion HB for sale on craigslist. I've read numerous people recommend pulling their stock Washburn A20 HB pickups and put those in. So maybe I should not spend lots of time trying to find a stock correct A20V HB pickup and go straight for the Dimarzio anyway. I saw one for sale for about $65 and that's reasonable to me.
    And then, maybe I would put a neck single coil in there. I've studied some more online and it looks like I've found examples of Washburn single coil pickups that look exactly - at least to my eye - like the same shape and pattern and might drop right in.

    I also think that perhaps the neck single pickup cavity is stock along with the center HB sized pickup cavity.

    With some of these points in mind, I'm considering getting some light gauge D'idarrio strings for it very soon and stringing it because I am so eager to strum it and see what it feels like! I'm dying to play this guitar! It sits in my lap incredible comfortably, and the access to the high notes is like none other for what I've run my fingers on - due to the tapered smooth neck through.
    All of the other 7 guitars I have are bolt on necks.
    I think it may become my favorite of all guitars from an ergonomic standpoint at least. The only one I can't compare to is my #1 favorite Explorer as it's at another location currently. But that is large and heavy although it feels really good to sit with.

    Maybe buy a 'junk' guitar off goodwill auction and harvest all the parts from it. I am currently eyeing a vintage Washburn for sale there...

    I also pulled out some pieces of ash I have. I have a lot of pieces that are all precisely 3/4" thick solid pieces that were from an ash hardwood floor I installed. So if need be, one of those would fill the height up to the actual maple top for the two black colored cavities, but the bridge cavity is deeper and would need two layers.

    Anyway, some ideas I have floating around. Thoughts? Thoughts on a Dimarzio?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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