As anyone on equipboard who follows me will know, I love double-cutaway set-necks of all kinds. I've always been partial to the old Hamer Sunburst model, but it’s a big buy in for a flat-top-set-neck electric guitar that doesn't say Gibson on it. Players who are wise know they rip and will pay a premium for a nice old one... when you can find one that hasn't been fucked with too badly.
Now without further adieu, here’s another rambling off-model vintage guitar CSI:
So I saw this Washburn Falcon (billed as an '84) on Reverb. All the wing series Washburns of the 70s and 80s I knew about were bolt ons or neck thru… which is cool. I still want a 70s vintage white Eagle like Nancy Wilson from Heart used to play. But apparently in the 80s Washburn switched manufacturing to Matsumoku (wing series guitars were Japanese made during the height of MIJ greatness but with original designs they were meant to give Gibson and Hamer a run for their money, literally, as they were cheaper, but really well made at a number of small Japanese shops). At the time of the Matsumoku change the Falcon model became a glue in 3 piece mahogany neck with a mahogany body, rosewood board and flat maple top as opposed to a 5 piece mahogany and maple neck thru with swamp ash wings.
Mine has a lovely reddish tobacco burst over some beautifully flamed maple. They stuck with their Hamer sustain-block bridge copy that they were using in the 70s. Its a huge chunk of brass in the fender hardtail/string-thru-body style with heavy duty brass saddles and a G&L-ish set screws to lock the saddles together side-to-side. The pickups don't appear to be original on mine (the originals woulda been nothing special) and may be 80s Dimarzio super distortions. We shall see when I open her up. Otherwise she is stock.
Right out of the case this guitar sounds awesome for hard rock leads (though it fails to clean up well with my volume knobs... its not muddy, just SOOOO much output compared to my other humbucker axes). She is in need of a neck adjust and new strings, but even with a little too much relief and worn out 9 gauges she is a joy to play. I will probably change strings, raise the plain string action and tweak the neck back a hair later today. Did I mention this guitar is light like an SG or Jr? Well it is, but its still has that maple top, snappy attack thing going, though to a lesser extent than my 2 carve tops.
Medium to Large C shaped neck. Comfortable nut width (though it doesn't feel as wide as a 50s/modern Gibson or as thin as a 60s one, must be a wonky Japanese metric thing). The sustain on this guitar is just fabulous. You get under a note and the top of your bend just hangs for days even bone clean. Mine has 5 ply binding around the top and fretboard that is really well done. I expected this guitar to be a polyester finish, but after feeling her in my hands I did the lacquer test... as it turns out the thing is sprayed in glossy nitro and its a really well done spray job at that. My 335 copy is a Matsumoku guitar from this era too and those guys were just killin' it with their lutherie skills.
I am thinking of putting a Duncan pearly gates in the neck (I DO NOT like the enck pickup, mushy and boomy) and then trying out another Duncan 59/custom hybrid at the bridge to split the difference between 80s hotrod humbucker and vintage complexity. My 2 gripes are the lack of fret nibs on the neck binding and the fact that it has a recessed tele style jack and I really like to use L-ends on my Gibsony guitars. Oh well. I could change it to an LP or football plate if the jack cup ever works its way loose. If I had designed this guitar I woulda done a top-mounted SG style jack but I am partial to those.
These are a deal and mine is just as good as any Hamer Sunburst I have considered buying and the top is flamier and the binding is nicer. Hell, having neck binding at all is a plus... a basic sunburst had no binding anywhere, each layer of binding was an upcharge.
If you can find one of these rare old Washburns, snap it up at the lowest price you can negotiate and treasure her always.
Update, I opened her up with the strings off. She has stock coil tapping on pushpulls and some of the wierdest shielding I've ever seen - the back plate is black metal and the controls inside are housed in this metal rhombus. There's a circuit board involved in the col/tone control wiring which cheeses me the fuck off. The pickups are dimarzios as I suspected, the guy who installed them just wired them to the old pickup leads. Maybe I will do the same with my duncans.... well, time tos tring her up, tweak the neck and try the push/pulls! I am keeping the 'stock' pickups until I decide if I want to gut the whole assemble and start over.