Washburn guitars, manufactured by Lyon & Healy in Chicago, were marketed aggressively in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In fact, the company claimed to be the largest manufacturer and importer of musical instruments in the world. The claim was 100,000 instruments made annually! Pleijsier, in his book on Washburn prewar instruments, states that a close examination of the serial numbers of the era could support the makers claim!

Regardless of how many were made annually, a quick look at one of their instruments shows a well made guitar, on par with a Martin. The quality of workmanship and materials appears second to none. The Washburn line presented a dizzying array of models; this example is a Style 123. Both the style number and serial number are stamped on the headstock. The serial number places the guitar at around 1897. The numeral 1 in the style number represents the size, standard size. From an 1899 catalog: "No. 1 Standard Size. This guitar is somewhat larger than the usual Ladies' size, but of beautiful proportions and a very elegant model. It is the popular style; is a great favorite as a lady's instrument. The tone, though rich and mellow, possesses much volume and is quite powerful enough for all home purposes" Today, one would accurately call it a 'parlor guitar'.

The lower bout measures 12 1/2". The neck measures 1 13/16" at the nut, and string spacing 2 3/16" across at the saddle. Scale length measures 24 1/4".

The back and sides are choice, straight-grained Brazilian rosewood. The top is spruce and ladder braced. The top and back are bound in white celluloid and dark/light wood. The sound hole is inlaid with herringbone and colored rings. The back is inlaid with a colorful strip. The neck is cedar and shaped into a soft 'V'. The fingerboard is Brazilian, bound in white celluloid and sports three engraved position markers. The head stock has a Brazilian overlay. The bridge pins, end pin and tuners appear original.

Overall, the guitar has an attractive appearance. The finish appears original. There are several repaired top cracks, all cleated. The bridge plate/brace is replaced. The bridge is replaced. There are several short cracks in the sides that have been repaired. The guitar is strung with nylon/classical low tension strings (the guitar was designed for gut) with the action set at about 8/64". In the past, it appears to have been strung with heavier strings and consequently there is dip in the top around the sound hole and a tilt to the bridge. However, the guitar plays well.
The guitar plays easily and produces a very nice tone, surprisingly full and deep, perfect for parlor picking!

Comes in a soft gig bag.

Vintage Blues Guitars

Vintage Blues Guitars

Very Good
13 Years
Vintage Blues Guitars
Tom Wentzel and Bruce Roth
Lancaster, PA
6:12 AM
phone calls accepted 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. eastern time .. text or email anytime

Cash, checks, PayPal, money orders or bank wire. We don't accept credit cards at this point.

We ship usually within a day of payment. International customers, we are not CITES certified. Any guitar with CITES-protected materials (Brazilian rosewood, ivory et al) shipped outside the US will be shipped at the risk of the buyer.

Forty-eight hour test drive on all instruments..if not to your liking, return for refund minus shipping costs.