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c.1890 Washburn Style 101

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Serial #: 29212, stamped on neck block

Body width: 12 1/2" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Scale length: 24 1/4"

Materials: Solid bookmatched figured Brazilian rosewood back, sides and headplate; solid bookmatched Adirondack spruce top; solid one-piece Spanish cedar neck; solid ebony fingerboard; solid ebony nut and bridge with compensated saddle; small maple bridgeplate; original three-on-a-plate tuners; original pearl inlaid ebony bridge pins; original ebony endpin.

Notes: George Washburn Lyon and his partner Patrick Healy founded the firm that bears their name in Chicago in 1864. By the early 1880's, company ads boasted of a production output of some 100,000 instruments each year, including string, band and fretted models of all types. Their celebrated Washburn brand guitars debuted in 1884, an extensive line of premium models competing directly with C.F. Martin in both quality and price. An 1895 article stated that the company had produced some 13,000 guitars alone in the previous year, making them by far the largest top-quality builder of guitars in the world at that time.

The Washburn Style 101 was in production by 1887, one of no less than forty different models shown in their catalog, in five sizes and some eight different syles. Simple and tasteful in design, the 101 featured top-quality materials throughout, including a solid Brazilian rosewood body, solid Adirondack spruce soundboard, and a solid ebony fretboard. The Spanish cedar neck, long favored by classical and flamenco builders, combines superlative strength with exceptionally light weight, tipping the scales for this little marvel at an astonishing 2lb 15oz. (Do not play this guitar in a high wind.) The strength and quality of construction may be seen in the fingerboard, which remains as straight as those those of contemporary instruments, a century and a quarter after its manufacture.

Maintained in wonderful condition, this handsome guitar has all original finish and is remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. All- original hardware includes the flattened pyramid ebony bridge, brass tuners, and the pearl position marker at the 10th fret. The Brazilian rosewood body is perfectly bookmatched and brilliantly figured, and the solid Adirondack spruce top is unbound for a clean, uncluttered look. Fretwork appears original and in excellent condition, with smooth low action over a generous 1 3/4" fingerboard, ideal for fingerstyle play, and a recent compensated bridge saddle for optimal intonation.

Tone is bright, detailed and open, with the clarity only decades of age can convey. The voice is even and balanced across the tonal range, and the neck profile is a gentle traditional light vee, easy as butter in the palm. A true rarity in this condition, this classic parlor instrument has a comfy, compact design, with tonewood we're not likely to see again. No mere wall hanger, this remarkable guitar still plays with gusto 125 years after it left Chicago, just 20 years after the Great Fire. One only: call now.

Setup: This instrument has a fresh high-precision setup, and is strung with light gauge phosphor bronze strings.

Case: Deluxe contemporary arched black hardshell case with plush lining.


















































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