View Full Version : Guitar ID help ! 30's / 40's WASHBURN ??

Nov-07-2010, 3:37pm
Don't know what this is, only says "Virginia" on the inside backstrip. 2 or three faint #'s. Seems pretty old. 30's ;/ 40's ? Thanks in advance for any guesses:


Nov-07-2010, 3:49pm
OK, if you think it's a Washburn why couldn't it be a Lyon & Healy? Washburn was a Lyon and Healy brand name until they sold it, probably later than this guitar was built. It's not a Washburn by the way. I'd put it early 1900's to 1930's, no later, probably in the earlier part. Hard to ID exactly without the original finish or tuners. The number does nothing for me and Virginia isn't listed in the Mugwumps Encyclopedia so I can't nail down the builder that way. The bridge is pretty unique, assuming it hasn't been altered, maybe Jim or Jake can ID it from that. Also, I'm real surprised that anyone would use walnut for a fingerboard on something like this, most were some sort of mystery wood I've never been able to really identify.

Nov-07-2010, 3:57pm
Thanks Mike, senior moment, I kept imagining a L & H mando and just thought No ! I think it's the original finish; seems vey thin & maybe just brushed on. Pretty sure it's not the original bridge, although it's the one I got it with. F-board was just a quick guess, it's definately a lower grade something or other. Think I'll go with mystery wood. I like the sound of that.

Nov-07-2010, 4:16pm
Shape looks more Weymann or Harmony/Supertone to me, in terms of the relative size of the upper and lower bouts, and the somewhat thicker waist. Can't find any references to guitars labeled "Virginia," but the larger manufacturers often made instruments for specialty labels -- individual music stores, even individual instrument teachers.

By the way, "threw a side hole into it"? IMHO that would cut the value in half, or more! Would the prospective purchaser of a vintage parlor instrument, prefer it with an extra soundhole cut into the upper bout?

Rob Gerety
Nov-07-2010, 4:30pm
I don't know what it is. Is the top x braced, or ladder braced?

It does look and sound nice. I must say though, a sound hole in the side is a pretty radical modification, eh? You said you worked on the braces?

I've heard some refer to that mystery fretboard lumber as "Pear". Did it have the original frets? Were they bar frets?

Could you post a few pics? Maybe a pic of the purfling? and the label? And the back stripe?

Nov-07-2010, 4:54pm
Was ladder braced, I had the back of to fix a large number of cracks in the back & sides. I X-braced the top at that time. Lots of hours playing it around the office, it's a nice sounding, no worry beater. It really is quite a mess, I figure it's a keeper, and I have no problem with the modification, but typically wouldn't do a side hole to something much older than the 70's ? or an upper name brand. But 10-15 years ago, I had side hole fever. (Ah youth !)
I re-fretted, but what I removed weren't bars.I'll try and get a closeup/detail video up later. The purfling is definately what gives it it's charm & to some degree gives away it's age. It's almost gaudy ,but actually quite nice when you consider the stlyes of the time period. Back strip is also a bit wild: multi layered with greens, not very smooth along it's length.

Nov-07-2010, 5:01pm
[QUOTE=allenhopkins;855632] the larger manufacturers often made instruments for specialty labels -- individual music stores, even individual instrument teachers. Or even the customers name ??

"threw a side hole into it"?

I know, pretty nonchalant how I snuck that in there eh?
So , now it's only worth $200 ? (it really is a mess, but I've grown to love her !))

Rob Gerety
Nov-07-2010, 5:57pm
Man, I love ladder braced guitars! Is it a Stella?

Nov-07-2010, 7:34pm
I don't think it's a Harmony as the early Harmony guitars had the fret marker at 10th fret as opposed to the common 9th. There's an interesting article on early Harmony guitars here (http://www.vintageguitar.com/features/brands/details.asp?AID=1063). Looking at the bridge it does appear to be a bit oversized and the odd drilling for the pegs is strange as well. I could be way off on the size of it. The finish just doesn't look natural to me. I've never seen one of these as a blond. At the time that this should have been built everything got a faux finish, even nice wood.

Nov-07-2010, 10:25pm
I've heard some refer to that mystery fretboard lumber as "Pear".

Many mid-to-low-price instruments had fretboards of pearwood, often dyed to look like ebony. Google "pearwood fretboard" and you'll find a bunch for sale now.

Nov-08-2010, 6:57pm
Some close ups. Thanks again for all the input !!


Really can't see the backstrip colors well !

Nov-08-2010, 8:40pm
OK, the 10th fret marker that actually used to exist can point at a Harmony. There might have been some others that did that but Harmony was known for it. If you read through the Harmony article I posted above it has some sizes of upper and lower bouts. You might be getting closer there as well. The Harmony bridges at the time also had squares on each side of the pins on the bridge (as opposed to pyramids). That would lend itself to the inlay yours has.