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Thread: Vintage Washburn Bowlback Setup

  1. #1

    Default Vintage Washburn Bowlback Setup

    Greetings and happy holidays. I arrived at my relative‘s home for Thanksgiving, and my cousin Donna produced this rather nice rosewood Washburn bowl back. As is the case with most, it has some neck issues and some bridge issues.

    For proper internation, bridge wants to move from its original placement north of the cant in the cant top, to a position just south of the crease.

    It seems to me that this might be a satisfactory fix if the base of the bridge were tweaked to sit at a proper angle upon this new surface. I know that Vega instruments, for example were made with the bridge seated on the surface south of the crease, but I don’t know if changing its position on this Washburn is likely to cause problems with the top. Light strings of course.

    In addition there is an ominous looking crack in the neck heal, but my cousin plays, and would like the instrument to be basically playable. My inclination is to move the bridge (I already have the approximate position) - change the angle on the bridges foot, and call it a day. Any other opinions?

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  2. #2
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Tavistock UK

    Default Re: Vintage Washburn Bowlback Setup

    Ultimately the bridge has to go where it wants to go: I don't see any structural issues, the top is really quite strong directly above the cant (by virtue of the shape), and traditionally the braces are much further forward than here anyway - which is to say, no matter which side of the cant you are, there's no brace directly underneath, rather you're relying on the shape of the top.

    The crack might be more of an issue, but really all you can do is strong-arm it with the tension off the strings and see if anything moves!

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Vintage Washburn Bowlback Setup

    Looks like the heel crack is rather minor. The very tail end of the neck heel had cracked as a result of the wood shrinking or heat. Either way, the damage is limited and mostly cosmetic. I do not believe the structural integrity of the neck is compromised.

    You could either leave it as is or remove the damaged section and re-glue it back together.

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