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 Post subject: The Falcon has Landed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:51 pm 
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I was thinking about adding this to the 'Know your Matsumoku' topic, but the jury is still out whether these were made by Mat or not. Redeye knows I've been looking for a Washburn Falcon for a while and I finally snagged one recently. There are no less than 3 different versions of the Falcon (fuel for the manufacturer controversy) and each of those have at least three finish options, and remember that there are also Eagle, Hawk and Raven models, so the variety is pretty staggering. This is one of the more common Falcons, a model 'B' in Rosewood, arguably the most Iconic version they made. I assumed that these guitars had just a rosewood veneer, but if you look at this picture with the bridge pickup out, you can see the grain of the (almost inch thick) slab of rosewood in the cross section:
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This example is in very nice shape with just a bit of belt buckle rash on the back:
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These versions had a wooden Truss Rod and Control covers (pretty cool) and on the inside you can see the number 39.2 stamped on both the cover and the body:
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I'm not certain what the numbers stand for, Build Date? Craftsman? Maybe just numbered so that after being stained the correct cover went back on the right body. I remember playing one of these at a music store back in the late 70's and being blown away by the scooped out heal:
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What I don't remember is how heavy these beasts are! I don't have a scale, but it's gotta weigh close to ten pounds, thick bugger. It was about $400 out of my (highschool) price range, so I ended up buying a Ibanez AR50 instead, which was a pretty decent guitar in it's own right, but I never forgot about the scooped out Washburn. These have push pull coilcuts for each pickup located on the Volume pots (very Matsumoku...) and the indents under the pots for easy use (six years before PRS would start doing that). The neck is bigger than most of my Electras, so that's taking a little time to get used to, and it's heavy on my shoulder, so they're not the most comfortable guitar on the block. Not sure what kind of pickups these are, they have the three height adjustment screws, so I'm pretty sure they're Japanese made, and they may be waxed because I was cranking it out last night with minimal feedback (Bonus!). Overall it's an interesting design (just wish it was a little lighter) and I'm not sure if I'll keep it forever, but after 30 years of lusting for one, I just had to take the plunge. Mike.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:02 pm 
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BEAUTIFULL! The craftsmanship looks to be flawless. Im glad you finally got one.

Paul


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:42 pm 
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:love: :love: That is one killer finish on that Axe.Congrats on the score. It looks to be a heavy one with the thick slabs of wood used in this one. :up:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:33 pm 
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Very NICE. Those are fantastic guitars! That whole series of neck-thrus are...

I had an A20 from that era for a while. Really liked it - neck through, same maker, same bridge, flamed top though. The pickups looked like dimarzio copies - just like dimarzios except they had the three screws and didn't have the dimarzio logo. Some people thought they were dimarzios, but I always thought they were very good Japanese copies. They were not very high output as I recall (at least the ones in the A20). I thought they were between 7-8K windings. It has been 10 years since I owned it though - wish I still did. UPS destroyed it in shipping to the guy that bought it. It arrived with TIRE marks over the middle of the box. \ :bawl:

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They actually pushed the pots into the cavity from the top of the guitar. So if you all hear me bash UPS - you know why :x It was packed very well but there wasn't any doubt what had happened to it. I let the buyer collect on it and he kept what was left of the guitar. I think he put a pick guard on it so he could still use it. It didn't run over the neck, just the main part of the body.

Not trying to throw a wet blanket on things or steal your thunder here. That is a killer guitar! Don't let UPS have it!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:39 am 
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Mike - a truly beautiful Falcon; my brother had one years ago but I don't remember the actual model, except it played decently and had some hot pickups;

Thorny - what a tough luck story concerning the UPS shipment;

RCSBlues :oops:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:32 am 
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Yeah, I just love the wood grain on that falcon, and the scooped out heel. Matsumoku or not, they really knew how to build guitars. :up:

It looks like new! Probably the nicest one I have seen.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:33 am 
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That is a beauty Mike! Glad you finally got your hands on one - but you know......now you're going to need some of the other models to round out the collection! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:30 am 
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There was some discussion of this over at the Matsumoku forum. If I recall correctly the consensus was that some were Matt and some were by Yamaki. The member their who goes by "Racing" is knowlegable on these guitars.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Thanks guys, you're too kind. I'm so used to buying hard luck cases that this one was a pleasant surprise. Don't have a photo of it, but there is a minor separation in the laminate on the back, but it's behind the string grommets and previous owner said it hadn't got any worse in the five years he had it.

Firstly to Thorny, those A20's look great from the back, and I didn't know they were neck-through, I'll have to play one of those sometime. The color scheme looks a lot like a Cherry endorser, even the back stain color and while I can't make out the serial number font in that photo, looks like the same weird yellow numbers that can be found on Electras, darn cool.

Here's the only picture I took of the pickup when it was out, I have no idea what it is, maybe someone can ID it:
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The bottoms of the bobbins had a strange gap in the center that I tried to show in the picture, and then below the pickup is a sizable magnet between the bobbins and the pickup bracket. I don't know what the resistance on these are, but they seem to be pretty darn hot on the tube amp scale.

Workingman wrote:
the consensus was that some were Matt and some were by Yamaki.

I've read some of those threads, and while the circuit boards (that the pots are mounted to) say Yamaki, I'm not sure if that validates that they built the whole guitar, I mean we know that the tuners typically come from suppliers, as do the jacks and potentiometers, why not farm-out the (funky) circuit board too. Anyway, I sure don't know who made it, and it's further complicated by this new info:
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This shows the X150 Laminate lined up with the Falcon, and the widths of the pieces are all different except for the center-most piece of Maple. The Walnut strips are different widths, and the end Maple strips are way different. I was expecting them to be identical, but this blows that theory out of the water, so I'm still in the dark as to who made what...

Just noticed that you can see the seam flaw in that last picture, ah well, I can live with that!
Redeye wrote:
now you're going to need some of the other models to round out the collection!

No Way man, I don't have a problem, I can stop any time I want... The other 'Wing' model you see pictured a lot is the White Eagle (AbbA!) version with all the pearl around the edge, I think I'll pass on that model! After researching these I really wanted the 'A' model which has more of a oval control cover and the output jack on the top of the guitar (and no funky circuit board), but those are kinda rare, and this one was pretty darn clean, so I jumped on it. Thanks again guys, all my buddies have expensive cars and motorcycles, this is the one luxury I afford myself. Cheers, Mike.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:28 pm 
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The Falcon looks like it's a really cool piece. I love the slabs of rosewood, even though I'm not so enamored with the whole laminate look. The body shape is extremely elegant. Harkens to the double cut LP Specials.

proendorser wrote:
...
Firstly to Thorny, those A20's look great from the back, and I didn't know they were neck-through, I'll have to play one of those sometime.
...


They do look pretty cool. Many years ago I had a bass in that shape. I don't know the model number. It was an 8 string, mahogany neck through body, book matched flame maple cap in cherry sunburst, with a P/J pickup combo in creme. The octave strings threaded through the back of the headstock and hit guitar sized tuning machines recessed behind the bridge. It was a really nicely made piece that I picked up in a pawn shop for about $350 with a HUGE "anvil" type road case. I had to sell it after I got out of school, and I think I only got about $400 for it.

I've never seen any reference to that model, or any photos of one like it.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:16 am 
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proendorser wrote:
No Way man, I don't have a problem, I can stop any time I want...


Just keep telling yourself that, buddy... :wink:

Ah, I'm just razzin' ya. We've both added one or two since last year, and it sure is FUN!....plus... there's alot worse things we could be spending the kids' college funds on. I say - stay on the hunt! Never know what comes around... :up:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:41 pm 
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Hey, I had loaded picasa software and it searched all the junk on my pc for pictures and video clips as part of the process. Well I had a bunch of music videos I downloaded ages ago (way before youtube). I found an OLD John Fogarty video "Around the Bend" live, and he was playing a Falcon! I had forgotten about all that stuff. I had LOTS of Fogarty stuff.

I didn't find any with him or Peter Frampton playing an Electra though. I'll have to keep looking.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:44 am 
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Here's a nice little sidebar for you. Manny Charlton of Nazereth was a Washburn player. According to the date on the Negatives I just dug up, in January 1985 Nazereth did a very small tune up tour that passed through Ontario at a club called The Orient about 2 miles from where I lived. There was less than 10 people at the gig including me and my 2 pals so we had pretty good access to the boys. In the first set Manny was bitching that the lights were too bright, as my table was about 3 feet from Manny (the photo was taken by me sitting down with an Olympus XA2 pocket camera with no zoom) I gave him my Vaurnet's to shade his eyes (he had them on for the whole show). As you can see from the picture bellow, he's wearing them...LOL. What you can also see in the photo is he's playing a Falcon by the looks of it!

At the end of the show they're packing up getting ready to leave and I've indulged a fair bit of the wobbly pop at this point...I say Manny, you forgetting something? He says what man? I say give me my F-ing shades back! He cracks up, apologizes and returns them to me...LOL.

Looks to be more shots of him playing the Falcon in the negatives...I'll try and scan them.
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Last edited by The Electraman on Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:27 am 
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Oh and thanks a ton guys, I want one of these now! :love:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:35 am 
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ultra sonic wrote:
...
Many years ago I had a bass in that shape. I don't know the model number. It was an 8 string, mahogany neck through body, book matched flame maple cap in cherry sunburst, with a P/J pickup combo in creme. The octave strings threaded through the back of the headstock and hit guitar sized tuning machines recessed behind the bridge.
...
I've never seen any reference to that model, or any photos of one like it.


I spent all last week in the studio recording basic tracks for a CD project, and the subject eventually turned to this Washburn bass. I'm not really sure why or how!

But I did some further searching and found a couple references to the instrument. It's called a B-20-8 and I found a few images that I lifted.

This one is missing the tuning gears for the octave strings, and also has replacement pickups, I believe mine had creme Dimarzios.

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This one has an added thumb rest:

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