FEATURING QUALITY WOODS SUCH as a solid Alaskan Sitka spruce top, laminated Tamo ash back and sides, and a mahogany neck, the WD30SCE aims to catch the attention of players who want an affordable, gig-worthy dreadnought guitar with a cutaway and electronics. With its wooden rosette and full binding on the body and neck, the WD30SCE has an upscale look that’s enhanced by the flared headstock with its inlaid pearl “tulip” emblem on an overlay of rosewood. The workmanship on this guitar is impressive. The neck-to-body joint is clean and tight, the binding is free of glitches, and there’s no evidence of filler anywhere in the wood or around the inlays. A small amount of excess glue is visible on the interior, but the braces are nicely shaped and sanded, and the joints are tight. The frets are properly crowned and lightly polished, though a few of their tips could stand some extra trimming and smoothing.
The gold-plated tuners bring the strings easily up to pitch and with no snags from the nut slots. The intonation is tuneful enough, but the low action initially created a lot of string buzz across the entire fretboard. A twist of the trussrod with the supplied hex wrench was all it took to solve the buzzing problem. Nice to know you can compensate for climateinduced changes in string action so easily.
With the strings now riding a touch higher off the fretboard, the WD30SCE played easily and sounded crisp, full, and very well balanced. For such a low-cost guitar, we were surprised by its tonefulness. There’s lots of sparkle in the highs, complemented by a sweet midrange and a tight, articulate low end. The dreadnought-sized body kicks out plenty of volume, too.
The Fishman 50IT preamp/pickup system is an excellent match for the WD30SCE. Although its Volume pot was a little scratchy, the preamp’s EQ controls are well voiced and effective for dialing in good-sounding amplified tones. You can strum the guitar hard without incurring harsh piezo timbres, and the notch control is very useful for subduing a pesky feedback frequency so you can play louder without howls. The Phase switch can also be activated if feedback persists. The 50IT system includes an easy-to-use tuner, a low-battery LED, and a swing-out holder on the rear side of the control panel for quick changes of the 9-volt battery.
All considered, the WD30SCE is a lot of guitar for the money, and a great choice for anyone on a tight budget who needs a hip sounding flat-top for gigs or recording.
CONTACT Washburn, (847) 949-0444; washburn.com
PRICE $676 retail/$379 street
NUTWIDTH 1 11/16"
TUNERS Gold die-cast
BODY Laminated ash
TOP Sitka spruce
BRIDGE Rosewood w/ compensated saddle
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN China
ELECTRONICS Fishman 501T
CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Notch, Brilliance; Phase and Tuner buttons
WEIGHT 4.9 lbs
KUDOS Very balanced sounding. Quality woods and construction.
CONCERNS Slight hump in the fretboard where it joins the top.