Washburn Revival Series Acoustic Guitar Review

Performer reviews the new throwback acoustic from Washburn as part of their Revival Series (Model RSG200SWVSK, to be exact)

Washburn’s been making acoustics since the 1880s, and with that long history comes experience making some great sounding instruments. For the 21st Century, they’re still delivering the goods with a nod to their past.

So, digging into their past this RSG200SWVSK (Oh, how I wish they would just use simple model names) draws inspiration from their 1939 Solo Deluxe Super Auditorium 5246 (even back then they used numbers instead of names). The top is a Torrefied Sitka Spruce. Torrefied means it’s been heat treated, and this process dries out the wood from its natural oils, sap, resins and moisture. Ever wonder why an old acoustic sounds good? Well, those same resins and oils have been dried out over years. Washburn starts their construction with this heat treated wood to get the same effect, not only on the top, but the internal bracing as well. The back and sides are solid rosewood. Along with a nice creamy binding on the top, back and rear center line, it’s finished off in a high luster gloss finish. The rosette is nicely done with an ivoroid ring. Overall, a very beautiful-looking instrument.

The 25.5” scale neck is mahogany with a rosewood reinforcement, as well as a rosewood fingerboard with small dot inlays. A bone nut sits at the end, and the headstock has Washburn’s classic narrow-crown profile.

While it’s certainly old timey, looks-wise, there’s some modern stuff going on in the electronics, featuring Fishman’s Sonitone Preamp. It’s super low profile, with the volume and tone controls tucked away inside the sound hole. Another modern touch is Graph Tech Ratio tuning machines, with each tuning peg having its own optimized gear ratio meant for that particular string.

With all that blend of modern and classic, it sounds really, really nice (note the two “reallys”).

The C-shaped neck a bit narrow, but very comfortable with its satin finish. With the vintage-sized frets it really connects with the notes. It’s got a great big rich and boomy bottom end that’s super prevalent with open chords. Full barre chords also maintain their tightness, which is nice on an acoustic. Again, the neck profile really helps in getting a good grip on the instrument. Single notes are very sweet, and when combined with droning open strings, it really has a lot of top end “zip” to it. Being a non-cutaway guitar, getting to those upper frets is going to be a challenge, so no Yngwie-style solos on this one, OK? It’s one of those great singer/songwriter guitars with a fantastic sound that really fills things out. The Graph Tech Ratio tuners make getting to alternate and open tunings a breeze, as well.

We tested our review model during long sets through a pretty conventional PA system, and we’re happy to report there was no ear fatigue or high-end audio leftovers to hurt the listener. The Fishman preamp system brings in plenty of attack, while still maintaining fullness. It’s a simple system, too, with no odd phasing or notch filtering EQ’s.

The only downside is the battery for the unit. It’s secured in a nylon web pouch, but it’s not easy to get to without loosening or removing some strings. Not putting an easy access compartment may be staying true to Washburn’s history, but if you find yourself with a dead battery before a set (oh yeah, that NEVER happens) it’s gonna get interesting. Overall, though, a minor quibble with an otherwise fantastic instrument. Kudos to Washburn for exceeding our expectations.

PROS:

Big and rich sounding acoustically, very comfortable neck.

CONS:

Preamp battery isn’t easily accessible.

STREET PRICE:

$899

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