|Body And Neck:|
Though the modern incarnation of the company has existed since the 1970s, Washburn has raised its profile recently with their outstanding acoustic guitars. These affordable instruments offer great value to players on a budget, with appointments like solid wood tops and scalloped bracing that you don’t normally find at those prices. The company’s new Comfort Series incorporates those same features while also adding in some extra appointments to make the guitars more comfortable to play.
The WCG25SCE is one of the flagship guitars in the Comfort Series; its Grand Auditorium body shape and smooth cutaway make it an exceptionally easy instrument to play. With the included Fishman electronics system, it can go from the practice room to the stage without missing a beat.
After careful consideration, it’s clear that this is one of the best acoustic-electric guitars players on a budget can find. Let’s take a closer look at the guitar and break down some more of its features.
Like most Washburn acoustics, the WCG25SCE utilizes a solid top made from Sitka spruce. Spruce (particularly the Sitka variety) is renowned among acoustic guitar manufacturers for its clear, resonant tonal palette and exceptional projection. The back and sides, meanwhile, are made from Pau Ferro — a South American tonewood with similar properties to rosewood.
This guitar offers a Grand Auditorium body shape. It’s slightly smaller and more rounded than dreadnought guitars, but it still offers more volume and projection than tiny parlor guitars. The grand auditorium shape offers a good blend of bright trebles, deep bass, and manageable size.
To make it more comfortable, the WCG25SCE includes a beveled armrest on the upper curve of the body. You’ll also find a Venetian cutaway by the neck to help you access all 20 frets as easily as possible. Speaking of the neck, this one is made of mahogany with a fretboard made of ovangkol (another rosewood sound-alike).
Though it looks just like a standard acoustic, the WCG25SCE actually includes a Fishman 501+ Presys preamp built into the body. This system combines a piezo pickup underneath the bridge and control panel on the upper bout to help you adjust your output when on stage.
The small black panel includes EQ knobs for treble, mids, and bass, along with volume and brilliance dials. Phase and notch buttons help you alter your tone and eliminate feedback, respectively. Finally, there’s also a tuner included with a small display screen to help you keep your instrument in tune at all times.
To take advantage of the guitar’s electric capabilities, all you need to do is plug in. The jack on the bottom side panel of the guitar keeps any cables out of the way of your hands while you play.
The hardware on the WCG25SCE continues the high-end theme. This guitar’s nut is made from genuine bone, which offers far superior tone and sustain to the plastic often found on cheaper acoustic guitars. The tuners, a generic Washburn set with an 18:1 gear ratio, also feature black ebonite buttons for an interesting visual touch.
Down at the other end of the 25 5/16″ scale, you’ll find an ovangkol bridge bound with mahogany. The body also contains hand-scalloped X-bracing underneath the soundboard. The scalloping process removes some wood to help the top resonate more freely; this leads to greater sustain and more vibrant tones.
Beyond making the guitar more comfortable to play, the Grand Auditorium shape also lends it a unique tonal signature. In a sub-$1,000 acoustic market crowded with dreadnought bodies, it’s a nice change of pace. Rather than overpower you with bass, the WCG25SCE rests on a balanced palette with an articulate midrange and a bright, resonant high end.
In terms of high-end brands, this guitar identifies more with the “Taylor” sound than the “Martin” aesthetic. However, that doesn’t mean that it has no bass, or that the tonal spectrum is top-heavy! If you like a more booming sound, you can still get some decent low-end projection out of this body. The great advantage of the smaller shape, though, is its versatility: it’s comfortable and slinky enough for strummers and fingerpickers alike.
The Fishman system is decent but not outstanding — with the pickup active, it adds a clear electronic sheen to the sound, which compresses and dampens the guitar.
It’s good enough to get the job done for amplified gigs, but the Fishman’s main advantage is its simplicity rather than its sound. Rigging up an outboard microphone may give you a more unadulterated acoustic tone, but it will take more time and gear to get right; the best solution will depend on your needs.
If you’re looking for a midrange acoustic that delivers tone and comfort beyond its price, the Washburn WCG25SCE is an outstanding option. Its combination of sound quality, versatility, and distinctive looks make this great for players in pretty much any style.