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Washburn AB40
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All user reviews for the Washburn AB40

4-string acoustic bass guitar from Washburn belonging to the AB series.

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  • Washburn AB40Published on 12/13/08 at 04:43
    (Originally written by pulvonium/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
    The model I own is one of the first versions and it was made in Korea.

    Note that current models (March 2008) are made in China and I've heard they don't stay in tune.

    23 frets but the neck heel starts at the 16th fret.

    Strange bridge with a guitar nut (to compensate the G string of a guitar...)

    The neck nut is well manufactured.

    Very effective Grover machine heads.

    Original rosette. My model has a wonderful finish (see picture). Current versions don't have this nice top. The back looks like the top with a plastic plate covering the battery compartment and the preamp (with screws, which I personally don't......
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    (Originally written by pulvonium/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
    The model I own is one of the first versions and it was made in Korea.

    Note that current models (March 2008) are made in China and I've heard they don't stay in tune.

    23 frets but the neck heel starts at the 16th fret.

    Strange bridge with a guitar nut (to compensate the G string of a guitar...)

    The neck nut is well manufactured.

    Very effective Grover machine heads.

    Original rosette. My model has a wonderful finish (see picture). Current versions don't have this nice top. The back looks like the top with a plastic plate covering the battery compartment and the preamp (with screws, which I personally don't find that convenient).

    The manufacturing quality is very good regarding the wood, but not the electronics.

    The guitar has a piezo assigned to three controls mounted on the top (not on the side like on most models).

    Controls: volume, high, low. 1/4" jack output. That's it.

    The current bass guitars provide an XLR output, battery indicator, tuner and an EQ with 3 or 4 bands. My model is much more basic and it's a pity because its original sound was very bad (see sound).

    UTILIZATION

    Very pleasant 7-piece neck. Good quality varnish, the hand slides perfectly.

    The neck profile is pleasant and not straining.

    The instrument is comfortable: It's light (of course...) and well balanced.

    Since it's a 3/4 size bass guitar, it's much easier to play it with a strap than a standard electro-acoustic.

    The bass is well-balanced, which i consider a very important point.

    Once again, the lutherie is the main asset of this instrument.

    I used to play it like an acoustic guitarist (with the palm pressed against the bridge) but I changed the position of my hand because I'm an electric bassist. I mounted a thumb rest next to the rosette and I feel much more comfortable.

    SOUNDS

    Sound:

    As I got this instrument (I couldn't try it before I bought it), its E and A strings sounded three time as loud as the D and G strings.

    Moreover, the highs were so loud that I had to set the high control to the minimum.

    I tried to modify the cheap plastic nut to balance the frequency response but it didn't work.

    In October 2008, I brought the bass to my luthier who modified the nut and adjusted the position of the piezo (as far as it was possible, considering its quality).

    The sound of all strings is now homogeneous and the high-frequency is not so shrilling anymore. It's not the most beautiful bass sound but the instrument is now playable.

    I will bring it again to my luthier and ask him to install a better piezo and a "real" preamp because the wood quality is worth it. I only need to get the money to do it...

    OVERALL OPINION

    I've owned it since March 2008 (I bought it secondhand)!

    Pro: Wood and craftsmanship (fabulous)

    Cons: Original electronics (awful)

    Would I buy it again?

    - No. I bought this quite expensive bass guitar to play unplugged gigs with a singer. But I had to wait several months until it was modified and I could play it normally... It would have been better to buy an Ibanez AEV10 which is less prestigious and comfortable but cheaper and immediately playable.

    - Yes. Since I brought it to the luthier, I now have a bass guitar with great looks, excellent wood and craftsmanship, and an average sound.

    - If I have enough money, I will ask my luthier to install a good-quality piezo and preamp (maybe with internal pickup, tuner, etc.) and perhaps then I'll have the instrument I was dreaming about!

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