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This is a Washburn 1896 Style new Model 111 guitar which has been fully restored and modified to X bracing and steel strings.  It has Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Adirondack spruce top, ebony fingerboard, original tuners, ebony nut, frets, CAD exact replacement ebony bridge, endpin, and the coolest set of decals I’ve ever seen.  There was never a doubt in my mind that I’d keep those!  


The 1896 era 111 has a simple three bar ladder brace on the top and was designed for gut strings, but once major body work was completed, I decided to X brace the guitar and set it up for steel stings.  I own a Washburn 1897 New Style 145 guitar which I had re-built which is the exact same size but fancier.  I kept a plan of the original Washburn scalloped X brace pattern the 145 had and I duplicated it on this guitar.   


When I first got the guitar, the back was off, the top was loose from kerfing, the sides were loosing shape, all the braces were loose, the back was split, the fingerboard split, the neck heel had been broken and screwed back together, the bridge cracked and falling off, the end block split and loose, there was a major side split, poorly repaired and about a 1/4 " chunk broken out of the fingerboard and neck. It was a high quality wreck and a hot mess.  Just my kind of guitar!


Work done:  

  • Removed bridge, took back off. 
  • Glued and cleated back breaks and various selected sections back together.  
  • Glued cracked end block and re-glued it into place, re-gluing top one section at a time to reform the guitar. 
  • Removed old side repair and re-glued the side split and cleated the entire length.  
  • Re assembled and glued on the back
  • Cleaned up the neck damage, and inlaid new mahogany into the neck and new ebony onto the fingerboard. 
  • Neck re-set, 
  • New CAD bridge 
  • Frets leveled crowned and polished
  • Finish touch up with french polish
  • Full set up


The guitar turned out beautifully and it has a big sound for it’s small size.  The nicely shaped V neck makes for easy action and smooth playing.  It has a rather deep body which gives it a much fuller tone than you’d expect for a guitar of that size.  Beautiful for light flatpicking and Carter Style flatpicking, but it really shines as a fingerstyle guitar. I composed a new instrumental, The Cliche Rag on this guitar as I set it up, and that’s the tune I’ll be playing in the video.


There are multiple 100 level Washburns in line for restoration.

Washburn 1896 Style 111

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