A lot of resonator guitars go for the “authentic” old west vibe that so many musicians want to capture in their country music. This is an unfortunate thing. Mostly because resonator guitars were not really part of the wild west past of the United States. They were invented in the late 1920s, just under a decade after the legend of the wild west started fading. Yet I cannot help myself when I see a good period piece myself. The Washburn R360K Vintage Series, the one we are taking a close look at, is a rare example of a good instrument trying to seem older than it is.
The body of the guitar is a curious amalgamation of different materials. Mixed together with wood and metal, we have a beautiful, lightweight and yet sturdy instrument, capable of great things. The shape is grand auditorium, a decent choice in terms of amplification for any guitar. It is powerful and yet comfortable to play. The top of the guitar, at least that is not metal, is made of cedar. This adds a little bit more emphasis on the higher tones of the guitar.
The back and sides of the guitar are spalted maple, a sturdy, strong wood with a dark colour and a density that could rival a black hole (not really, just an exaggeration). This gives the guitar a thick lower end in its tones, as well as the sturdiness required of a guitar that is to last for years to come.
The cover plate of the guitar is made of trembesi, an exotic wood straight out of the rain-forests. While I do not like having an important resource for the world being used dismissively, I like the sound it makes. Yes, it is a beautiful wood, with a beautiful resonation and amplification property, and yet I do not like my rain-forests destroyed. Anyway.
The neck of the guitar is solid mahogany, always a nice and sturdy choice for any guitar. It is lightweight enough that the guitar is comfortable to play under any circumstance and yet sturdy enough to withstand most abuse. The fretboard is a handsome rosewood.
The coloring is dark for maximum late 19th century look.
The bridge of the guitar as you might have realized is made of a rainforest wood, trembesi. It is a good conductor to for the string vibrations, and yet I do prefer my resonators to have metallic parts, especially the bridge.
The biscuit resonator is powerful and metallic as it gets. As a result you have a beautiful sound that can be heard even in the most crowded 19th century parlors.
The nut of the guitar is barely raised, yet it is nicely enough balanced. As a result you can play it both with fingers and a slide.
The sound of the guitar is very enjoyable. It is powerful and very warm, detailed in every tone and sound it produces. The amplification is wonderful, with the vintage biscuit installed into the guitar providing a satisfying level of sound at any point. Twangy, metallic and enjoyable. What else could a player want?
This is one of those guitars that has many great qualities and a price that will make you crack the biggest smile. My conscience tells me it is not the best thing to have a guitar that is made of literal rain-forests, and yet my fingers itch to play it. I am very conflicted on the subject of this instrument.