Washburn MG-43

When I was about 14 years old, in 1994, my parents bought me this Washburn MG43 guitar for my birthday. I played in bands all throughout high school with it and for the most part learned how to really play on this guitar. Once I'd moved from my parent's home I didn't see the guitar again. I was thrilled when my dad called me recently and said that he'd found it in his workshop. It's probably been sitting there for at least a couple of decades in the extreme heat and extreme cold but somehow the guitar still looks to be in good condition.

Upon getting the guitar back I plugged it into an amp but the signal is cuts out. It's not a scratchy sound like a bad ground and depending on how I held the guitar, I could hear sound coming through each pickup, but then I would hear nothing. This is something I'll have to explore once I pull the guitar apart.

Before going any further, I leveled the floating tremolo out (using a folded Crayola box). I also started pulling the stickers off but where they've been on the guitar for so long they're putting up a fight so I'll wait to finish that until after I'm sure I can get the guitar into a usable state.

I've started by removing the strings so that I can get to work polishing the frets. I used painters tape to tape off and protect the fingerboard from my polishing efforts. As you can see in the pictures above, the frets where heavily tarnished but in overall good shape.

After polishing with some steel wool pads lightly by hand, the frets now have a shine to them and this should help greatly when bending strings. I will have to wait in order to test this out because I now need to pull the pickgaurd and see what kind of condition the electronics are in.

The first thing I noticed after pulling the pickguard was how much space there is for future pickup upgrades should I decide to do so. I could have 3 humbuckers in this guitar with no issue (not that I plan on doing that). Overall, the electronics appear to be in good condition for their age and after cleaning everything up with some MAF cleaner I had in my garage I'm confident that the electronics should work fine.

After cleaning everything under the pickguard up I put it all back together and strung the guitar up with a fresh set of Slinky 9 guage strings which I specifically remember this guitar was set up for. When I was testing the guitar through an amp it sounded good but the sound is still cutting out if I move the guitar cable around. If I move the cable just right at the input jack then the sound comes back. The cable feels loose at the input jack so I pulled the jack to see what I could do in correcting the issue. Once I pulled the jack and started messing around with the connector it basically fell apart in my hands. I installed a new output jack and now the problem is completely resolved. I'm actually quite suprised at how quiet this guitar is even though it's got 3 single coil pickups.

Washburn Test Run

I am very pleased with the way this guitar sounds and plays after getting it working again. It sounds just like I remember, with an added bonus. The tone knob is a push-pull pot which combines the bridge and neck pickups when the pot is pulled. I never knew this guitar had a push-pull pot and only found out when I pulled the pickguard. As you can hear from the sound example above (lead guitar only), the guitar has the distinct Strat tone and was recorded in the neck position. The neck itself has the feel of an Ibanez RG. Actually, other than the pickup configuration, the feels just like an Ibanez RG. I'm very happy to have finally been reunited with this Washburn. It was a huge part of my early guitar learning years and I hope to put many more years on it.