Read the review of the R45RCE Resonator from the Daily Stoke here.
October 13, 2011 By Garage Shaper
Washburn recently added a exciting new line of Resonator guitars to their eclectic line up of amazing guitars.
From the sound to the craftsmanship, this guitar is top notch all the way!
The Not So Good
I've got nothing...this guitar is just amazing and I think you'll agree!!!
I've been playing guitar for close to twenty years now and have always loved to play at the beach before or after a surf. It is a great way to unwind with your mates and I've had some of my best jam sessions just sitting in the sand watching the waves. Weather surfed out or waiting for the tide to change over; there is nothing I'd rather be doing while waiting to get back in the water.
Recently caught the surf film, Grey Whale Sessions which features Keith Malloy, Tyler Warren, Chris Christenson, and Garret "G. Love" Dutton. It's a great movie that chronicles the group's travels down to Mexicoon a short surf getaway. G. Love actually surfs himself and I was pretty impressed with how well he held his own with all those pros! The soundtrack features his music and throughout the film he can be seen playing his signature harmonica and an assortment of guitars. One guitar specifically caught the attention of my eyes and ears. It was a resonator guitar and although I couldn't make out the manufacturer, the look and sound was enough for me to start digging into where I could get one!
A resonator guitar or resophonic guitar is a hybrid acoustic guitar where the sound is produced by one or more metal cones or resonators. These guitars can be frequently heard in blues, bluegrass/country, and Hawaiian genres and their raspy signature sound has seen a reemergence and it has been increasing in popularity. Luckily, I was able to get in touch with our friends at US Music. Under the many brands they represent I was thrilled to have the chance to check out the newest line of resonators being produced by the world famous Washburn label. I was really stoked about reviewing the Washburn brand because I have owned a number of their acoustic guitars which I love and even consider family heirlooms at this point. They have always been known for their crisp and warm tone, quality components and craftsmanship, and ease of play. Resonator style guitars are a relatively new undertaking for Washburn but after seeing what they have done with this new line, you'd think they specialize in them!
For the purpose of this review they sent me an R45 RCE which is an acoustic/electric that can be played in either a traditional guitar style or just as easily on your lap. It is constructed from a handsome flame maple and finished with an inviting amber stained oil. The elegant body is complimented by a rosewood fingerboard, an ultra smooth round neck, 20 frets, and a Maple & Ebony Top Saddle. The guitar is also beautifully dressed in quality chrome components and hardware; hosting a single coil neck pickup, die cast tuners, volume/tone control knobs, and the most stand out feature, a chrome plated brass cover plate with a classic punched "Fan" pattern and higher strap or palm rest. The dress plate covers the heart of the beast, an aluminum Spider Bridge and a single resonator bowl or cone which produces that classic resonator sound. Finally, a perfectly placed F-Hole helps accentuate the guitar's unique sound and adds an esthetic that just screams cool!
Testing took place over a one month period and included lots of travel and plenty of hours logged playing at the beach. First off, I have to mention that everywhere I played the guitar people stopped and asked about it and commented on how beautiful it was. Many people hadn't even seen a resonator guitar before and were amazed with the technology and the amount amplification and sounds that it produced. The R45 is slightly heavier than an acoustic but it hosts a medium sized body that sits comfortably in many positions and the weight did not create any issues. It's joined at the 12th fret which helps with it's compact size while still leaving plenty of real estate to jam up and down the neck. Standard play brings a new life, sound, and feel to your favorite songs and plugging it in and amping up enhances the experience even more; allowing you to share the warm and raspy echo of the resonator in any situation. Although I enjoyed strumming some of my favorite chords, nothing sounds better than adding a little glass to that neck! Slide is definitely where it's at with the resonator. I am certainly no professional and playing slide properly is a harder task than most think, but if you put in the time and play that one riff right, man does it sound amazing!!! The last thing I wanted to mention was the overall durability. This guitar was handed around to countless people in the office, a number of professional musicians we're connected with, and it was exposed to some of the worst weather conditions we've had in a while (not to mention the sand from the beach) and it still looks and plays like new. Outside of adding some fresh strings and wiping it down, maintenance is minimal and it has been built to outlast most of us!
Overall I was just blown away with the Washburn R45 and it has brought back that stoke and excitement in my guitar playing. I feel the same exhilaration that I had as a grom when I played my first chord or caught my first wave! I get excited to play it and it has now become a permanent part of my quiver. Coming in at $499.00 I think you're getting an absolute steal! Considering the craftsmanship and versatility this instrument offers I would think it could easily be sold for double that! I would recommend the R45 to anyone looking for a truly unique instrument that you can take anywhere. From the beach to the stage it is built to perform and impress and it does just that. Lastly, I'd like to give Mr. Garret "G.Love" Dutton a personal shout out and thank him for the inspiration to try a resonator and I would urge him to get himself a Washburn Resonator as soon as he can…you won't be disappointed G.! Check out Washburn's entire line of exciting guitars at: http://www.washburn.com. As always, thank for reading and be sure to tell a friend.
*I'd also like to give Angela Brumm a special thanks for making this review happen!