Washburn MG43 Restore

The Washburn had been in it's case since 1999 and the area it was stored in didn't protect it from the head or cold of the seasons.

Washburn MG43 Restore

Recently my father was cleaning up his workshop and came across a bunch of old guitars and amps that I had as a teen. The one thing I was most excited about was this Washburn MG43 guitar.

I'd gotten this guitar new in 1992 for my birthday. It's a superstrat style guitar but the big difference than most is that it's got 3 single coil pickups. Even with the lower output of the pickups I had no issue playing Pantera and Metallica songs on it,

When I got the guitar back I wasn't sure what to expect. The Washburn had been in it's case since 1999 and the area it was stored in didn't protect it from the head or cold of the seasons. Much to my surprise, and excitement, after looking the guiatr over I couldn't find any major issues visually.

First thing that I did was pull the strings off and wipe down the guitar and start trying to get the stickers off of the body. The stickers had other plans though. It turns out that after 20 or so years of being on the guitar they weren't going to give up their grip quite so easily. This part will have to wait until later.

I turned my attention to pulling the pickguard off in order to access what the electronics looked like.

As you can see from the photos above, while everything under the pickguard was surprisingly dusty it was in over all good shape. I fully expected everything to be covered in surface rust but luckily corrosion was at a minimum. As I was getting the pickguard off and moving it around I found a feature that I never knew the guitar had. I never realized the tone knob was a push pull pot. I'm really interested to see what things sound like with the pot pulled.

I didn't have any electronic cleaner on hand so I settle for some MAF cleaner out of my garage. I believe it's essentially the same thing and nothing melted so I going to call it good. After cleaning things up it looked a lot better.

After getting the electronics cleaned up and the pickguard back onto the body I turned my attention to the neck. The maple neck feels great but it's fairly grimy and the jumbo frets are corroded.

I got started wiping the grime off of the maple fretboard. The more work I do on the guitar, the more age I see in it. Not in a bad way either. The pickguard has become more of an off-white color and the neck has darkened into a rich color. After getting the maple cleaned up I taped off the fretboard with blue painters tape and then polished the frets with some fine steel whool. I think the results are great visually and I'm positive it will help with playiblity once strung up, especially bends.

After oiling up the Floyd Rose with some 3-in-1 oil and stringing it up I was finally able to get a good look at the the guitar renewed once more. I also went ahead and took the time to completely remove the stickers from the body.

Finally, the time came to plug the guitar in. I proceeded to plug the guitar in and noticed the cable jack was a little loose, it was still tight enough to hold the guitar cable in though so I proceeded to turn my amp on and turn the volume up. It sounded wonderful, for about 20 seconds that is. The sound just cut out completely, no crackles or static sound, it just went silent. After moving the guitar cable around a little bit the sound came back but I found that sound would only come out of the guitar if I was holding the cable into the jack. I toned down my dissappointment and then pulled the input jack from the guitar. Once I got the jack out, it felt like I might be able to bend the contact slightly to put some pressure on the cable jack but as soon as I tried, the contact broke off in my hands.

I ordered a new jack and after a short wait for it to reach my mailbox I was able to brush up on my soldering skills and get it into the guitar. I was able to get a picture of the new jack but didn't get a picture of it after soldering it in because, in all honesty, I thought for sure my soldering skills wouldn't hold up on the first attempt. Luckily I was wrong.

As soon as I could get the jack into the guitar I was able to plug it in and record a solo for a song I'd been working on.

Washburn Test Run

The first thing I've noticed about the sound of this guitar after being away from it so long is that it most definately sounds like a Strat. Not just any Strat though, the pickups seem to be slightly overwound with a little extra gain. This might explain why I didn't have much trouble playing metal through it when I was younger, albeit with a boost pedal in front of a pushed high gain amp. My little surprise discovery of a push pull tone pot opened a whole new world in the guitar tone. When pulled while the pickup selector switch is in the bridge position it activates the neck pickup as an addition to the bridge pickup. While I admitadly couldn't hear much of a difference with a prestine clean tone, when some gain is added, even the slightest amount it give so much body to the sound of the guitar. The solo I recorded above is using a slightly distorted 5150 with the tone knob pulled. The overall feel of the guitar is as if an Ibanez and Jackson where melded together. I'm very glad to once again have this guitar in my collection.