The most painless entry point into the Washburn acoustic range is marked by the D9 all-laminated dread . Review by Jerry Uwins
Washburn‘s long-running D10model, claims the company, is the world’s best-selling acoustic. That’s a mighty boast and one that’s statistically hard to verify, but there’s no doubting that this budget dreadnought – which was upgraded to a solid top some years ago – has sold by the veritable shedload since its launch in 1990.
Given the modest price tag, you might expect the D9 to be a plain, drab affair. In fact it’s encouragingly well-equipped. The spruce top carries multi-ply purfling and a quite intricate marquetry rosette design, while up at the sharp end on the rosewood-overlaid peghead sits a set of diecast tuners with classy-looking ebonite buttons.
The rosewood fingerboard is bound in white to match the body binding, and the whole instrument has been treated to well-buffed gloss lacquer (similarly-priced rivals can often have matt finishes).
The mahogany back, sides and neck are stained to an attractive red-brown under the lacquer, and there are no cosmetic niggles anywhere to complain about for the dosh. Everything’s commendably tidy.
The neck – predictably constructed with scarfed headstock and separate heel portion – is a very obliging player. With a medium-width span, the ‘C’ profile has enough meat under higher positions to approach a traditional grip, but it isn’t offputtingly bulky.
A regulation 55mm string spacing at the bridge takes care of those fingerstyle moments, and the fretboard’s well-dressed, near-medium-oval fretting offers the hint of an electric feel that will go down well with players regularly swopping from one to the other.
Our sample’s excellent action set-up enhances the sense of slickness, also helped by the fingerboard’s moderate camber.
Expectations of cheap all-laminate acoustics aren’t high, but the D9 gives a respectable account of itself. Volume and projection aren’t noticeably lacking, and although the highs can sound a little raw and the lows aren’t especially rich, the overall balance is actually quite pleasing and the guitar sustains pretty well.
It’s not a tonally complex or hugely dynamic sound, but it does the job – and that’s encouragement enough at this price.
This Washburns takes over the D10S's entry-level baton and hare away with it. It offers impressive value, as well-made, easy-playing beginner or second instruments, it looks hard to beat in the budget stakes.