Dating vintage washburn guitars

An unbroken lineage is often alluded to by Washburn International, in press releases and advertising materials, and on the company website: There is no direct connection between the original Washburn brand and the modern Washburn International.In the early 1960s, retail store The Chicago Guitar Gallery hired Rudolf "Rudy" Schlacher, a young German violin builder, as a repair technician.A stateside manufacturing operation was opened in 1991 for higher-end, short-run, and one-off instruments, as well as development and prototyping.That year, a Chicago Tribune article confidently places Washburn "among the top three guitar manufacturers in the world," behind only Fender and Gibson.Regal was chosen to reopen the Washburn factory (producing Regal instruments as well).Though the Washburn brand was preserved, it never regained its preeminence, and by the early 1940s had declined to nothing.Tom Beckmen and his wife Judy Fink Beckmen in 1972 left careers as music salesman and teacher (respectively) to launch a wholesale music business in Los Angeles, Beckmen Musical Instruments.It was Beckmen Music that resurrected the Washburn name, and beginning in 1974 applied it to a series of quality imported acoustic guitars, made in Japan by Terada, as well as a selection of mandolins and banjos.

Lyon & Healy began in 1864 as a partnership of businessmen George W. Healy, acting as the Chicago outlet for Boston sheet music publisher Oliver Ditson and Company.Under Rudy Schlacher, most Washburn models were ordered in runs of 200 units, rather than ongoing production; if sales went well, a further run might be ordered.This application of just-in-time manufacturing (or lean manufacturing) kept the company from needing to warehouse and liquidate overproduction, improving profitability.By 1991, production of Washburn instruments had shifted almost entirely to Korea, built by Samick.When Samick opened their Cileungsi, Indonesia, facility in 1992, this factory also began to produce Washburn-branded instruments, generally identifiable by an "SI-" serial number prefix.

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