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Washburn Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer. It was established in 1883 in Chicago, Illinois. Washburn is a division of US Music Corp..


Washburn Banjorine (1892).

Parlor guitar (1894) and “New Model” (1896)

right: archtop guitar model 5250 (1928).
Washburn guitars began making hand-crafted instruments in 1883 in Chicago, IL, as a division of stringed instrument maker Lyon & Healy. Lyon & Healy had made pianos and harps since 1864, with Washburn (guitars, mandolins, banjos, and zithers) becoming their premier line. The name “Washburn” originates from the middle name of George Washburn Lyon, one of the founders of Lyon & Healy.

In 1912 Washburn introduced the Lakeside Jumbo guitar which is considered the first dreadnought sized guitar. It bridged the gap between smaller bodied parlor guitars of the late 19th and early 20th century and modern day dreadnought and jumbo acoustic guitars. Washburn currently offers a reissue of that model as the LSJ749.

In the ‘80s, Washburn introduced the Festival Series of Acoustic/Electric guitars. They were thinner than standard acoustic guitars, thereby reducing the susceptibility to feedback that previous acoustic/electric designs were notorious for. The addition of patented sound slots further reduced the possibility of feedback and the guitars quickly became the go-to stage acoustic for artists such as Jimmy Page, George Harrison and Bob Dylan. In the early ‘90s when MTV introduced their Unplugged series, hardly a show went by without seeing a Festival Series guitar. The design also lent itself well to acoustic basses and it wasn’t long before nearly every bassist of the era had to have one.

Washburn makes electric guitars, acoustic guitars, electric basses, acoustic basses, banjos, mandolins, travel guitars, and amplifiers. The company also makes accessories including guitar cases, clothing, and other parts like tuners, pick ups, and straps. Washburn is mostly known for its electric guitars and acoustic guitars