Sunday, February 28, 2010

Washburn #3 - 'EC29 Challenger' red

EC29s simply don't come up very often so when this one appeared on eBay I thought hard about picking it up. Then I thought about it the second time. Then the third. Finally when I think it had been on four times I bought it.

The reason for my reticence was that somebody had taken a chisel to it. The pickup cavity has been enlarged and the bridge pickup moved forward. There are also a few random holes in the top. It's been suggested it once had a Roland Hex Midi pickup fitted.

When I got it I found the pickup was barely supported. There were a couple of pieces of hacked up pencil roughly glued into the corners of the hole and the surround was kind of flapping around.

So I carefully tidied up the hole, cut a block of wood to fit and glued it in place. This isn't the tidiest of jobs but at least it's now sound and allowed me to put the pickup back in the original position.

It came with a Gibson bridge humbucker and unidentified single coil, the original active electronics having been long lost. The whole thing was very buzzy and rubbish so I immediately tidied it up and used it for a bit.

I was most impressed with the Gibson pickup it had a great hot-classic tone. After playing it a while I was still annoyed by the slightly iffy selector switch and took it apart to fix this. Unfortunately in doing so I killed the pickup, the tape protecting it was broken and I guess I damaged the windings manhandling it.

A little messing around trying to resurrect the pickup went nowhere so I ripped it all out and started again. This time I stuck in the Seymour Duncan JBJ and single coil that came in my KC90. I also did a 'progressive coil tap' circuit and it's now a nice versatile guitar.

I recently got an original Floyd Rose quite cheaply, which is nicer than the Washburn 600S tremolo it came with so I've swapped it in. I need to go back and sort the cosmetics out, I'm thinking of making up a scratchplate to cover the damage.


Christophe said...

I own a few EC29s and an EC36, they are underrated guitars IMO. Playing higher up the fretboard is a pure pleasure. Also, the tremolo is much better than some people assume. A luthier told me it's a Gotoh. They also make the Edge family of trems, and it doesn't get much better than that.

It's too bad some idiot hacked it up. Did you consider installing a hex pickup as well?

The guitar is repainted, but the logo looks genuine, what's up with that?

Nick Reynolds said...

I'm pretty sure it's not been repainted. I'm not really into complicated stuff, I wouldn't use a hex pickup.

Christophe said...

Thx for the reply.

I forgot to ask, did you have to drill or rout to install the FR?

Nick Reynolds said...

No, the original tremolo was a Washburn 600-S tremolo which is badged up Takeuchi TRS-101, a pretty standard licensed Floy Rose tremolo. So this went straight on.

If you've got the 600-T tremolo on yours, like I have on my other one, then the stud spacing looks wrong by about 1mm.

I've got an old RR2-V with a 600-T and I'm going to see if there's enough tolerance in a standard licensed Floyd to do the swap.

Christophe said...

I'm not sure if I have 600-S or 600-T trems, how can you tell? And please keep us posted on installing the licensed FR.

Interesting that its original colour was red. I've never heard of those, I was only aware of the red-, multicolour- and b/w crackle, blue with squiggles, white with squiggles, and sunburst.

I'm one of the lucky few to own a sunburst, which I bought NOS :)

Nick Reynolds said...

Normally the trem model is stamped on it.

The 600-S is a conventional licensed Floyd.

The 600-T is the one where you leave the string ends on. The string passes through a tube and there's a hinged flap that clamps down on it.

Next time I'm working on one of these guitars I'll have proper measure of the differences.

Christophe said...

In that case I have an S model. So I could mod it with a FR, thanks for the info!

I've never seen the clamp version IRL, they seem kind of rare. Talking about rare, did you know some EC29s came with a monkey grip? The only one I've ever seen was on evilb*y, many years ago. Ibanez probably wasn't too hapy about that model.

Christophe said...

This might interest you: some time ago I bought a (2nd hand) EC36 that was missing a clamp from its locking nut. I was talking to a luthier a few eeks ago, he had a look and suggested Yamaha hardware might fit.

It turns out he was right. The Yamaha clamp is slightly larger than the original Washburn one, but it fits in the nut and works just fine.