February 26th, 2009 by Andres Gallo
I have never been a fan of the feel of semi-hollows. They usually have really thick necks with poor upper fret access, making the experience reminiscent of that which one would go through, playing with a baseball bat for a neck. I am obviously exaggerating, but they tend to be constructed much different to the solid-bodies which I am used to. The Washburn HB30, however, is one exception. This review is based on one of the older HB30 models, and the neck is incredibly smooth, and thin. The cutaway is also very ergonomic allowing for very comfortable upper fret access, and the entire guitarâ€™s appearance is well designed, but the finish could be more perfect. I see some glue in the review unit which is annoying to look at.
The appearance is very similar to that of the Gibson ES335, and has some extremely versatile wiring with one tone knob and volume knob for each pickup, allowing for all sorts of tone blending.
The overall design; physical, and electrical is top notch, with the exception of the finish which as mentioned shows some flaws.
One area where this instrument shines is the sound. It is not the most pristine sounding instrument, however it closely replicates that smokey thick yet clear smooth sound of the much more expensive Gibson. This tone is a real beauty for blues jazz, and pretty much anything played clean and overdriven. Something that is impressive however, is while the sound could be cleaner, this guitar sustains much more than even the ES335, which is after all what it is modeled after. With that said, the wood work, and wood choice is likely top quality and a pickup upgrade could make it something to behold. After all, the way notes resonate on this guitar, cannot be compared to any solid body. Itâ€™s beautiful.
For a semi-hollow-body guitar and in comparison to guitars in general, this guitar is very fast. It has the fastest neck I have encountered on any semi-hollow body, and the cutaway is extended enough for comfortable upper fret access. The only problem I have with itâ€™s feel, is that it is insanely heavy, to the point where I donâ€™t see how it could really be hollow. The neck alone makes this instrument worth it, and as mentioned before, combined with a pickup upgrade itâ€™s pretty much perfect.
Washburn is a reliable company, however, the wiring in this model seems pretty loose, but then again it is over a decade old. With that said, I donâ€™t know how reliable the newer model might be.
Washburnâ€™s customer support is very reliable. They respond to emails quickly, however, I encountered problems in which the customer service reps, did not know the physical specs of the bridge, which I plan to change to a tone pros bridge.