Washburn celebrates 125 years

The folks at Washburn Guitars are celebrating 2007 as their 125th year making and marketing musical instruments.

The company was founded in 1887 by George Washburn Lyon, and located in a small factory in Chicago, IL. An early focus of Washburn Guitars was the burgeoning delta blues music scene that had developed in Chicago at the time. That blues scene was centered around Chicago’s Maxwell Street, which was only a short distance from the first Washburn factory, and had a major influence on the early development of the brand.

They made steel string guitars, typically smaller body sizes by today’s standards, as well as banjos and mandolins.

The brand went inactive for a period, and was resurrected in 1975 by Fretted Industries, another Chicago company, which has since morphed into US Music Corp.

Electric guitars and basses, plus amplification and sound reinforcement are the major focus at Washburn these days, and they have been very successful in that market at a variety of price points. They still have a hand in acoustic guitars, however, and both student and professional banjos and mandolins.

Congratulations to Washburn for reaching this milestone.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.