New here. Was referred to the site by spyke.
I have had this Washburn SB-40 EQ bass for about 8 years now. Can't seem to find much info on it at all.
Hoping you guys could help a dude out. 🙂
Here are some pics:
Early '80s. Top of the Washburn "Force" series. Sold in the US for $799 in '84 - quite a lot of money then. Serial should give you the date, but from what I see the 1980 model had a through neck and didn't have the switch or the "EQ" designation and by '85 it was a bolt on, but the headstock had changed, so it's somewhere in between. The switch is apparently a minimal phase/overdrive. Some of the guys that know Washburn basses seem to regard it as the "Holy Grail" of Washburn basses - quite rare apparently. Unfortunately Washburn discarded all records from before 1988 or so, so very little info exists.
By looking at it I can tell it was made in the Matsumoto factory in Japan - same as Ibanez, Aria, Westone and dozens of other Japanese guitars at the time (which is why they all look so similar and why they're so good). Fingerboard is rosewood, but the rest is anyone's guess. My guess would be a maple neck (you don't have a pic of the rear or maybe a pic of the wood under a ding do you?) and ash body (complete guess).
Thanks for the reply Alan.
The serial number is 821264, so definately made in '82.
While searching for some info i came across a a website where the same bass was being sold for about 1000 dollars. E-mailed the webmaster and received this reply:
Antony, I was very pleased to see the pics of your Washburn bass. Up
until then I was not sure if mine was a fluke, an amalgamation of
other basses' parts or what. Your bass is completely IDENTICAL to the
bass I have. The only difference is mine is a white color with black
pickups. But everything down to the last item, even the brass nut and
truss rod cover with model no. is absolutely feature for feature
EXACTLY what I have on mine, even the three black with white numbers
see thru control knobs, 3 way pickup switch and mini-brilliance
switch, etc., etc. So, we know this SB-40EQ is a true production
model, both of ours from Japan, 1982, neck through construction. I
have heard of them only about five times on the web and the word is
they are extremely rare, one guy went so far as to say, try finding
one of those! on Harmony Central. Apparently, one guy has two on the
bass forum (but his pics look like the Force 40, not ours) and another
guy has one on Harmony Central in a review about another instrument,
so we know perhaps five are in existence, ha.
I would recommend send your pics and serial no. to Washburn via email
and see what they tell you. I am about to do the same, once we take
some pics. Will post them on the site, so stay in touch and let me
know if Washburn has anything cool to say. Thanks again!
Quite happy that the guitar isn't the cheapy i thought it was.
Regarding your questions: The rear of the neck is completely black and unfortunately there are no dings or scratches that would give me an idea as to what wood is underneath.
On a side note, spoke to a guy at a local music shop about 30 mins ago. Showed him the guitar. Ofcourse he didn't have anything to add regarding info, but in his oppinion reckoned washburns aren't worth much... ???
On a side note, spoke to a guy at a local music shop about 30 mins ago. Showed him the guitar. Ofcourse he didn't have anything to add regarding info, but in his oppinion reckoned washburns aren't worth much...
Did he actually play it? Sadly that's the prevailing opinion of Washburn, thanks to the fact that they have been making utter crap for the last 20 years. It has affected resale price of even the better old ones. But the early Washburns were great guitars - particularly the Matsumoto made instruments.
Matsumoto were largely responsible for the "Golden Age" of Japanese guitars. I used to collect the Matsumoto made Aria through necks and they are great players.
I was searching for info about my Force 40 bass and saw this forum.
After seeing your bass, I had to put my pics here.
I hope you're still hooked into this forum and get to see my pics.
😀 Alan is still around... and that is a killer bass you've got there. The bridge pup seems set pretty far back, how's the sound?
It's got a thick neck and it's quite heavy, but it sounds great.
The phase switch that everyone talks about on these models is what makes this bass sound so punchy.
I like the way it plays, but I have an Ibanez AxStar AXB-1000 that feels much better in my hands.
I'm willing to sell this Force 40, but I'm not gonna sell it for less than $500. A price that no one has come close to offering. I have a Washburn case for it, but not the original case. (long gone)
A little late but are you still reading this?
I'm interested in the Force 40....
Being a historian of sorts in the difficult subject of SB-40's models (and I own 2) I need to remind all that the SB-40 was made in 1981 (not in 1980 as I previously had believed),with the SB-40EQ in 1982 and that was it. There is no differences between the 40 and the 40EQ other than the 40 had brushed aluminum cavity plates and the 40EQ did not. If anyone can add or correct my research on that so far, I would really appreciate it as I hope to do a book about the lost years 1978-1987 of Washburn, with most focus on the classic years '78-'84. BTW, the electrical package became the dominant package and was adopted on the B-40/B-40EQW and Force 40/Force 40EQW.
As they are VERY hard to find-------if anyone has pictures and Serial numbers AND ESPECIALLY ANY ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS--PLEASE PLEASE POST THE PICTURES. Lots of mysteries still abound on these!!!! I am also MEKer at TB and my personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't want to hijack this old post, but I just picked up an '83 Force 40, very close to guitarcomet's serial #, but red.
It's had a rough life, and the electronics are flaky, but it feels really nice.
I'm wondering if I could get recommendations on how to get the electronics as close to original as possible.
EMG pickups? Pretty straightforward then.
Even if it has an active tone circuit, it's probably still just the pots, switch and socket, etc. Replace any offending parts, clean any board connectors with switch cleaner and chances are good that it'll be right as rain.
Yeah, EMG's. I found (supposedly) a schematic of the original layout, which includes an unknown circuit board with terminal strip. That's not there now. I'll definitely clean up the pots and switches. But based on what I hear, I think there is better sound that should be coming out of her.
Thinking since I'll have to refinish it, maybe I'll do something unique to the color as well.
Could also be that you just don't like EMGs. They are rather flat for my tastes - a bit hi-fi and lacking in a character of their own. To be fair, this is also exactly what a lot of bass players love about them, and paired with a good active EQ they can get a great range of tones, covering a lot of stylistic ground. You could always pick up a decent preamp from Bartolini or EMG if that's the way you want to go.
Another thing to note is that a through-neck bass will have a very tight low end and lots of punch/attack, but lack a little in the "size" of the low end - it'll never fill up the lows the way a P-Bass will. If you want to embiggen the low end, you'll either have to go active EQ or change the pickups.
I also like through-necks, and my bass is maple bodied, so I went with passive humbuckers and wiring and tend to 15" drivers and valves somewhere in the chain. Think old school Rickenbacker tones...
Alan Ratcliffe wrote:
Thanks Alan! 😀
Once I get some time, I'll let you know how it goes.