Review: Washburn Warren Haynes Signature WSD5240 Solo Deluxe Guitar

The following content is related to the November 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store. In addition to being famous for his remarkable guitar work with the Allman Brothers, the Dead and Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes is known for his impeccable taste in guitars. When he teamed up with Washburn to produce a signature acoustic, his choice was Washburn’s accurate reproduction of its 1937 Solo Deluxe model, one of the finest Washburn acoustics ever made and a guitar that Washburn has reissued to celebrate its 130th Anniversary. The result of their union is the Warren Haynes Signature Solo Deluxe acoustic, which is available in two versions: the U.S. Custom Shop handmade WSD5249 and the regular production model WSD5240 that I received for review.

The WSD5240 retains the unique body shape of the original Solo Deluxe, which combines the wide upper bout of a dreadnought with the curvaceous shape and 15 3/4–inch lower-bout width of a Grand Auditorium model. The large body dimensions together with the classic combination of a solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides results in excellent volume projection and warm, balanced tone. The WSD5240 has a 25 1/2–inch-scale mahogany neck with 20 frets and an ebony fretboard with dot inlays. Other high-quality attributes include a carved solid ebony “smile” bridge, a rosewood-capped headstock with period-correct late-Thirties Washburn logo inlays, and open-gear gold-plated Grover Butterbean tuners. The guitar’s vintage-inspired aesthetics include the herringbone rosette, the tortoise pickguard, and ivoroid neck and body binding. Both the WSD5240 and the WSD5249 come with a case
and limited lifetime warranty.

The rarity of the original 1937 Solo Deluxe has made that guitar a “hidden gem” among true acoustic aficionados, and all it takes is one strum of the Washburn Solo Deluxe to realize why. Although the WSD5240’s projection is similar to a dreadnought, the bass is less boomy and more focused while the midrange is more prominent, giving the guitar a sweet, expressive voice that’s also assertive. The neck is exceptionally comfortable, facilitating fast chord changes and blazing single-note lines.

List Price $1,069,90
Manufacturer Washburn Guitars,

The Bottom Line
The Washburn WSD5240 Solo Deluxe revives one of the best-kept secrets of the acoustic guitar world, delivering bold, assertive tone and gorgeous vintage aesthetics.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.