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The Washburn J3 Guitar uses a rosewood bridge with a Washburn jazz tailpiece, and a maple body & top. Block inlays adorn the fully bound rosewood fretboard.

With a maximum width of 17" across the lower bout and an average depth of just over 3.5 inches, the J3 can not be described as either small or light, but it is nevertheless a very comfortable guitar to play. The subtly sculpted body is a joy to behold. The 18:1 Grover tuners in chrome ensure very easy, stable and accurate tuning. The J3 has two covered humbuckers, each with its own volume and tone controls. The maple neck has a C-shape profile that is a tad thicker than a lot of modern guitars, but is still both comfortable and in-keeping with this ES-175 style guitar. The heel starts just below the 12th fret which means that access beyond the 14th fret requires a bit of additional dexterity. Medium fat frets make fingering (and especially barres) easy and positive. The floating bridge is not permanently attached to the body, and (as is standard for this type of guitar) it relies upon string tension to keep it in place.

Straight from its box, the instrument I bought was perfectly in tune with an extremely low action that was free of all fret-buzz unless I really started hammering out chords. Because of its size, the J3 will NOT fit into a standard dreadnought hardcase, but it DOES come in an excellent quality padded gigbag complete with the Washburn Logo and gizmo pockets. Unamplified, the J3 naturally does not have the resonance or depth of a full-blown acoustic but it is nonetheless capable of a loud, clear sound. Amplified, and by using a range of bridge, neck and combined pickups, the J3 is capable of tones that range from Rockabilly to smooth jazz. By using the Wes Montgomery technique of playing with the fleshy part of the thumb, you can get pretty close to that stereotypical jazz tone.

All-in-all, the J3 is a superb guitar at a VERY reasonable price. As of May 2009 expect to pay between £250 and £275. In my opinion, the J3 is pretty well unbeatable for this style of guitar in this price bracket. Of course, if you have an urge to spend several hundred pounds more, that's your choice, but before you do, take the time to check out the J3.

The photos that I uploaded are of my own J3NA ('Natural') but apart from finish, the J3TS ('Tobacco Sunburst') is essentially the same guitar. Both versions are readily available.

(This review is an adapted version of one that I wrote for another site which sells this guitar)
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