Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 43

Washburn's 1984 ads for the Wing,
Stage, Force, and Tour series. No
WonderBars! The '82 Daion Power
(right) was also made by Yamaki.

also when B.C. Rich and Dean guitars
gained widespread acceptance.
Clearly inspired by the Gibson
Explorer, two Stages were offered in
1980 - the A-20 and A-10. The former
had an ash body with a bound f lamemaple top, neck-through, and bound
ebony fingerboard with brass nut and
brass circle inlays. Borrowed from
the Wings and Powers were open-coil
Power Sustain humbuckers
with push/pull coil taps,
and the Harmonic Lock
bridge with brass saddles.
An A-20V was also available with a "traditional
fulcrum" vibrato. The A-10
had an ash body with set neck,
unbound rosewood fretboard
with pearl dots, and no
brass. Otherwise, it was
the same and offered
in opaque black and
white finishes. There
was also a B-20-II
bass.
By '82, the vibrato had changed to
a heav y-dut y st ud-

mount offered on the A-10V, and
joining the line was the A-5/A-5V with
bolt-on neck, maple fingerboard, and
controls mounted on a small metal
plate. The color palette also expanded.
By '83, the A-15/A-15V was added
with bolt-on neck, unbound rosewood fingerboard, large black pickguard with three single-coils, and
Strat-style vibrato. The A-5 was given
two single-coil pickups. In '84, the
BBR Series was added - versions of
the A-20 and A-5 in black with black
hardware and red binding.
In '85, Washburn introduced the
German-made Wonderbar locking
vibrato, a remarkable top-mounted
unit that operated with a
torsion spring. These were
available only through '86
(after which legal rulings
gave Floyd Rose licensing to virtually all locking
vibratos). The Stage line
shrank to the A-20V, A10V, and A-5V, all with
a Wonderbar and covered pickups. By '86,
interest in "metal
guitars" began to
wane, and the Stages
were history.
Our feature guitar has a truss cover

September 2018

43

VINTAGE GUITAR

engraved "A-20V," but its set neck and
unbound fingerboard (with pearl dots)
make it an A-10V. Also, its serial number
is 000136, indicating 1980... however, the
Wonderbar (introduced in '85) appears
to be original. This discrepancy has been
seen on other examples.
While many Stage enthusiasts attribute
them to Matsumoku, most clues point to
Yamaki, even putting aside the credible
claim of Hirotsuga Teradaira's involvement. And of course the similarities have
been noted between Daion and Washburn
design, pickups, inlays, and hardware.
While both made set-neck guitars, Matsumoku's tend to have more-rounded heels
similar to the '68 Les Paul Custom reissue
and late-'50s Les Pauls. Yamaki's tend to
have squarish profiles similar to late-'70s
Gibsons. Finally, this guitar just doesn't
feel like a Matsumoku guitar.
So, how to resolve the 1980 serial number and '85 Wonderbar?
Yamaki and Daion entered bankruptcy
in '84 and stopped making and exporting
guitars. All Washburns were shipped to
Chicago, where they were set up and tested,
so the most reasonable explanation is that
when Daion stopped supplying guitars,
Washburn had a stash. They purchased
Wonderbars from the German supplier,
installed them on the leftovers, and here
they are! Not all mysteries solved, but the
answer is definitely Yamaki.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 4
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
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