Washburn has been producing acoustic guitars and other string instruments since 1883 but also managed to establish a strong name in electric guitars since the end of the 1970’s. The Wing-series were the first series of electric guitars marketed by Washburn. For production they contracted a number (at least 3) of renowned and experienced Japanese guitar manufacturers. Two of them are identified: Matsumoku (Aria Pro 2, Westone, etc.) and Yamaki (Daion). Yamaki was also involved in building acoustic guitars for Washburn in the same era. The Japanese made Wing-series were produced between 1978 and 1984.
During the period 1978-1982 the Wing-series models were the Raven, Hawk, Falcon, Eagle and the Scavenger (Raven style) and Vulture (Hawk style) bass models. The Raven and Scavenger (1978-1981) have a bolt-on neck and it's unknown who the manufacturer was. The same goes for an early (A-model, 1978-79) series of the neck-through Hawk, Falcon and Vulture with the jack-input on top of the guitar and an oval shaped electronics-cover on the back. In 1979 a production change gave the Hawk/Falcon/Vulture a different look (the B-model) and the Eagle was introduced as the new top model guitar of the Wing Series. The majority of B-model guitars and basses are probably manufactured by Yamaki.
In 1982 a major production change took place, the Raven and the basses dissappeared from the catalogs and the T-Bird made it’s appearance as the new low-end guitar of the range. The Hawk, Falcon and Eagle went from neck-through arch tops to set-neck flat-tops (the C-model). From that time on a model name or number was engraved in the (plastic) trussrod-cover. Also in this period some special models were introduced like the T-Bird Deluxe in 1982 and the BBR-model of the Hawk in 1984. A short “transition” period does exist, the last runs of ’81/'82 neck-through (B-model) Hawk/Falcon/Eagle all have contoured backsides, black aluminium electronics-covers and plastic trussrod-covers with the bird's name printed on to it in italic script. The C-model Wings were manufactured by Matsumoku.
After 1984 the production of the Wings ended altough several reissue-versions were introduced in the early to mid 1990’s. These mainly Korean made guitars have a different logo, slightly narrower "wings", most serial numbers are starting with "S" (from manufacturer Samick?) and are in general set-neck or neck-through. A lot of them are equipped with a Les Paul-like pick guard and also there are at least 3 different versions of bridges used. In 2008, Washburn celebrated it's 125th anniversary with a special reissue of the Eagle.
The Wing-series serial numbers: The A-models usually have 5 digits or 5 digits followed by a letter E. The B- and C- models usually have 6 digits. Most Ravens and Scavengers and some of the T-Birds have two letters followed by 6 digits, the first is either a C or G and the second is probably a production month indicator. Early Ravens and Scavengers have (or had) a 5-digit + E serial, printed on a sticker on the back of the headstock. In all cases the first two digits of the serial is the production year, the other digits are a production nr. During research a small number of oddities were spotted, like an '82 T-Bird with 7 digits instead of 6 and a B-model Falcon with only 5.
The specs and other information on this website are as accurate as possible but, like with all Japanese made guitars, in the catalogs was a small line printed that says "subject to change without notification". Since there were a number of model changes and different manufacturers involved, it’s possible you have a Wing that doesn’t exactly match the specs on this website. If so please contact us and send us some pics of your guitar.. we’re grateful and always looking for evidence to make the specs more accurate. At this point in particular the basses and the C-model BBR-series need further improvement.
Please note: the names "A-model", "B-model" and "C-model" are not official manufacturer names, this system is only used here on this website to create a clear difference in between the 3 main incarnations of the Japanese made Wing Series guitars over a period of time.
update: october 18, 2011.