Washburn O12SE Review & Prices

Washburn O12SE Review
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  • From Washburn's 2018 Woodline series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid Mahogany top
  • Mahogany back
  • Mahogany sides
  • Satin Mahogany with 2 way Trussrod neck
  • Ovangkol fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fishman Presys II 301T w/tuner (Preamp/Active)
  • Ovangkol bridge
  • Acoustic Washburn Woodline Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Chrome Die-Cast tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 77
Sound 84
Build quality 72
Value for money 83
Overall Score 78
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Washburn O12SE
  • Expensive Wood
  • NuBone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Electronics
  • NuBone Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $440, which means that the Washburn O12SE costs around 27% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Washburn O12SE meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Washburn O12SE
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Washburn O12SE's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Washburn O12SE's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Washburn O12SE Scale Length Comparison
Washburn O12SE's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Washburn O12SE Neck Profile
Washburn O12SE's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Washburn O12SE has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Washburn O12SE Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Washburn O12SE's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Washburn O12SE has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

Washburn O12SE
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.68'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.3'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.772'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius
25.3'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
16'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
16'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Washburn O12SE Nut Width
Washburn O12SE Nut Width

The Washburn O12SE has a nut width of 42.7mm (1.68''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Washburn O12SE Fret Size Comparison
Washburn O12SE's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Washburn O12SE's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Top, Back, Sides, Neck
Ovangkol wood pattern used for guitar building
Ovangkol Fretboard

Mahogany Top, Back, Sides and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Ovangkol Fretboard: It's a beautiful wood that's popular for acoustic guitars. Its tone sits somewhere between rosewood and mahogany, meaning it has a punchy low-end and nice mid-range.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fishman. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Sound Score

Sustain 80
Versatility 85
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 84

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Washburn O12SE is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Ovangkol: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Washburn O12SE has a NuBone nut. It's a synthetic nut from the same creators of Ivory TUSQ. It's a hard and self-lubricating material that helps a lot with tuning stability. It produces a brighter tone similar to TUSQ, but it's not as hard.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 71
Features 85
Quality Control 60
Build Quality 72

All Specs

Washburn O12SE
General
Brand: Washburn
Year: 2018
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Woodline
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid Mahogany
Bridge: Ovangkol
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast
Fretboard: Ovangkol
Neck Material: Satin Mahogany with 2 way Trussrod
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Acoustic Washburn Woodline
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: NuBone
Nut Width: 42.7mm (1.68'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Fishman Presys II 301T w/tuner (Preamp / Active)

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