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cormac's picture
indiana, usa dammit
Mar 2003
1 year ago

Hi all ---

i've had my eye out for a walden off and on for some years to replace my very old non-american (1980) epiphone and picked up a walden d550ce just today ... couple of questions

first off, it has a satin finish ... how or what do i use to clean it? i assume that basic guitar polish is not the thing ...

last owner didn't know the year ...  anyone know how to tell the year? i have a serial number but that's all (company has gone out of business which was a surprise to me when i started looking around after finding this one at such a good price ... i found out about waldens from an old guitarworld review that was a rave) ...

anyone know where i can find an owner's manual for this model? can't seem to come across one on google and while they are usually unnecessary, i still like to have one

it has a fishman classic 4 eq which so far i like ... any opinions on this? how you like it setup? etc

ever since getting my les paul 1960 classic re-issue with the slim-taper neck i've fallen in love with thinner/narrower/less-depth necks and the walden has quite a narrow one esp for an acoustic much thinner than my old epi for sure 

any other thoughts, etc from other walden owners or just opinions on waldens?

thanks as always :)


take care,

"Don't knock on my door if you don't know my rottweiler's name" - Warren Zevon

1974 & 2007 (USA) Fender Stratocaster, 2000 Gibson Les Paul Classic (1960 reissue) & 2001 Epiphone S G-310 > Dunlop Cry Baby Wah (orig) > MXR M-102 DynaComp > FOXX Tone Machine > Provalve by Lovepedal > Holy Grail Plus (Electro-Harmonix) > Boss Bues Driver 2 > MXR Blue Box > Peavey Classic VTX Series combo tube amp (65-watts)

1980 Gibson Epiphone PR-650N (6-String Acoustic) > Dean Markley MagPro Pickup

SirGawain's picture
Cape Town, RSA
Dec 2016
6 months ago

Hey, Cormac. I know your post is eight months old, but it's new to me ;) I wondered if you'd found any answers to your questions, and thought I'd help where I can. I'm the delighted owner of a G570CE (similar to yours, with a red cedar soundboard). Although disappointed that the company has closed down, I'm thrilled to have acquired one of their magnificent instruments while I could.

The satin finish is nitrocellulose, which reacts badly to many solvents, and it hates vinyl, so inspect your straps and guitar stand pads carefully. If you need anything stronger than a damp cloth to remove heavy grime (your guitar should never be allowed to get that dirty), "cleaning benzine" does not damage the finish (it's the stuff that dry cleaners use to remove stains; a mixture of hydrocarbons like hexane & pentane).

A protective polish, preferably containing carnauba wax, is a good idea, but don't attempt to buff it to a shine, or the satin finish will just look blotchy. As it is, the nitrocellulose will soon show signs of wear under your arm, and where it rests on your leg, resulting in a vintage look. Some fine steel wool may be employed to restore these patches, but work lightly!

Although the pickguard is made from relatively safe PVC faux tortoise shell, it is stuck down with a solvent-based adhesive that eats into the nitrocellulose finish. This caused my glossy pickguard to appear buckled and dented after a few years. I removed and replaced it with another PVC pickguard using water-based acrylic adhesive. Note that, while PVC is a vinyl derivative, it does not contain the same damaging plasticizers.

Dave Word, representing Walden Guitars, confirmed that the first 2 digits of the serial number indicate the year of manufacture, with the following numbers indicating the number of that particular model built in that year.

The Fishman Classic 4 was popular on acoustics (both nylon & steel string), and I've found them on everything from Cort to Fender products. Their main failing, is the lack of a tuner function. The Sonicore pickup, mounted under the Fossalte saddle, is a flexible coaxial cable with a piezo tape layer. Some folk believe that a solid piezo pickup allows better energy transfer to the soundboard, than copper-clad cable, but the flexibility of a soft cable is more forgiving of irregularities in the saddle. That said, if your saddle is not able to slide freely into the bridge slot, it will bind and cause some strings to play quietly when amplified. My preferred setting for the tone control is bass 3/4, middle 1/2, treble 3/4, and brilliance (just very high treble) 3/4.

Regarding your neck observations, I too enjoy the extremely thin neck of the Walden. In fact, my Epiphone Les Paul Custom feels like a log, by comparison (probably quite appropriate, considering Les' original invention). However, I found the nut string spacing restrictive. I have cut a new bone nut with equal string centres, rather than the modern equal spacing, or "proportional spacing", and find it far superior! I am now able to play open chords easily without strings buzzing against my fingernails.

I think I've covered all of your topics. Happy playing!