Washburn is a brand started by George Washburn Lyon and Patrick Healy. Formed in Chicago, Illinois, Washburn has been building stringed instruments since 1883. Their first electrics were made in 1976, in Japan. By as early as 1985, Samick began producing their entry level models, and by 1988, mid-level models as well. Production by Samick ended in the late 1990s.