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Brass King Top Notch Washboard #801, near mint
Large Family-Size Brass Herringbone Washboard.
Large Family-Size Brass Washboard.

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Our Price: $99.99 each

Here's what you get: One near mint quality vintage washboard

Quantity in Stock:(Out of Stock)
Product Code: 100-611-801-N

Description Technical Specs
Vintage Near Mint Quality Brass King Top Notch #801 Washboard
Textured brass herringbone "corn row" rubbing surface
Popular full-size brass washboard. Manufactured by the same company that made the legendary Zinc King #703.

Genuine Vintage Top Notch #801 made by the National Washboard Company
Like many family-size washboards manufactured by the National Washboard Co., the Brass King Top Notch #801 is a work horse musical instrument that boasts sturdy construction and a durable roomy rub surface.

Match Your Favorite Version
Top Notch 701 soap drains The taller (24") Brass King Top Notch #801 has a notched soap drain. The shorter (23") model has either a notched or trough style soap drain. If you have a preference, just let us know during checkout (in the Order Comments text box, step #4) and we will try to accommodate you. Because the supply is so limited, however, we cannot always fulfill your request.

The Great Sound of Brass
Top Notch 701 metal profile Like its zinc and silver brothers in the Top Notch family, the Brass King #801 washboard sports a metal rubbing surface with "corn row" furrows and distinctive herringbone pattern corrugated flutes. This texture is favored by players who prefer these large instruments made by the National Washboard Company. The design is great for players who need to drive home a more robust and solid tone than the diminutive Zinc King Lingerie #703 or any small pail-size washboard can deliver. So, what's the difference between the plated brass, zinc and silver surfaces? Okay, I'm a bit tone deaf I suppose. Because, well...they all sound about the same to me. But if you are a Top Notch connoisseur who can differentiate the tonal difference between one surface and the other, then please drop us a line so we can share that info with your fellow players.

Zinc King large & small Large Family Size
The Brass King Top Notch #801 washboard is a large family-size washboard. It is significantly larger and heavier than the legendary Zinc King Lingerie #703.

So just to be clear, washboards come in two basic sizes: Large and small. The Zinc King Lingerie #703 is a small pail-size washboard. The Brass King Top Notch #801 is a large family-size washboard.

Broad Selection
About the only way you can latch onto a genuine vintage Brass King Top Notch #801 washboard nowadays is at an antique shop, flea market, garage sale, estate auction or granny's attic. Beware of makeshift versions, hidden damage and missing parts - especially on eBay. (We've got a pile of bad eBay boards in the basement.) Of course, none of these places offer you the broad selection of specially selected vintage musical washboards you can get right here on this web page.

What Makes This Washboard So Special?
You can boil it down to three factors:

701 washboard-detail 1. Brass Rub Surface Creates Appealing Tone
The ribbed and textured surface produces a full rich euphonious sound. Unlike other boards that are shrill or ringy, the timbre is relatively mellow and understated (at least for a washboard). I suppose the brass metal must be largely responsible for the distinctive warm tone.

701 washboard-ribs2. Wooden Back Ribs Resonate Sound
The five wooden ribs on the backside form a partial enclosure behind the brass rubbing surface. This creates a resonating chamber that adds tonality and helps drive the sound - kind of like a drum. These five ribs are standard on all large open back National Washboard Company products in our shop.

701 washboard-construction3. Brilliant Floating Construction Boosts Harmonics
The frame design is elegantly simple and compact. The metal rubbing surface floats - and resonates - within a deceptively simple tongue & groove and rabbeted framework. So the entire unit is amazingly sturdy yet flexible. That's why the whole darn structure rattles when you play it. And it is all secured in this vibratory state with just six small strategically placed nails. What's more, no elements stick out, fall off, or snag at you.

Which Washboard Grade is Right for You?

Every Brass King Top Notch #801 washboard we sell is a fine playing vintage instrument. All parts, including the five back ribs, are intact and in good working order. For all practical purposes each Brass King #801 washboard plays just as good as the next. The difference in price merely reflects the outward appearance of the wood, the rubbing surface, and the ink.

Washboards in all grades below are antique objects that might show signs of age, wear or inconsequential damage such as small chips, water staining and paint spots from long term storage or display.

701 washboard-good

Might show scuffs, scratches, minor cracks in wood. Ink might be faded or missing. Might show conspicuous corrosion, soap residue or other slight imperfections. No significant cracks in wood frame. No pin holes, cracks or breaks in metal rubbing surface. No serious ruts, dents or substantial scratches (i.e. washboard was not a musical instrument in former life). No missing back ribs. No missing parts. Framework is sturdy yet flexible. Washboard has been around the block a few times but is eminently playable.

701 washboard-better Better
Overall better condition.

701 washboard-near-mint Near Mint
Light wear. Hardly used. Little or no corrosion or soap residue. Ink color and print quality usually good, but not always.

701 washboard-mint Mint
Appears unused. Ink color and print quality usually good, but not always. Little or no corrosion. Belongs in a museum. Don't know why you would want to scrape up a fine antique relic like this to play music on it though.

How to Attach Accessories:
The wood on vintage washboards is bone dry and brittle with age. So avoid hammering nails or tacks into the washboard because the wood is likely to crack. The safer way to add accessories and hardware is to drill holes with a sharp wood-cutting bit, then attach with bolts (preferably) or screws.

Grading Scale in a Nutshell:
The weathered ones cost less, the clean unblemished ones cost more.
  1. Brass Rub Surface: Will not rust.
  2. All Wood Frame: Easy to attach accessory items
  3. Brass Surface: Produces warm tone
  4. Distinctive crackly sound: Not clangy or ringy
  5. Back Ribs Resonate Sound: Adds tonality and sound color
  6. Floating Construction: Boosts harmonics
  7. Sturdy yet Flexible: Radiates sound, won't fall apart
  8. Natural Wood Finish: Won't irritate skin

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