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Thread: Refurbished Mandolins

  1. #1
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    Unhappy

    I recently saw an advertisment for a refurbished mandolin
    which was about half the cost of its original value. Have
    any of you guys ever purchased one, and what exactly is
    involved in refurbishing a mandolin? Thanks

    Dray
    Nashville

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    I've done it. Once took a $300.00 no-name mandolin, stripped it down white, new nut, new bridge, varnish fisnish with a french polish. It's still the best thing I've got except my fern and that's close. Way worth the doing. If someone is doing it and selling them??? I'd take a long, hard look. Production work is not the same as hours and hours of loving re-working of an instrument and the extra care involved in the re-work can make them special.
    What a long, strange trip its been.

    Dan Linden

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Sounds to me that a refurbished mandolin would be one that was returned for some reason to the store or company. I would think that a customer decided that they didn't want it and possible scratched or dinged the finish. Likely the store did minmal work on it to get it back to sellable condition.

    Is this a reputable store? Is this a model that you really would like and would get a real deal for the refurb. I would ask the store what is the difference between the refurb and a brand new one.

    Jim
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    Are you talking about the Washburns at Musician's Friend? I read a post at the Washburn jam site from someone who bought one and loves it. I can't figure out why they have them as a stock item (and have for a while) though. They claim to have been $1099 and are now $299. Maybe they were a custom build (I know they have done that for a couple of resellers) that didn't work out and needed some adjustment. I understand how a music shop might have a couple of refurbs, but it is odd for a high volume web seller to stock them.
    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Washburn might have cut a deal with MF to sell them off. Or they are seconds from the production line. Interesting.

    You mean this one?

    Quote Originally Posted by
    These are products that have been completely refurbished and tested by their manufacturers to meet original factory specifications. You'll realize HUGE savings when you purchase refurbed gear. All Manufacturer's Refurbs products include manufacturer's warranties PLUS the Musician's Friend 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Take a full 45 days to check out the gear before deciding to keep it.
    Doesn't sound like you can lose on this deal, assuming you wanted this one to begin with.

    Jim



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    It appears to have a maple top... seems like an odd choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (RichM @ June 09 2005, 10:57)
    It appears to have a maple top... seems like an odd choice.
    I think you are confusing an oddball finishing technique with wood type. On close inspection, those stripes look like runs from the outer dark part of the sunburst to me, not maple striping. Maybe an attempt at the distressed/antique look. That could account for the model's lack of success. Maybe they went into the channel and were returned unsold and "refurbing" was just making sure they were okay and/or replacing strings on display models. This is pure conjecture on my part.



    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

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    I t5hink the top is laminated with a thin maple outer skin - it is also a 2 piece top - look close.
    What a long, strange trip its been.

    Dan Linden

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    Registered User RichM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (arbarnhart @ June 09 2005, 11:21)
    Quote Originally Posted by (RichM @ June 09 2005, 10:57)
    It appears to have a maple top... seems like an odd choice.
    I think you are confusing an oddball finishing technique with wood type. On close inspection, those stripes look like runs from the outer dark part of the sunburst to me, not maple striping.
    If you say so... you can zoom pretty close on theat photo, and it doesn't look like spruce to me. The veneer suggestion makes the most sense... lots of lower-priced guitars have a maple veneer on the top. I can't imagine maple would be a very good top wood for a mandolin...

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    I could certainly be wrong. Washburn typically adds a solid spruce top as a feature at about the $250 MSRP level, so it seems odd that one further up the product line would have a veneer lamination and maple striping usually has a taper to it (backs often look like they have wedges running from the center toward the side. The maple stripes have a nice almost holographic look to them. The stripes on the Washburn don't look that way to me. But what do I know?

    BTW, the solid spruce on my cheap Washburn is died jet black and doesn't look like spruce either.



    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    RichM and arbarnhart:
    How about giving us a link that the rest of us can see what you are talking about. I can't see any image of this mandolin.

    Jim
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    Hit the "View Zoomable Photo" link under the red and yellow "Limited Quanity" banner.

    Loren

  13. #13

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    FWIW
    At Wahburn's website they do not show a mandolin that looks like this one, and all of the listed mandolins list a solid spruce top. That would make me believe that this may have been a model that did not go over well or that was a limited run.
    Bill Snyder
    Vintage Tools, etc

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    Yes, I'm talking about the Epiphone F-Style and Washburn
    on Musician's Friend. Sounds like a great deal, and I could
    live with a ding or two for that price! Thanks for all the
    nice replys.


    Dray
    "Pike County via Nashville"

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    Call Musician's Friend and ask them! It gives a number for product questions. My guess is that it's faux grain spruce.
    --Prof PT

    Don't hate me because I know how to spell and punctuate!

  16. #16
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    they kept shipping the same one out, and it kept coming back, then,they finally did the semi playability setup any non warehouse sized seller should do, perhaps?

    or then there was that forklift incident.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Rich is probably right. I looked at the post on the Washburn jam site again and the guy says he loves it, but it does seem to have a figured maple top.
    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

  18. #18
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    The model number (M12FASB) may be a clue here: in Washburn's system, the M stands for mandolin, 12 for the model number and SB for sunburst. The other two letters stand for the construction. "S" is a solid top, "SW" is all solid wood. Thus, my 1989 Washburn has the number M3SWSB. Now, this one is "FA", which I've never seen but conspicuously doesn't include the letter "S" for solid.

    For what it's worth, Washburn's customer service e-mail is actually pretty responsive, so clarification may well be available from them. I think it's a question I would like to have answered if I were interested in that particular instrument.

    Martin

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    Interesting. I did notice that their A line included the M1S and M1K at the lower end and the M1K is the cheaper one with the word "solid" conspicously missing from the description. I wonder what K and FA stand for? Mine is an M1SDL, solid with an oval hole. How do they get DL from oval hole? Hmmm...

    Oh yeah, I don't want to read too much into price, but the MSRP of that F was supposedly over a grand. Washburn makes mandos of varying quality and typically prices them accordingly.



    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

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    What the... That is an odd looking top. Looks like maple to me. Very curious.

  21. #21
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    My buddy ordered one of those Washburns. The top is laminated. It had really bad tuners, bad intonation starting at the first fret and basically sounded...well..bad. It did have a nice finish. He sent it back a day later and was refunded.
    Lee

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    Lee,

    What specifically did he not like about the tuners? I have had my Washburn A (but hhas the F peghead and likely same tuners) only a short while, but they seem okay. It was easy to tune and has kept a tuning well. The shafts the buttons are on seem thin, but I think they are copies of vintage tuners. My much less expensive model does have a solid top (sounds great, but it is an oval hole and I was looking for that blues/folk sound) and the intonation seems dead on (I checked it at fret 12 only).
    "First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
    Charlie "Bird" Parker

  23. #23
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    The tuners felt sloppy but he didn't keep the mando around long enough to find out how well they kept the instrument in tune. #Granted the mandolin also never had a chance to be properly set-up, which may have helped with the intonation issue. #The top on this one was obviously laminated, as I could see all three layers on the edge of the F holes. #I suspect the back and sides were the same.
    #It was probably priced about right at $299 but no way was it close to being worth the retail value of (I think) $1100.
    Lee




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