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Thread: Washburn Model 1915

  1. #1
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Washburn Model 1915

    I recently acquired a Washburn Model 1915. I have had a hard time putting down...it plays so nicely and has such a pleasing voice.

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    I am relatively new to the mandolin world, but this thing has me hooked.

    From what I have learned, these were made along with Lyon & Healy products in Chicago.

    The label reads "No. 45093" "Style 2422." Any additional information on this one would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Hubert Pleijsier's book Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles doesn't list a Style 2422, but it does list a Style 2442 that looks like the one you have (p. 153, with a pic on p.156). This is basically a re-numbering of the Style 1430, introduced in 1917.

    Definitely made by Lyon & Healy in Chicago, and Pleijsier describes it as "Rosewood back/sides, mahogany neck, flatback design w/pear shaped body w/two symmetrical body points, 20-fret ebony fingerboard w/black-white celluloid edge w/ten pearl dots, headstock w/rosewood overlay, pearl inlay, and engraved metal back plate, back bound w/black/white celluloid, top and sound hole bound w/black/white celluloid and marquetry pattern, compensated ebony bridge w/bone saddle, wing shaped tortoise pickguard, crown shaped nickel plated tailpiece cover, ebony heelcap, bone nut" (p.149).

    An October 1921 price list showed the Style 2442 at $36.00 (p. 127); it was also re-numbered, as the Style 2436. This regular re-designation of the Washburn style numbers may explain why yours is numbered "2422."

    Regarding the serial number, Pleijsier shows no mandolin serial numbers in the 45,000 range; the highest he shows are numbers in the 27,000's in 1922. Looking at guitar serial numbers, a 45,000 serial number would fall in 1923. The "Model 1915" designation appears on all mandolin labels 1915-1923 (p. 111).
    Allen Hopkins
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  4. #3
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Thank you for the information Allen.

    I am amazed at how quickly I have bonded with this thing.

    I have a couple of guitars and more banjos than I care to admit, but I have never been smitten by an instrument like I have been by this one. It plays well, but the voice of this thing keeps pulling me back to it.

    I really didn't know what to expect when buying a 90+year-old instrument. The funny thing is that I really did not intend to buy it. I made such a low offer to the seller that I did not think he would take it, but he did and ended up making my most satisfying instrument purchase to date.

    I will double check the numbers on the label and post more pictures later. It is not a closet queen. This one has been played. That might be why it sounds the way it does.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    THAT is a cool piece! Nice find! Enjoy!
    - 1929 Martin Style 20
    - 2015 Washburn M1SDL
    - 2016 Kentucky KM-272
    - 2017 Gretsch 9350 Park Avenue

  7. #5
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Attachment 156531
    Love that rosewood
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Really nice looking mandolin - looks like it would fit any style. Any chance of a sound sample?

  9. #7
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    Really nice looking mandolin - looks like it would fit any style. Any chance of a sound sample?
    Thank you Bill.

    I am sure it could be versatile.
    It would not fit well in Bluegrass.
    This one does not have the volume or cut for that style.

    Any tips on how to best post a sound sample?

  10. #8

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    I use my i-phone but the sound isn't great:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2CR6KW3WFE

  11. #9
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Hey, here's an item from the Pleijsier book that might shed a bit of light on why you have a "Style 2422" that doesn't appear in the book's mandolin style listings: it's in the section on guitars, but might also apply to mandolin style designations:

    "The last two digits of style numbers between 1905 and 1922 reflect the actual retail prices of the respective models in Chicago at the time. As prices in general were very volatile between 1915 and the early 1920's, the style numbers on the labels of Washburn instruments were often changed during this period and thus may deviate from the catalog numbers indicated above (e.g. 1120 for a Style 1118, 3130 for a Style 3126, 2125 for a Style 2128, etc.)..." (p. 81).

    So there could be a style number that never appeared in a Washburn catalog, generally a few digits removed from the catalog number. Perhaps the Style 2442 mandolin, which might have had a catalog price of $42.00, was being offered at some point for $22.00 -- could be when it was just renumbered from 1430 -- and that's when your mandolin was labeled.

    Doesn't explain the high serial number, though.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #10

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    I have a vivid memory of seeing a two-point like this in Washington Square, lo' those many years ago. Mandolin and guitar player dressed in matching shiny brown suits with dark pin-stripes, string ties and cowboy boots playing "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy" - about as un-Manhattan-ie as one could get at the time. I've got a serious attack of MAS with this mandolin of yours. Looks so nice and compact and the sound samples from similar mandolins I've heard on youtube makes me think it'd sound good in any style of music. Hoping that if I just stare at its photo long enough, MAS will pass.

    Earl Bolick of "The Blue Sky Boys" payed this mandolin.
    Last edited by billkilpatrick; Apr-29-2017 at 6:16am.

  13. #11
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    I have a vivid memory of seeing a two-point like this in Washington Square, lo' those many years ago. Mandolin and guitar player dressed in matching shiny brown suits with dark pin-stripes, string ties and cowboy boots playing "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy" - about as un-Manhattan-ie as one could get at the time. I've got a serious attack of MAS with this mandolin of yours. Looks so nice and compact and the sound samples from similar mandolins I've heard on youtube makes me think it'd sound good in any style of music. Hoping that if I just stare at its photo long enough, MAS will pass.

    Earl Bolick of "The Blue Sky Boys" payed this mandolin.
    I would hate for the MAS to pass because of my failure to post a sound sample.
    Figuring it out will be a priority this weekend.

  14. #12
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Just to set the record straight -

    The Blue Sky Boys mandolin player was Bill Bolick, not (as is misreported in some places on the internet) his brother Earl.

    For most of his years in the group, Bill is best remembered as having played a 1929 Martin Style 20 mandolin - which (as you can see in the link below) is similar looking to the Washburn, but not the same.

    https://www.elderly.com/instruments/...le-20-1929.htm
    - 1929 Martin Style 20
    - 2015 Washburn M1SDL
    - 2016 Kentucky KM-272
    - 2017 Gretsch 9350 Park Avenue

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  16. #13
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeZito View Post
    Bill is best remembered as having played a 1929 Martin Style 20 mandolin....
    Mister Bill.

    Mick
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  17. #14
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I suppose this is the original carrying case that came with the mando.
    It is canvas trimmed with leather and in very poor condition.
    The case must have done its job well as the instrument is in much better condition than the case.

  18. #15

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by BiggT View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Washburn Case.jpg 
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ID:	156588 I suppose this is the original carrying case that came with the mando.
    It is canvas trimmed with leather and in very poor condition. The case must have done its job well as the instrument is in much better condition than the case.
    Big T - This is not a sound sample. No. This is but a canvas sack … a mere canvas sack - a poor old, busted-out - though no doubt stalwart, tried and true - canvas sack. What we are keening for in anticipation is the sweet, melodious tone of your marvelous looking mandolin.

    What you need to do is get in your truck, drive around the neighborhood and accost every teenager you see with "Hey kid - wanna' help me make a sound sample?"

    We await results ...

  19. #16
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Last edited by BiggT; Apr-30-2017 at 9:48pm.

  20. #17

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Picture but no sound - I'll have to get into my truck and start looking for some kid who … knows. But in any case, judging by what I've heard from others with the same instrument, you've got a real winner there - long life and happiness to you both.

  21. #18
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    Picture but no sound - I'll have to get into my truck and start looking for some kid who knows. But in any case, judging by what I've heard from others with the same instrument, you've got a real winner there - long life and happiness to you both.
    Bill, try clicking the play button in the upper right corner of the image.

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    Picture but no sound ...
    Yeah, same result here -at first- and no Play button in sight. BUT, after a minute or so, it has started playing, on continual repeat, so it's running now (at 8:26am eastern).

    BTW, sounds pretty darn nice! What I'd call on the delicate & sweet side.
    - Ed

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  24. #20
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    Yeah, same result here -at first- and no Play button in sight. BUT, after a minute or so, it has started playing, on continual repeat, so it's running now (at 8:26am eastern).

    BTW, sounds pretty darn nice! What I'd call on the delicate & sweet side.
    Being relatively new to mandolins I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across this one.
    It really has inspired me to learn to play.
    The recording was done on my phone, so the sound quality is not the best representative of the mando's voice.
    It is very sweet and a joy to play.

  25. #21
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    As for the date, I gather that it could have been made anytime between 1917-1922, correct?

  26. #22

    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    I waited … and it finally came on. Tom - I repeat, you've got a lovely sounding instrument there - mega complimenti.

  27. #23
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Quote Originally Posted by BiggT View Post
    As for the date, I gather that it could have been made anytime between 1917-1922, correct?
    According to Pleijsier's book, Washburn used the "Model 1915" label on mandolins in the years 1915-1923. Since your particular model (Style 2422) and serial number (No. 45093) don't show up in his listings, that's about as close as we can get. The Style 1430, later renumbered 2442, whose description seems to match your instrument, showed up in 1917.

    The book shows no mandolin serial numbers higher than the 27,000's, so the 45K one is a mystery.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  28. #24
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    A really cool vintage sound there
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  29. #25
    Registered User BiggT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Model 1915

    Again, I love the look, the sound, and play-ability of this thing!

    What is the value of such an instrument?

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