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Thread: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

  1. #1
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Anybody know about this? Looks like it could be interesting:

    https://www.americanmusical.com/Item...TCMF43SWK-LIST

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    My friendly local neighborhood music store just dropped Washburn due to quality problems.

  3. #3
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Rosewood fretboard and rosewood bridge and probably built in one of the several production facilities in China to whatever specs provided; how detailed can the graduations on the plates and tonebar carving be?....all results in a recipe for a mediocre instrument IMHO...YMMV...
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  5. #4

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    It would be interesting if it was listed at $199.00 like those MKs were. At $1200.00 you're in the ballpark for a used Kentucky 1000/1500. A safer bet than a Washburn IMO.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  6. #5

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    The Timeless line's gimmick is listing the top woods as "solid reclaimed fir" from abandoned structures. No specification as to whether it's redwood, cedar, spruce, etc., so you're getting a mystery cut with little to no consistency between them.

    The back & sides seem to be listed as just regular modern cuts of maple. The listing doesn't even mention "hand-carved" or "graduated" tops, which can leave the suspicion of them being press-formed, not helped out by the shallowness of the ridge on the scroll and very little recurve. Only other info I could find was NAMM 2018 footage of the Timeless guitars:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7mCSYx9I9w

    I could be wrong and some of these could end up being great, but a lot of red flags for corner-cutting are there.

  7. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Hah! I love the NAMM-talk from the rep. They are stretching their history a bit. First of all there never was a Washburn Company. It was Lyon & Healy and Washburn was their top-of-the-line brand from the early days. Second the current company AFAIK just bought the rights to use that name.

    Now, all that is OK. Actually it is nice that they are building copies of the original Washburns. I hope they do sound as good as their old ones. It would be nice if they actually made clones of the the mandolins, too, esp the Lyon & Healy ones and made them close to the originals but at a reasonable price. If I could find one of those guitars anywhere near me to try I would love to try one.
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    A top made of fir rather than spruce? And otherwise, appears to be the standard Asian-made clone of a Gibson F-5. As Jim points out, no mention of "hand carved" or "carved" at all (maybe it goes without saying? Yeah, right...).

    "Washburn" is just a recycled nameplate from an old American manufacturer, Lyon & Healy. The current owner, JAM Industries who owns the US Music Co. distributor, writes eloquently about the "storied history" of Washburn, but has no connection that I can see with the US label. As far as I know, the Lyon and Healy never made a Washburn F-model mandolin; they made a wide variety of Washburn mandolins, bowl-backs, flat-backs, carved-top two-points, but not F-5 clones.

    At the list price point, a potential buyer has a choice of many Asian-made F-models, by Loar, Eastman, Kentucky, JBovier, and others. These brands have established better reputations than Washburn, for quality materials, design and construction. Plus, there are mandolins on the used market, at comparable prices, that also have established pedigrees.

    The hype about recycled tone woods -- "sinker" logs dredged from ponds, "shipmast" Martin guitars with wood from old sailing ships, etc. etc. -- has not, as far as I know, resulted in credible user evaluations sustaining those claims. The term "puffery" comes to mind, though I'd be glad to let someone else by a "Timeless" Washburn, and tell me I'm wrong.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I was curious what the rest of the lineup mentioned looked like, they're up on the Washburn site here: http://www.washburn.com/products/bluegrass/mandolin/

    And the pictures:

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    The oval hole flattop "Celtic" mandolin looks the nicest to me, but I'd probably wait until a used one popped up for much cheaper.

  10. #9

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    The oval hole flattop "Celtic" mandolin looks the nicest to me, but I'd probably wait until a used one popped up for much cheaper.
    The current price is for the mahogany-backed Celtic one is listed at $750. For thirty more dollars you could order a Red Valley EM mandolin with far better build quality.

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  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

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

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    The oval hole flattop "Celtic" mandolin looks the nicest to me, but I'd probably wait until a used one popped up for much cheaper.
    Strange that they made that one oval-hole with a guitar-style bridge. I wonder why and wonder how they braced the top. Here's the back of that one:

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    This video on the company history is pretty accurate but watch how there is a radical change in feel when they start talking about the modern Washburn Company in the 1970s.

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  13. #11

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    You guys are all missing the biggest selling point, quoting from their copy:

    "Each Washburn Timeless Collection instrument includes a hardshell case and a cut-steel nail encased in acrylic pulled from the reclaimed beams used to build a Timeless, authenticating its 140+ year old origin! "
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I scoured the photos looking for a nail. Wonder how effective all this "Timeless Collection" hype will be in the marketplace? I thought this was the best line, "Dry, stiff, and light, European Fir is tonally rich, deep and loud, and exhibits the crispness of a Spruce and the warmth of Redwood and Cedar."

    This reclaimed wood has all the best qualities of top grade spruce, redwood and cedar in one package. You can't go wrong. Also hard to miss that they deleted the area inside the scroll in most of those pics from American Musical Instruments. A close-up of the scroll in the first pic, which actually shows that area unedited, is a testament to how difficult it is to get a nice, clean finish in that area.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    A note about the Chinese Washburns: I own two of them, a WD10SCE guitar and a M116SWK A style mandolin. Neither of these is my main player, the mandolin is my second string mandolin and the guitar is my third string guitar - but both are serviceable instruments. I use my Washburn mandolin as a practice instrument that is with me wherever I go when I'm not playing with others. I love it and chose to keep it over an Eastman MD315. The reason I chose that over the Eastman is that I like the feel of the neck, the frets, and the finger board of the Washburn better than the Eastman. Once I got the Collings, I realized that (my opinion only here) both the Eastman and the Washburn were just way overbuilt. Heavy, clodgy, and so forth, but my personal preference for the feel of the neck went to the Washburn. With its thick mahogany back and spruce top, it has a pretty dark tone that is kind of nice to hear from time to time.
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    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    in 1989 or 90 I bought a Washburn D21S guitar over a used martin d28. the price difference was negligible I liked the sound of the wahburn better. (I know better now ). But that washburn has been my go to acoustic guitar for almost 30 years now.
    2012 Weber Bitterroot F5.

  18. #15
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I have a old Washburn m-5s Jefro burns , it is an early one with a 3 digit serial number I bought it about a year ago, it sounds real good, I would hope they sound as good, but I doubt it, I'd like to compare one to mine, maybe if one shows up near me I'll take mine to compare, if I do I'll post my results
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  19. #16

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I have owned three Washburn mandolins, and like my m-118 F mandolin very much, with its wide neck. It is all wood; spruce and maple, and machine carved. It has great tone and looks. The big question about this new "timeless" series is the "aged fir" soundboard. We don't know how "aged fir" sounds in comparison to spruce, which is the traditional species of wood for mandolin tops. Their advertising stresses the age of the fir they have resourced for these instruments, but the finish looks very new and so they don't look "aged". I am not sure they are selling well, and are often discounted. Washburn mandolins are production instruments made in China like many others on the market these days. The current company is not the original Lyon and Healey company of Chicago which went out of business during the Depression.

  20. #17

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I own a Timeless A series Washburn. It happens to be a warranty replacement due to a twisted neck on the A style SWK
    Washburn. I Live in a small town with few music store choices, with the Washburn dealer the being better than the rest by a long ways. After a new bridge from Cumberland acoustics and a complete setup it sounds decent. It does not compare to the a more costly
    mandolin but I only paid 700.00 for the SWK A so what the heck. As I progressively get better the hunger for a Collins/Weber etc is kicking in. Would I bye another Washburn product, No I would not.
    Keith

  21. #18

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Id put my 199.00 all solid wood f style up against any f style up to $500. Yep, I would. Any of them can be made to play to play with ease. All will sound about as good as you'd expect, not very good at all.

    But I'll restate my view, any mandolin is better than no mandolin at all. Someone getting started would be well served with my Michael Kelly, and if it takes a scroll and some plastic inlay to get them started, so be it. The tragedy is that out of the box, the action is horrible.
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