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Thread: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

  1. #26
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Everyone should buy and play a mandolin they like. Tastes differ -- and so do individual instruments, even the same models from the same builder.

    Having said that, there are generally accepted quality standards of design, build techniques, and finishing. There are reasons some mandolins cost $500 and some cost $5,000, and it's not all manufacturers' reputations, labor cost differentials, and "fad and fashion." Several of the posters above have pointed out areas in which the Washburn "Timeless" instruments are built to a lower standard than, even, other Asian-made instruments such as Eastman, Loar, and JBovier.

    That doesn't mean that an individual Washburn can't meet its owner's needs, or even his/her taste preferences. If that's the case, as dsweiga says, "Go for it." But be realistic about what's being purchased. Universalizing one's individual experience, is what many Cafe threads are about: "I owned a SuperStrings 300, and it was [a] wonderful [b] awful, so I [a] will play it every day for the rest of my life [b] used it to start a campfire." Both reactions, based on a single individual personal experience, are equally valid. But pointing out how a particular mandolin's specs do or don't measure up to what are considered the accepted standards of quality construction, tries to base evaluation on something other than a one-of personal reaction to a particular individual instrument.

    In the end, we should buy and play mandolins we like, regardless of who makes 'em or how they're made. I got 25+ years of frequent use out of a $50 Strad-O-Lin, and why not? But when someone asks for opinions, opinions is what they get. Perhaps mixed with a bit of research and objective evaluation (?).
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  2. #27

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Everyone should buy and play a mandolin they like. Tastes differ --.
    Many years ago there was a TV show where the characters were touring an art exhibit. One male character said to the 'knowledgeable' female character; 'Is this painting good?' The female said; 'Do you like it?'. The man said; 'Yes.', and the female replied; 'Then, it's good.'

    Best short answer I have ever heard.

    I am willing to bet a month's salary that there are some folks who would scoff at the idea that my Kentucky KM-272 is (for me) a top-notch instrument - but, that is their opinion - and nothing more . . .

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  4. #28
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Ok, as a service to all the Washburn Timeless fans, here is what sounds like the official description of the model (from this site):


    Washburn Timeless Collection Limited Edition F-Style Mandolin featuring 140+ year old carved solid reclaimed European fir soundboard, solid carved figured maple back, figured maple sides and neck. Amber burst gloss finish. Hardshell case included.

    Each instrument in the Timeless Collection is rare and unique in that it is built with reclaimed wood that is 140 or more years old. Reclaimed from European Fir beams, trusses and joists from old buildings such as farms, pubs, and bridges in the UK, only the smallest percentage of wood is suitable to become Timeless Collection tonewood. Dry, stiff, and light, European Fir is tonally rich, deep and loud, exhibiting the crispness of a Spruce and the warmth of Redwood and Cedar.

    The TCMF43SWK-LTD mandolin with F-holes features an Amber Burst finish and a mild-V shaped neck. Each 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.

    Features:

    Top Wood Solid Reclaimed European Fir (140+ yrs old)
    Back Wood Solid Figured Maple
    Sides Solid Figured Maple
    Bracing Quarter Sawn Sitka Spruce
    Type Americana Instruments
    Style Mandolin
    Neck Wood Figured Maple
    Fretboard Ebony
    Number Of Frets 24 frets
    Inlays Dot
    Nut Bone
    Nut Width 1-1/8
    Scale 13-7/8
    Hardware Gold hardware
    Bridge Ebony
    Tuners Gold open back w/Pearloid buttons
    Color Amber Burst
    Finish Gloss Finish
    Also, for those interested, here is a photo of the original nail that was included with the mandolin.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WashburnNail3.png 
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ID:	183778

    For both of you dsweigas: did you get the nail with yours?
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  5. #29

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I just purchased the Celtic model. I have been wanting an oval hole mandolin for some time and I almost purchased an Kentucky KM-272 a few months ago but held off. When I first opened the case I was taken back by the beauty of this little mando. It is significantly different than an A style being trimmed with rosewood. I was also surprised that it had a radius fret board which I did not notice in the adds. I picked it up and was surprised at how light it was. At first I thought I am returning this thing as it is cheap! But then I strummed it. Wow, what tone this little baby has. I love it! I can only compare it to those that I own (Kentucky KM-505, KM-250S, KM-310E, Tacoma ME, Ibanez M510E, 1960's Kay A model, 1960's Banjolin) but for tonal qualities I put it up there with the best that I own. I may still be partial to the Tacoma but this Washburn is nice!. I purchased a Blem model and for under $300 I consider it a great buy.

  6. #30
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    It is a great buy.I put on Thomastik light gauge ball end strings and wow.

  7. #31

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Thought you might like some good photos, here's a Reverb ad with a bunch of good shots.

    https://reverb.com/item/17585850-was...mandolin-w-hsc

  8. #32
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I don’t get the acrylic embedded nail thing.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  9. #33
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    I don’t get the acrylic embedded nail thing.
    Think of it like the worm in the tequila.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  11. #34
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    It’s “proof”. There is a guitar builder in NYC (Kelly) that builds guitars from very old wood he gets when building are demolished.And I know the nail is a Promo thing that goes with the rest of the promo that some copywriter thought would sell mandolins.

  12. #35
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    And European fir doesn’t grow in the U.K.

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  14. #36

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I have a timeless A for the last 2 years with Elixor light strings and have found no
    issues I like the looks and the tone. I had is converted to a lefty with a Cumberland
    bridge. I never went for the hype, I ended up getting my other Washburn replaced
    due to a warped neck. I don't regret buying a Washburn but would not repeat. BTW
    it only cost me 600.00 for the one that was warped so I think I did ok.

    I cant wait to get my Apituis J model in August however.

    Keith

  15. #37
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Hey Spud I tried to use the Elixers but couldn’t get the loop end to stay put.The peg kept popping out of the bridge.They are down to $300 on eBay.

  16. #38
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinstew View Post
    It’s “proof”. There is a guitar builder in NYC (Kelly) that builds guitars from very old wood he gets when building are demolished.And I know the nail is a Promo thing that goes with the rest of the promo that some copywriter thought would sell mandolins.
    Yes, Carmine Street Guitars. I used to go into that shop when you could do such a thing. At Christmas, I saw and heard Bill Kirchen at the RetroFret Christmas party who I believe IIRC plays a Tele copy. Fantastic sound. I don't know if Kelly builds any acoustic instruments.
    Jim

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  17. #39
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinstew View Post
    Hey Spud I tried to use the Elixers but couldn’t get the loop end to stay put.The peg kept popping out of the bridge.They are down to $300 on eBay.
    Yes, that $300 is for the flattop Celtic A as a blemished/refurb. The new ones of those are $400.
    Jim

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  18. #40

    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    I noticed these instruments as well and was curios. I'm glad I held off and waited for reviews from folks that have/had actually purchased one as I couldn't be any happier with my F-style Timeless. So much so, I have since gotten rid of the Eastman MD814 and JBovier F5 I had which both paled in quality of sound for what I'm looking for. Not that they weren't nice instruments (they played and looked well enough) but the Washburn Timeless was significantly better for what I was after.

    I contacted Washburn about my instrument and while it took some time to get any word back from them, I received quite the story. Apparently these were short lived because of the CITES hullabaloo and while they considered switching the rosewood fingerboards and bridges to ebony, they also mentioned that the sourcing of the fir soundboard wood was difficult. The "nail" that is shipped with the instrument is one that is pulled from the planks of the wood and that is how they dated the age of the wood; 140yrs being the youngest and some were closer to 200yrs in age.
    Most interestingly; I was also informed that the instruments were built in China in the workshop of the noted luthier Abraham Wechter. For those that don't know; Mr. Wechter was very closely involved with Roger Siminoff and the reintroduction/reissue of the Gibson F5 (the F5L) mandolins in the late 70's (78 I believe) as they were originally produced under Lloyd Loar. Mr. Siminoff was a consultant for Gibson and Mr. Wechter was an employee making much of the prototypes during that time. To me, that's about as impressive as it gets.

    So, that's my take on the Washburn Timeless F5. I would highly encourage someone looking for a very nice, affordable F5 style instrument to try and get your hands on a Timeless...if you can find them. The fella at Washburn told me that he thinks less than 100 of them were made and closer to 50 by what information he could find.

    EDIT: I realized that I should comment on some of the aspects of the instrument that while many find important, I am more of a 95% sound, 5% "other" type of player...so here goes...bare in mind I would be basing this on a comparison of other Asian built instruments I've owned/played/seen throughout the years:

    Finish - while I don't know what the finish is (I'm guessing a lacquer of some sort) I think it's quite nice. Not perfect, but very nice and I'd put it on average with the best of the stuff coming out of Asia.
    Materials - this is where my instrument falls short although I have seen some online that had beautiful back and sides figured maple. Mine is decent although nothing exceptional by any stretch of the imagination. I was told the back, sides and neck are Canadian maple, the top English fir and IRW for the fingerboard/bridge
    Workmanship - Another one I'd put on par with the best of Asian made stuff. Not perfect in the tight corners of turn but good
    Hardware - Nice. The machine heads are quite lovely and I like the ivoroid buttons that go with the ivoroid used throughout the construction (headstock and body binding)
    Playability - Very good...as good as most any mando I've ever played.
    Sound - The big one for me. Mine is a very loud instrument that stays clear when hit with hard attack. No muffled, break up. It is very sweet and round sounding with very nice lows and great mids & highs. The Eastman MD814 oval I owned was nowhere near as nice sounding (again, this is for my taste) as the Washburn and I preferred my Eastman to my Bovier F5. Still nice instruments though.
    Last edited by Hermann Winchester; Jun-02-2020 at 12:02pm.

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  20. #41
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    Default Re: New Washburn 'Timeless' F-5

    Congratulations, you made a great choice in going with the Timeless. Play it in good health.
    "Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”
    – Lou Holtz

    “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
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