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Thread: Washburn Mandolins

  1. #1
    Jim1Hays
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    Smile Washburn Mandolins

    Just a general question here. I never hear anyone mentioning Washburn mandolins on this forum. Is there a known issue with them? I have a F5 W3 electric acoustic I am learning on and have had to change the tuning mechanics to improve the sound and replace the somewhat low quality tuning mechs on it but the sound is fantastic. I have played it next to a Gibson and Fender and the sound is right in there with them. Am I overlooking something?

  2. #2
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    I have the Washburn M1SDL below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgoG-zyWU-A

    VERY nice instrument for $200. One of the tuners is a little 'loose', but it works well enough . . . aside from that, I can't really complain.

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    I always say that if you can't hear the difference between an inexpensive and an expensive instrument to count that as a blessing. It will save you a whole lot of money in the long run. Just don't assume others cannot tell the difference. If it sounds good to you then play the heck out of it, that's all that matters.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4
    Registered User Toni Schula's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    I heard one great sounding Washburn this weekend. I sold one too quiet Washburn some years ago.

  5. #5
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    NFI, but the model of Washburn mandola in the Classifieds is said to be a terrific deal for the $$.

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  7. #6
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    My Washburn sounds really good, but it is an older one, I think from the 80's
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  8. #7
    Dan Sampson mando_dan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    The tops of the two Washburns I owned ended up sinking. That was the early 2000s, things may be different now but I wouldn't get anywhere near one unless it's used and stable.
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  9. #8
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by bbcee View Post
    NFI, but the model of Washburn mandola in the Classifieds is said to be a terrific deal for the $$.
    That one is tempting me, Bruce, in fact if I had the cash on hand it'd be mine right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I always say that if you can't hear the difference between an inexpensive and an expensive instrument to count that as a blessing.
    Ain't it the truth.
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  10. #9
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by mando_dan View Post
    The tops of the two Washburns I owned ended up sinking. That was the early 2000s, things may be different now but I wouldn't get anywhere near one unless it's used and stable.
    My own Washburn has little chance of that ever happening! It has a pretty thick (overbuilt) spruce top with a nice arch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1hays View Post
    Is there a known issue with them?
    I think that generally they get a bad rap because of value vs. $$$

    Typically, at the cafe, the Eastmans are considered a better value for the buck. I bought an A style Washburn that has solid mahogany back & sides and solid spruce top for $400. I could have saved another bill and had an Eastman A,and for a long time I regretted it. I've since owned an Eastman F (315), and have sold it, but I keep the Washburn.

    Here are just a couple samples of the sound of the Washburn I own:





    To qualify my 'endorsement' of this Washburn: First, it does not hold a candle to my Collings MT. Whole different ballpark. Second, in both of these clips I've used a tiny bit of compression and reverb, so you're not hearing a totally unaltered sound.

    My Washburn beat my Eastman in regards to the feel and comfort of playing. In my opinion, both were way overbuilt compared to my feather weight Collings.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  12. #10
    Registered User LastMohican's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    My very first mandolin was a used Washburn M1SDLTBL (The Blue A Body). I think I paid about $100 at Music Go Round in Louisville. For that kind of money, I just don't how I could have done much better. It wasn't that loud but, with a good setup on it, it played pretty easy. I gave it to a friend of mine in Leesburg, VA. I don' think it gets played much any more.

  13. #11
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    It's not that they are crap instruments. It's mainly that they have fallen from their high quality past since being made another brand for mid level pacrim product. I have seen some rather decent examples that I wish I could have snatched up at the time. I'd love to have a red M1-sdl. If you have a good one, rejoice and enjoy it.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
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  14. #12
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    To slightly twist an old phrase - 'Tone is in the ear of the beholder'.

    I can't tell you how many superstar mandolin, guitar and/or bass players I have heard over the years that were absolutely fawned over because of their 'great tone' - but I personally heard nothing that impressed me. Everybody has an opinion -and that's all it is - an opinion . . . nothing more and nothing less.

    Got a $200 mandolin you love? Great!
    Got a $2,000 mandolin that is everything you always dreamed of? Awesome!
    Got a $20,000 mandolin that is your idea of acoustic perfection? Fantastic!

    Play, enjoy, and as long as you are satisfied, don't care what anyone else thinks about your tone . . . after all, it's YOUR tone.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    The modern Washburn mandolins I have seen severely lack in the fit and finish department. I mean, the F styles have some of the sloppiest work I’ve ever seen. Can’t even comment about the tone because I’ve never seen one that the store bothered to set one up to be even remotely playable. Also, they came out with an A style mandola a while back that caused a bit of excitement here because it was one of the very few mandola choices under a thousand. But it had a mandolin bridge, with mandolin intonation. There is no way on God’s green earth that thing could be made to play in tune. So I don’t have a lot of respect for a company who had a good idea that would have filled a need, but they couldn’t be bothered to spend a few extra bucks to put on the right bridge.
    Don

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    1974 Martin Style A
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  17. #14
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I always say that if you can't hear the difference between an inexpensive and an expensive instrument to count that as a blessing. It will save you a whole lot of money in the long run. Just don't assume others cannot tell the difference. If it sounds good to you then play the heck out of it, that's all that matters.
    Same reasoning I use with wine ! I can't tell any difference between Charles Shaw wine aka Two Buck Chuck than those expensive wines so I drink Charles Shaw !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  18. #15
    Registered User J-45er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    I'd rather listen to a good player on a Washburn than a bad player on a Fern.

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  20. #16
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    The Washburn M7-S was my first mando, bought it in a Pomona, CA music store in '85. Was my only mando for many many years. Eventually, I tapped into ebay and soon enough, I bought my first F5 . . . the rest is history as they say. Loved the little Washburn . . . and still have it . . . how do you give up your first love. The asymmetrical model is a legit rare model I'd say. They can be had of course, just saying it's rare to see one. Mine plays great and does have a nice round and even tone, and it's quite loud.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #17

    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    I don't know how to respond to posts like this. I have a fun little PacRim mandolin. I play it a lot. I got the action to where I want it. It puts a smile on my face, but then I put it down and play my Silverangel and am in another universe. I know we hear differently, but it's like going from an MP3 to a vinyl record played on an old Thorens turntable through a singled ended tube amplifier.

    I play on every mandolin I can get my hands on. There are two nice shops I can get to that between them stock Collings, Pava, Giouard, Weber, and Northfield, as well as Eastman and Kentucky, and then the consignment and trade in instruments, so I know what Gibsons sound like too. I'm still looking for that one in a thousand sub $500 mandolin that sounds as good as any of the small shop builders. To me it isn't close.

    But I can't see color worth a damn either.
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  23. #18
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I don't know how to respond to posts like this. I have a fun little PacRim mandolin. I play it a lot. I got the action to where I want it. It puts a smile on my face...
    Definitely. I play a rather modest pacrim Rover which, once adjusted properly, is quite nice to play and don't sound half bad. If the OP has an easy playing Washburn and enjoys playing it, that's what is really important after all. Relax, you could be playing a gem.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
    Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk.

  24. #19

    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Have you tried the gold tone gm 55a? I like it even better than the eastmans, and for a little less money (I think I paid around 400 for it).

  25. #20
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin breeze View Post
    The Washburn M7-S was my first mando, The asymmetrical model is a legit rare model . . . . Mine plays great and does have a nice round and even tone, and it's quite loud.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm a sucker for two-pointers - unfortunately they just don't show up too, too often. Thanks for sharing!

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