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Thread: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requested

  1. #1

    Default Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requested

    Are these Mandolins any good...I have a chance to buy one local today....it is missing a truss rod cover and supposingly a pick guard but that no big deal.Im just trying to find out what woods were in these .. solid or not...it does have a Japan sticker inside I'm told.I am under the impression these were made by Wasburn in the early to mid 80's

    Thank you in advance

    Kevin
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    To begin, play it !
    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 !

  3. #3

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    If you can get it for $200 or so, it's probably worth a shot. A Kentucky or similar A or F made in the past decade is going to be a much better instrument, though. Once you get up into the $350 range, this starts to look like a bad deal, especially since it needs a setup ($80-100), and something you buy for $350 from a Cafe sponsor should come reasonably well set up.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Thank you

  6. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Washburn has not manufactured an instrument since early in the last century when it was a Lyon and Healy brand name. The Washburn brand is applied to whatever instruments the current owner of the name has built in whatever factory they are currently contracted with in whatever country they have gone to. That's nothing to hang your hat on. Some Washburn history can be found here.

    That doesn't mean it's not all solid or a decent instrument. It actually looks from these pictures to be interesting. Look at it, play it and if the price is cheap go for it.

    Added: I see where the Washburn connection is. The people that owned the Washburn marque when this was imported apparently brought in some instruments labeled as Arbor by Washburn. It still doesn't add anything to the value. I'm sure they hoped it would.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Thank you very much Mike...I do plan on getting this today pending a try out

  8. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    A bit of Googling on the "Arbor" brand label revealed (unsubstantiated, so don't take it as gospel) information that "Arbor guitars were founded in 1984 in Osaka, Japan by an ex-Ibanez president and an ex-Yamaha manager. A factory was purchased in Hamamatsu, Japan where guitars were produced from 1984-1986. They were forced to sell the company in the 3rd year of production due to lawsuits that were immediately filed by both Fender and Gibson, jointly. Production was moved to Korea by the new owners," that the "Arbor" label was subsequently acquired by MusiCorp, and that "MusiCorp had a contract with Fred Gretsch and company to manufacture and distribute Gretsch Guitars. MusiCorp had one of the major Korean companies (Samick or Cort) manufacture the guitar for them. In 2003, Fender purchased the Gretsch brand name and the right to manufacture and distribute Gretsch guitars and drums. Fender, however, did not purchase any of the Gretsch guitar stock. MusiCorp was under contract with the Korean Manufacturer to produce a year’s worth of guitars...MusiCsorp simply had their brand name Arbor affixed to the guitars that were intended to be sold a Gretsches. So, while the guitar says Arbor, it is indeed the same as the Korean made Gretsch guitars that were produced, just without the name and the High Dollar price tag."

    Leaving aside the info about the Gretsch contract, this suggests that the mandolin, if pre-1986, may be Japanese-made; if after that date, made in Korea. And, based on this 2014 thread about an Arbor guitar, some Arbor instruments have been labeled "Arbor by Washburn," which may just mean that Washburn acquired a stash of Korean-made Arbor instruments, put a "by Washburn" tag on them, and sold them. As Mike E points out above, whatever the US Music Corp., current owners of the "Washburn" label, may write about the "storied history" of US-made Washburn instruments, they're nothing but an importer of a variety of Asian-made instruments, from whatever factory they contract with, labeled "Washburn."
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Thank you Allen..the first part of what you so kindly to the time to research and post,I had seen this also. The second part was a very interesting read and thank you.This particular mandolin doesn't say Arbor by Washburn which makes it even more that much interesting.I do know that is is only a cheaper mandolin as one could imagine.Hoping someone can chime in that may have one and ad even more info about the woods in this particular model.Thank you again for kindly taking your time to add to the thread.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Mandoman3; Jan-12-2020 at 5:49pm.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Anyone else happen to owe one of these or have happened to have played one ?

  12. #10

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    Well I got it and this is what it looks like....I'm thinking it's a solid top ...on the fence about the back
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  13. #11

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    So I've been looking it over with glasses and there's cracking around the neck area
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  14. #12

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

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    Nice lookin instrument . What are your thoughts as far as structural with the cracking ...I think it's all sold maple too

    Thanks to all who reply in advance ...your comments are appreciated

  15. #13

    Default Re: Information on quality of the ARBOR f style Mandolin requeste

    It has a real carved scroll on the back, so it's a solid back. The top is, as well. You can't carve veneer, so this is all solid.

    Not sure what the cracking is about, but structural damage is pretty easy to identify. If there's structural damage, it won't be able to be set up with low action. Easy enough. I wouldn't worry about it, it might have been scratched or something. Looks like it's in good shape, tear it up!

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