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Thread: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

  1. #1
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    Post Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    So I have just been offered a really nice F5 mandolin with a one piece Walnut back, something I’d never seen on an F style mandolin. Does anyone know If a walnut is a good tonewood for the bluegrass sound? It definitely looks cool, if everything works out I may try it out in a week or two to see if its for me. Anyone whos played an F or an A style F hole mandolin with Walnut back and sidesplease feel free to weigh in on this. Thanks
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  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    I have a Mandola with Black Walnut used for back, carved, & sides.. A lovely hardwood..

    Can you go audition it in person? I have no clue what the builder of yours, did with it..
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I have a Mandola with Black Walnut used for back, carved, & sides.. A lovely hardwood..

    Can you go audition it in person? I have no clue what the builder of yours, did with it..
    I’m planning on going to play it before buying it, just wondering what the general consensus is about Walnut as a tonewood for archtop mandolins.

  4. #4
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Don’t know about archtop mandolins, but it’s fine for flattop guitars. Similar sound characteristics to genuine mahogany.
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Don’t know about archtop mandolins, but it’s fine for flattop guitars. Similar sound characteristics to genuine mahogany.
    For sure, I’ve owned a couple Walnut Backed Gibsons and they were all pretty fine sounding guitars

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    You are going to have to play it. I have built fiddles and guitars with black walnut. I love to work with it. It is a terrific tonewood.

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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Twelve to fifteen years ago I went to the RockyGrass Academy. One of the instructors was the mandolin player in the Claire Lynch Band. His mandolin had a walnut back. If I recall, he said he wasn't even sure who the maker was, he just ran across it somewhere and liked the way it sounded. I wasn't really a connoisseur of tone in those days, so don't have any comment on how I thought it sounded.

    My memory of the details in this story may not be perfect, but that was the gist of it. If anyone knows it better, please correct me.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeadFlatpick View Post
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    The back is absolutely gorgeous!! I have no experience with walnut as a back/sides wood, but you've gotten some good above.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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  10. #9
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    Post Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    The back is absolutely gorgeous!! I have no experience with walnut as a back/sides wood, but you've gotten some good above.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Thanks, the last back I posted was recieved with mixed opinions, hopefully this one makes up for it! If the sound is there, Iím gonna jump on this one! Hereís the only photo of the front I have, but it looks pretty good to my eye also
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    My first one was built with walnut back and red cedar top. It is a little more quiet and definitely less bark than the maple backed instruments I have built with similar tops. It was also my first so that may be a factor. There is nothing bad about it that would scare me off. I will probably build another walnut one sometime this year and see what I can do with it now. You should definitely play it before you buy though. It may be too mellow for bluegrass.

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  13. #11
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    Maybe Hank will chime in--he recently built a fantastic F-5 with walnut back and sides.

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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Any Experience With Walnut F5 Mandolins?

    I have an F5 that’s 11 years old and the back is 100 year old walnut. It is a cannon. Loud and easily heard in a jam. Definitely play it first but walnut component shouldn’t be an issue.

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