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Thread: Old Washburn Bowlback info

  1. #1
    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    I played a very nice bowlback today - Washburn Model 235, Serial # A-4603 - and I'm wondering where I can find a bit more info about it. #Very nicely restored, label all in one piece, and a straight little neck. #Just curious (unless I cave in and spring for it!)

    thanks

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here is the page for the No. 235 from my 1912 Lyon & Healy catalog. This was in the mid to upper range of their Washburns. You can see the specs on this scan.

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    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Yep, that's it. Any idea of how to date it w/ the serial #? And anywhere to check comparable values?

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I would say, off the top of my head that it is circa 1912, according to my catalog. Wider range prob is 1905-1912. I doubt anyoe is keeing a list of serial numbers on these, tho Cafe member Hubert P (keef) has a list of ones from later carved models.

    Value? You can see Washburns on eBay and they could sell anywhere from $200-500. If this is in pristine shape and needs no further work to make it playable, then it might be worth more. The hidden cost of eBay "finds" is often the extra luthier work they need. And they almost always need something.

    How much is the seller asking for this one?

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    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    They're asking $550 , and it's been gone over pretty nicely by a solid luthier. The neck was in fine shape, no buzzing- the bridge had been moved, leaving a scuff where it had been originally, but hardly a big deal. #It had a very pleasant tone, nice sustain.

    I doubt I'm interested- but it was fun to think about...

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Brad,

    That is a pretty dear price, in my opinion. It is nice to see Washburns being appreciated more, but it seems a few years out before the market escalates to that point. Still, if it sounds good and is solid and you have the $$......

    I have a L+H model which is identical to the Washburn 235. I got if for around $60 on ebay last winter. It needed quite a bit of work to get playable, none of which I am as capable as I am sure the luthier who repaired the one you speak of is.

    The L+H/Wahburns I have played vary widely in sound quality, though the craft appears consistantly good. I have a Washburn 225 that sounds quite good and I enjoy playing. If the 235 sounds and plays well, why not make an offer? I have a hunch Washburns will turn out to be a pretty good investment over the next 10 years or so.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Tell me, What'd I Say?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....IT&rd=1

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    I do have a serial number list of close to 2,000 prewar Washburns (guitars, mandos, banjos and ukes). In view of its serial # your 235 will likely look slightly different than in the posted picture, with a pearl ring around the soundhole and different body perimeter marquetry inlays - let me know if this is correct.

    If yes, then you have an earlier version of the 235 that dates back to 1905-1910.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by (brunello97 @ Oct. 02 2006, 08:46)
    Tell me, What'd I Say?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....IT&rd=1

    Mick
    That's just out of line for the entry-level piece listed on eBay; I'd say no better than the $200s on a good day for it. A style 235 is a much nicer instrument.

  10. #10
    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (keef @ Oct. 03 2006, 07:58)
    I do have a serial number list of close to 2,000 prewar Washburns (guitars, mandos, banjos and ukes). In view of its serial # your 235 will likely look slightly different than in the posted picture, with a pearl ring around the soundhole and different body perimeter marquetry inlays - let me know if this is correct.

    If yes, then you have an earlier version of the 235 that dates back to 1905-1910.
    Well, I don't actually HAVE the instrument, so I can't check these features- but I got the serial # right... I am not interested in buying it, I must say- but if anyone is, it's available at a very reputable shop in Durham NC (pm for more info, if you really are interested) NFI. They were certainly willing to entertain offers- the piece is on consignment.

  11. #11
    Registered User Topher Gayle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Washburn Bowlback info

    ON this same subject -

    A friend just gave me an old Washburn bowl-back mandolin. Apparently it was last played in the 1950s. The body is in pretty good shape, but the headstock has been damaged and tragically repaired, then the headstock broke off wholesale from the neck, taking the dovetail with it. Not pretty.

    The tragic repair involved bolting a steel plate to the front of the headstock with 8 or 9 through machine screws & nuts, then painting the steel plate copper-colored. Well, I hope that allowed someone to keep playing it for a few years, up into the 1950s.

    Well, there's no model number on the end of the headstock, but there is a serial number inside: 18951 (note - only 5 digits). The instrument has 15 ribs (counting the wide ones along the edge.) The ribs are nice B. Rosewood, by all appearances. Can anyone here guess a date range of manufacture? Here's a photo of the label inside: Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Washburn Bowlback info

    Pleijsier's book dates the "Best In the World" label to "1906/7 - 1915." (p. 24) He states serial numbers from around this time would include "low 19,000's" for "around 1915." (p. 236) So "1915" would be about the best guesstimate. The Washburn models 1615 and 1620, both made around this time, listed as having 15 rosewood ribs in the catalog. (p. 151)
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  14. #13
    Registered User Topher Gayle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Washburn Bowlback info

    Thanks so much for that info!

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    I play them, too. Also guitar, bass and percussion. find out more here;http://www.tophergayle.com

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