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Thread: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

  1. #1

    Default Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    I just purchased what looks to be a decent Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin on Ebay - I don't know much about American made instruments or Mandolins in general -- I am a Greek bouzouki player and just really based my purchase on what materials where used to make this Mandolin -- It seems like a decent mid-range instrument that would be good to learn on -- It's the model 225 the listing had almost a thousand views and no one seems to have wanted it - I bought it for 260 shipped -- I would like to know based on experience what is the price range value for these Washburns? I would probably get a much better Mandolin within the next few years depending on how my playing progresses -- I strictly bought it because I am interested in venturing into Cretan Kontilies/Mantinades -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2JxkJcxU78

    Are Washburns generically well made?



    Last edited by Andreas1; Nov-05-2012 at 8:28pm.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Washburn was Lyon and Healy's brand name for their better mandolins. The examples I've seen were well made- the big variable is condition, since it's a hundred years old at this point. If it can be easily put in playing condition, then you paid an appropriate price, I would say. Definitely a good mandolin, and consistently well constructed.

    Personally, I think the best buy in an American Bowlback mandolin may be a Vega. They are a contemporary of the Washburns. They are often in good condition, and will cost not much more than the Washburn, unless it's the very top of the line model.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Quote Originally Posted by Schlegel View Post
    Washburn was Lyon and Healy's brand name for their better mandolins. The examples I've seen were well made- the big variable is condition, since it's a hundred years old at this point. If it can be easily put in playing condition, then you paid an appropriate price, I would say. Definitely a good mandolin, and consistently well constructed.

    Personally, I think the best buy in an American Bowlback mandolin may be a Vega. They are a contemporary of the Washburns. They are often in good condition, and will cost not much more than the Washburn, unless it's the very top of the line model.
    Interesting, well the seller will allow me to return it to him if it's not satisfactory but assured me that other than a few minor touch ups the instrument plays and sounds great - For a Rosewood bowlback, Mahogony neck, and Ebony fret board I feel satisfied that at 260.00 I am buying decent quality piece to at least learn on... If I were to buy another Mandolin in the future it would be European made - probably from a Greek Luthier (hopefully an old Mandolin from Crete) as I like playing Greek music on Greek made instruments Just feels right.

  4. #4
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Welcome, Andreas, to the Mandolin Cafe. I'm no Washburn expert, nor Vega, though I have had a few of each including a Washburn 225 which I thought was a fine mandolin. Perhaps because they were close to the furniture manufacturing centers in the US, Lyon and Healy mandolins from this era typically feature exceptional quality wood, particularly the rosewood bowls and spruce tops. I believe it was Spanish Cedar (not sure what the latin name is..) that was typical for the necks--which could pass for mahogany. Beautiful stuff and the general level of craft was very high, as Schlegel say, particularly considering the volume of production they put out.

    I agree also with Schlegel in preferring Vega mandolins (all other things equal) but my 225 was light and responsive as well, though perhaps more so in the mid-level and bass ranges and less 'shimmering' in the high end. I do prefer the neck profiles on Washburn instruments to the more rounded-clubby profile I have experienced with Vega. I realize that is a general statement and has more to say about my hands then the mandolins. The fretboard may have been a bit wider on the Washburn--if I recall correctly, though I currently don't own one.

    You probably paid towards the higher end of what they run for, but if it is in good condition (the neck angle, of course) then it should be worth it. I'd invest in some good quality strings, definitely on the very light side. Dogal Calaces would sound pretty good on this, I bet.

    Let us know what you think we you get it set up and playing.

    If you hang around long enough you will meet our good friend, Victor Kioulaphides, composer, bassist, mandolinist (all extraordinaire) who will certainly share your enthusiasm for Cretan melody.

    Mick
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Wow, thanks for the help/info Mick - learning a lot already... I am a lot more familiar w Greek luthiers both in Greece and here - I primarily focus on pre WWII rebetika and of course play the Trichordo 6-stringed bouzouki -- I am no stranger when it comes to the makers and value/quality of older bouzoukia -- As far as American companies dating to the early 1900's I don't know much other than what I know about the Stathopoulo family -- I know he made Mandolins but I have rarely heard of them being offered for sale - I am huge fan of his early bouzoukia and then his son's bouzoukia as well.... Are any of their mandolins floating around?

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas1 View Post
    As far as American companies dating to the early 1900's I don't know much other than what I know about the Stathopoulo family -- I know he made Mandolins but I have rarely heard of them being offered for sale - I am huge fan of his early bouzoukia and then his son's bouzoukia as well.... Are any of their mandolins floating around?
    I know of none for sale at the moment tho here are a few pics of ones that were for sale.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Questions regarding a Washburn Cremonatone Mandolin -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I know of none for sale at the moment tho here are a few pics of ones that were for sale.
    Beautiful stuff - I don't have his bouzouki measurements on hand... but I have heard that the mandolins and the early bouzoukia were give or take the same size as far as the bowlback (skafos/body) is concerned - and that in the early stages/development of rebetika in greece where bouzoukia were illegal it was common place to make "mandolins" but secretly convert the skafos/body into an early bouzouki -- hence why early bouzoukia also have mandolin tuners even if it was six stringed not eight..... then with the greek luthiers zozef/panagis/tsakirian you sort of got the modern development of bouzoukia.... just some interesting info for you guys

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