This is a gorgeous Washburn Bowl Back Mandolin from somewhere between the 1880s and 1920s. The sticker inside says "No. 1840" (serial number) but unlike later years the sticker had no "Model No." space. The Washburn logo is branded into the inside top of the bowl.  This mandolin is ALL ORIGINAL except for the bottom half of the soundboard. Original bridge, string cover, tuning machines, frets.

The craftsmanship on this mandolin is second to none! 26 beautiful Brazilian Rosewood ribs comprise the back with maple purfling between each rib. There is ivory binding around the ribs, top, fretboard and soundhole, and I believe the tuning keys are ivory as well. The inlays on the top and sides were meticulously done by hand. Even the tortoise shell pickguard is also inlaid into the top and not resting on the top. There are 8 exquisite mother-of-pearl inlays on the fretboard, and one on the headstock. The tuning machines are covered by a metal plate with beautiful work depicting the Washburn name, 2 birds, and some scrolling flower patterns.

The action on this mandolin is perfect- right at 3/32nds at the 12th fret on the G, and slightly lower on the E. Very easy to play up and down the neck. This baby really projects her sound! Tuning machines are in great shape and work smoothly- they do not stick at all.

The sound- how to adequately describe it? Angelic? Incredible? Choose about any superlative adjective you can think of, and that will begin to describe it. These bowl backs have a unique sound and projection that today's mandolins lack (in my opinion).

This 120+ year old mandolin also comes with its ORIGINAL TOOLED LEATHER CASE! It has been a long time since I've seen one of these cases included with a mandolin. It is not in the greatest shape after all this time, but it does work. the handle is in great shape. Two of the three leather straps on the buckles need replaced, but if you are a purist I would leave them be. 

Repairs- When I got this, the lower half of the soundboard had been replaced, and I do not know the reason why. But it is a very nice replacement job. I repaired a large crack in the back- see the picture of the rib missing a 1/4 inch piece of purfling- it was this rib that was split. I also repaired the neck, which was pulling away from the body, and which appeared to have received a serious blow at the body connection. The neck is now very stable, even though there is a crushed piece of mahogany at the base of the neck. I am a journeyman luthier and performed this work under the supervision of the master luthier I am studying under.

Bottom line- This is one of the fanciest and nicest Washburn Bowl Back Mandolins I've seen on here in a very long time. It is totally playable, and will stay that way for at least a few more decades. The wood is gorgeous, the workmanship is exquisite, and you won't find another like this any time soon!

And if you don't like it just return it for a full refund of the price you paid!

Product Specs

Very Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
Brand Washburn
Model Bowl Back
Categories Mandolins
Year 1880-1920
Made In United States

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Brad's Overloaded Gear Warehouse

Westford, MA, United States
Joined: Jan 2014

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Washburn Bowl Back Mandolin, 26 Ribs, 1880-1920, Ornate, Tooled Leather OHSC, FREE SHIPPING!
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