How old is this mandolin?
July 4, 2013 12:25 PM Subscribe
My friend has inherited a Washburn mandolin originally belonging to her husband's grandfather. She describes it as: It has the old pear-shaped body they no longer make and its serial number is 159996. The 'tortiseshell' plastic scalloped soundboard has cracked into pieces, but the rest of the instrument is sound. The tuning pegs may not be plastic.
posted by theplotchickens to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
My friend is trying to find background (namely age) on an inherited mandolin, and she's all kinds of awesome, so I'd like to help her. The grandpa in question was old when R____ knew him, and R____ is 60 years old, but there's no telling when in his life Grandpa acquired the mandolin. She's not trying to sell it; she wants to play it. She is interested in stringing it, but I'm afraid if it's too old that it may not be strong enough to accept the tension of new strings. (Of course, my instrument experience is mostly in harps, which, if geriatric and in rough shape, can explode if brought suddenly up to tension. I don't know if mandolins carry the same risk.) If she can't play it, I'm sure it will remain a cherished piece of family history. I know the modern Washburns are kind of a better entry-level mandolin, but the older ones may have a rich, well-developed sound.
If I could find this book
, I suppose we'd clue in (if it's prewar. It might be later). If we can't find an answer online, I may have to get the book for her for Christmas. But I'd rather not spend the money on a text we'd reference only once.
Any ideas? Thank you!