Pictures of Wynn Mandolins from the Past

A rich Bluegrass Heritage

December 2009- John Wynn was cleaning out some boxes in the shop when he happened upon these two photos.  The top photos is one of Jesse McReynolds sitting on the step of John Wynn's Volkswagen Bus (yes, John Wynn had a VW Bus and long hair at one time) playing a Wynn Mandolin.  This photo was taken at the Sinks Bluegrass Festival in Eminence, MO 1979.  This Wynn mandolin was one John Wynn had built for himself, a close look inside the left side F-hole shows the name Betty, which is in tribute to John's wife.  In the right side F-hole you can see the Windmill Label he used years ago.  This is the same mandolin Jesse is holding in the photo below.

These are pictures John Wynn had from his collection. Jesse McReynolds purchased 3 mandolins from John. The story is when John first began selling his mandolins he went to a Sinks Bluegrass Festival in Eminence, MO. Jesse McReynolds was playing at the festival and John invited him to come by and play his mandolin and "tell me what you think of it." Jesse accepted the invitation and played a Wynn. Jesse told John "I'm not leaving this show without this mandolin." John sold his mandolin to Jesse. It was later played on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. This is the mandolin Jesse is holding in the picture.
The top two pictures are the front of back of a second mandolin Jesse ordered from John Wynn.
I do not have photos of the third mandolin.
Below is a picture of the Wynn Mandolin Jesse played on his A Mandolin Christmas CD which was released in 1997.

This is Wynn Mandolin serial # 2. It was built in 1964 by John Wynn in Ontario, CA. It is an "A" model that was built by trial & error. The abalone inlay is from shells John & Betty collected from the California beaches. John then ground the shells flat, cut to size and inlayed them onto the mandolin. It has been retired from playing and is in the Wynn family collection.

Pictured here are two of the five "F" style Wynn's built in California (1973-74). John sold the first "F" style to a local music store. These two were sold to individuals in California. Photo #2 is the beautiful Betty Wynn picking one of the mandolins. If you know where any of the first five (5) "F" style Wynn's are, John Wynn or his son's would be interested in buying them back.

Which one of these mandolins is worth over $150,000.00? I guess it depends on the owner. Pictured here are two Wynn's beside a Lloyd Loar model Gibson, yes I said a Lloyd Loar. The anonymous owner of the Gibson brought it to John Wynn's Shop and left it for an extended period of time (many years ago, it's not there now). While John made several attempts to purchase it the owner did not wish to part with it. While it was in his possession John said he "studied" it and played it to gain all the knowledge he could from this instrument. He is convinced that Wynn mandolins have just as good if not a better tone than the Gibson. In fact one day a friend came to the shop and John had him stand facing away from the mandolins as he played all three. The friend could not tell which one was the Gibson.

John Wynn has always had a passion about his mandolins. It shows in the handcraved back of this mandolin. John spent many hours in detailing the back, all by "free hand." It is believed this mandolin is still in possession of the original owner in S.W. Missouri.

This mandolin is known as the "Double Scroll." John Wynn said he was contacted by Bill McKeown of Milford, NH who wanted a "special one of a kind" mandolin built. He presented his idea to John and asked him to build it. John did so and this is the result. It is believed this mandolin is still in possession of the original owner.

This is the "Liberty Bell" mandolin. John Wynn said his imagination ran wild one day and this was the result.

What you see here is a picture of a younger John Wynn holding a mandolin built for Frank Sox. This mandolin can be seen on the 1970's-80's Page.

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A Zak Lampert Production
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