A novel method for representing the transverse vibrations of sandwich beams as equivalent Timoshenko beams is developed. Special attention is given to damping modelling together with the evanescent parts of the solutions to assert applicability of the approach to any boundary conditions. Shear stiffness is evaluated based on current knowledge. The latter is then used to update the reference theory for vibrations in sandwich beams. Analytical case studies are presented to show the performance and limitations of the method and compared with experimental data.