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Thread: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

  1. #1
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Saw a Strad-O-Lin guitar on ebay and wondered if their quality was of the same order as the mandolins. Here's a link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=STRK:MEWAX:IT
    Jammin' in South Austin with:
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    In the 70's/80's someone started importing inexpensive mandolins and guitars (and banjos) from Asia with the Strad-O-Lin name on them. They are garbage and are not connected with the Strad's we all love.
    "bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"

    --Jim Garber

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    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Didn't think they were worth anything at all. It is irritating when someone puts an old venerated name on unrelated junk.
    Jammin' in South Austin with:
    '70's Shiro A
    '08 Weber Bighorn
    '14 Gibson A
    LeCapitaine Accordion
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    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. E View Post
    Didn't think they were worth anything at all. It is irritating when someone puts an old venerated name on unrelated junk.
    I'm biting my tounge.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    That pickguard engraving is a crude ripoff of Gibson's 'Hummingbird" model - I'm surprised G. didn't kick up a fuss about it.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Apparently Peter Sorkin Co. of NY City bought or appropriated the Strad-O-Lin nameplate sometime after 1960. The label was attached to a wide variety of instruments, not only stringed. A number of solid body guitars were built at the Multivox company of New York, and distribution of those and the later Japanese built models were handled by the Sorkin company of New York City, New York. Other guitars built and distributed (possibly as rebrands) were Royce, Premier, Belltone, and Marvel. (I'm partially quoting a quote from the "Guitar Blue Book" whichever one that is.)

    I've seen Strad-O-Lin trombones, guitar amplifiers, etc.; here's a reference to a trumpet marked "Stradolin." Many of the later marked instruments were imports and the quality of the stringed instruments seems to be, by consensus, markedly inferior to the earlier mandolins which have a great "sleeper" reputation. Interesting, though, that the "off brand" Strad-O-Lin name had enough prestige to be desirable as a label for a line of imports.

    And Steve, needn't bite your tongue. I've spouted off ad nauseam about my dislike of taking former American nameplates and sticking them on a line of arguably inferior instruments, imported or otherwise. Epiphone, Washburn, Flatiron, Regal, Hohner, Oscar Schmidt, etc. etc. -- none of these means what it used to mean. Weren't all prestige labels, by a long shot, but the instruments now sold with those nameplates bear no relation to those made decades ago.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    And Steve, needn't bite your tongue. I've spouted off ad nauseam about my dislike of taking former American nameplates and sticking them on a line of arguably inferior instruments, imported or otherwise. Epiphone, Washburn, Flatiron, Regal, Hohner, Oscar Schmidt, etc. etc. -- none of these means what it used to mean. Weren't all prestige labels, by a long shot, but the instruments now sold with those nameplates bear no relation to those made decades ago.[/QUOTE]

    Don't know if you saw it Allen, but Capo, (There's an incendiary moniker around here!) the guy who's unhappy with his new Epiphone MM50 said the primary reason he bought the thing is the association with the Gibson name. Now he's thinking of upgrading to a Kentucky. I've had people who have only played modern Epiphones play my 1962 Olympic "Melody Maker" style solid body guitar with the EMG telecaster pickups in it. They can't believe it. Bought it in "83 on 44th street in Manhattan for $165.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    It is all the rage these days to resurrect old names. In almost all cases the present company has nothing to do with the original. It kind of offends me that Washburn is pretending to be part of a long tradition and releasing "reissues" and "centennial" models as if they had anything at all to do with the originals. Recording King and J.B. Player are two recent retro entrys into the instrument world. The biggest problem this causes me is when I'm trying to do research on an old instrument on the internet and all this new stuff gets mixed into your search. I suppose some of the old names are truely abandoned and maybe are up for grabs. People need to start looking and researching before they buy. Even Martin these days has so many different levels of quality in their line that just because it has the name it really doesn't mean much --you really need to look and compare.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
    Don't know if you saw it Allen, but Capo...who's unhappy with his new Epiphone MM50 said the primary reason he bought the thing is the association with the Gibson name. Now he's thinking of upgrading to a Kentucky. I've had people who have only played modern Epiphones play my 1962 Olympic "Melody Maker" style solid body guitar with the EMG telecaster pickups in it. They can't believe it. Bought it in "83 on 44th street in Manhattan for $165.
    Yeah, Epi was a great independent label when Mr. Stathopoulo ran it, and a decent second-line nameplate for Gibson when Epi's were made in Kalamazoo. Now it's even "second-line" as an Asian import, well behind Eastman, Kentucky, The Loar, Jade etc. And Gibson did the same thing with Flatiron, though I've heard better reports on the Chinese Flatties than on the Epi's.

    More than one person on the Cafe has assumed that "Gibson quality" somehow gets transferred to the imported Epi's. I believe that the "Masterbilt" Epi guitars (and, I think, banjos) that are being imported now, have received good reviews. Don't think there's a "Masterbilt" mandolin yet, though.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    And Steve, needn't bite your tongue. I've spouted off ad nauseam about my dislike of taking former American nameplates and sticking them on a line of arguably inferior instruments, imported or otherwise. Epiphone, Washburn, Flatiron, Regal, Hohner, Oscar Schmidt, etc. etc. -- none of these means what it used to mean. Weren't all prestige labels, by a long shot, but the instruments now sold with those nameplates bear no relation to those made decades ago.
    Without wanting to derail the thread, I'm not sure what Hohner is doing on that list. They're German, not American, and while they have been putting their badge on various instruments that are not part of their traditional core range of harmonicas and accordions, they've been doing that for a very long time. As far as I can see, the company is still the same and the name hasn't been passed around the block as a flag of convenience like those other brands.

    Martin

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    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    Without wanting to derail the thread, I'm not sure what Hohner is doing on that list. They're German, not American, and while they have been putting their badge on various instruments that are not part of their traditional core range of harmonicas and accordions, they've been doing that for a very long time. As far as I can see, the company is still the same and the name hasn't been passed around the block as a flag of convenience like those other brands.

    Martin
    I can speak to Hohner accordions, most of which are now made in China and not the same quality at all. Their Arriette "cajun style" diatonic is a piece of junk. Their high end instruments are still decent, but most vintage boxes are better.
    Jammin' in South Austin with:
    '70's Shiro A
    '08 Weber Bighorn
    '14 Gibson A
    LeCapitaine Accordion
    Harmonica
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  12. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin...Guitars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    Without wanting to derail the thread, I'm not sure what Hohner is doing on that list...As far as I can see, the company is still the same and the name hasn't been passed around the block as a flag of convenience like those other brands.
    Hohner mandolins, I'm reasonably certain, are Asian-made; I know that Hohner's lower-end reed instruments are Asian-made as well, as Capt. E rightly points out. The Hohner accordion that was once made in Germany is now made in China, but it's not given a different label or nameplate.

    Now, does that mean it's somehow inferior? Not necessarily. I have a decent number of Asian-made instruments by Eastman, Gold Tone etc., that are very well-made and stand up against American and European competitors.

    On the other hand, the only reason I can see that a veteran German firm would choose to move accordion production to China, is to save money on production costs. If the only saving is the lower labor costs, with no diminution in materials, workmanship or quality control, the effect on the consumer would be positive overall: the same quality for less money. If, however, the other factors are impaired, consumers may find they're not getting a "real Hohner," but a lower-quality copy.

    Doubt anyone would maintain that today's Asian Epiphone instruments (with the possible exception of the new Masterbilt models) stand up against the Epiphones that were made when Epi was an independent company, or an American-made line of Gibson instruments. So those who know "Epiphone" from its 1940's or 1960's instruments, are to some extent being "swindled" (not illegally, of course) by thinking that the Epiphone of today is comparable in construction or quality. Had Gibson chosen to call its budget import line "Shmergel" I'd have no case, but they took a respected historical nameplate, associated with quality instruments, and applied it to a line of budget-level instruments. Gibson sells dozens and dozens of models of guitar, banjo, mandolin etc. under its "Epiphone" label (314 hits at Musician's Friend alone), and some are quite expensive, higher-quality instruments. But some are at a level that shouldn't be associated, IMHO, with the nameplate that Epi Stathopoulo started in New York 75 years ago.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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