Nice - how does the Vega sound? I'm working on a Vega bowl right now and can't wait to hear her strung up (some way to go yet though...!)
Nice Stradolin. My recent restoration (lots of cracks) had a broken off point on the comma on the segmented f hole, just like yours. Mine repaired nicely but I had lost my entire front finish so I had no matching problem. I did not try to restore the original finish, but the top and nicely figured maple back are really nice, though not original sunburst finish. Certainly mine is a keeper as it has very good tone.
Tavy: The Vega is clear, clean, sweet, warm on the bottom, and has good volume. It's like a Martin flatback, but I'd call it a "Martin+" in terms of sound and feel. It definitely exudes quality workmanship when you pick it up.
Bart: Yup, I like the Strads. They sure are gutsy and have an uncomplicated feel to them, which puts me in my comfort zone pretty easily.
What a beautiful Strad-O-Lin!
I find it necessary to quote your website on this instrument. I think the information there should be included:
What I find interesting is that their body is smaller than your average Gibson oval hole A-00 etc. body. And indeed, the sound of my Strad-O-Lin (like yours) is very nice.Unlike later (read: late 40s, early 50s) Stradolins, this mid-30s model features all-solid wood construction and, well, fantastic tone and volume. I worked on an oval-hole version of this instrument 3 years ago and have been keeping my eyes out for a similar instrument to work on since.
There was some mucking-about on this instrument before I got it, most notably a hack-job bridge and sloppy back-seam reglues, but my work included: fret level/dress, new ebony bridge, some extra seam regluing in patches on the back, cleaning, and setup (including a tuner lube, of course).
Coming out of work, this is a rip-roaring instrument that easily competes with most Gibson products I've had my hands on. It's still surprising to me, even having had my hands on a fair share of these, trying them out.
The top is press-arched (I believe) with "ladder" style bracing, much like the way Regal used to brace many of their archtop guitars. Oh, and I forgot -- I had to reglue the middle brace on the treble side some, as well.
Note also that the bass f-hole has a chip out of the lower "f" hook. Someone probably bumped it at some point. Also fortunate on this mando is the absence of cracks -- there's a couple tiny hairlines (glued up) near the unbound edges on the top, but nothing to speak of in terms of "real" cracks.
Original bone nut, fun dyed headstock veneer, and cool logo.
Pearl dots in a dyed-maple board. Frets are in good shape but definitely needed that leveling and dressing!
Also: do you see that line around the top edge? That's inlaid like a violin's purfling is. Pretty classy.
This came with half a violin bridge cut down... I removed that mess and cut this narrow, compensated ebony bridge instead. I wanted to try something different so I kept the profile a bit narrower than normal (since there's a brace practically directly under and slightly behind the bridge) and "unbalanced" the feet cutout at the bottom, giving the bass side slightly more wood and the treble side slightly less. I tend to think this gives the bass a bit more depth, but tone is so subjective.
The back is true solid flamed maple and looks grand!
These brass-plate Waverly tuners, after a lube, work just fine.
The neck is maple, and has a nice wide nut (perfect for my playing style which involves moving two-finger chords quite often).
Amazingly, the original Waverly cloud tailpiece cover is still there!
Reading the comments above, I looked at the bridge again, and was surprised by how short it is, not at all like a modern bridge with the feet more or less outboard of the strings. Just shows there's more than one way to cut a bridge!
"What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman
Regarding the hand carved bridge used on the above Stradolin:
Having a shorter bridge on a Stradolin probably makes little difference. these Stradolins have no tone bars but a tanjential brace lies roughly a half inch below the bridge (just below the f holes) and that brace explains the forward position of the f holes Much closer to the neck than on most mandos.. The top and back are steam pressed (not carved) and the brace reinforces the thin even front against the downward pressure of the bridge. there are several examples on the internet of Stradolins with broken or released from glue failure and the top does sink rather dramatically when that cross brace fails. A second tanjential brace is located just above the f holes.
Stradolin made one deluxe "professional" model which used a carved (gibson like) top uslng standard tone bars... But this model did not use them.
And yes Ed: the original Stradolin bridge was a standard adjustable bridge with feet wider than the one above.
But what I wonder about is the style of the original bridge. When I bought my Strad-O-Lin it had an adjustable bridge. Yet the bridge was not of "the usual" kind. That means it was a two piece though not a compensated bridge. It though had little wheels to adjust the string highth with. I had a compensated bridge top made and kept the "original" bridge top. So what is an original Strad-O-Lin bridge like... adjustable, non adjustable, single piece... etc.
This instrument looks excellent apart from the broken off sound hole piece.
Has there been corosion on the screws that hold the finger rest? What material is the finger rest?
Funky and beautiful little critters these Strad-O-Lins are.
I wonder about the adjustable bridge. The top - as I said - was not compensated. This caused intonation problems. With the new compensated bridge top the intonation is acceptable. The action is quite low also. Tone´s great though. It´s got plenty of power too.
FYI, this bridge is just one I whipped up quickly in my workshop. I just wanted to try it out, since the brace on this particular mandolin is, as one poster pointed out, just a hair below the bridge itself. There are lighter patches where the original bridge feet were once-upon-a-time, and as another poster pointed out -- the "usual" original bridge type seen on these is a Regal-style rosewood adjustable bridge minus compensation.
Nice Strad, Jake. It looks like the one designated as model P344 on the catalogue page posted a long time ago by Jim Garber, presently photo #225 in the Strad SG gallery. The photo probably shows the bridge yours had. Price was $13.90. If I remember right, on Strads date stamped 1936 we already see some differences in the fingerrest, the bridge (that's when they went to adjustable), and the tailpiece. So 1935 is probably just about right. Someone posted another one like this not too long ago.
Bart, the Artist model was advertised with "graduated top", but mine has transverse braces above and below the f-holes. So it's braced like the other Strads, I think, except that the Artist has the f-holes set lower on the body.
Love the look of that Vega! You're doing good work, Jake.