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Thread: Is this a Stradolin?

  1. #1
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Is this a Stradolin?

    Beltone Mandolin http://r.ebay.com/bFhDcB
    Dylan -- I know my song well before I start singing. Me -- sometimes

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Most of the Beltone's I've seen have appeared to be different than the Strad-O-Lins to me. That one has some very similar traits and I'm not talking about the f holes. That one I'm not too sure about, it could be.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Those were made under a number of brands (Blue Comet, Medallion, Beltone, etc.) I had one a number of years ago. AFAIK they are always made of laminated wood.

    Mike, what SOL-traits do you see in that one?
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    The neck heel, the transition of the neck to the headstock.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The neck heel, the transition of the neck to the headstock.
    I've got a Beltone SOL but it doesn't look like that one with the funky looking laminated mahogany.

    Please forgive the up-side-down & sideways pics beyond my control.
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  6. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    The Mugwumps Index of American Fretted Instrument Makers lists "Beltone" as a trademark of the early 20th century New York distributors Perlberg & Halpin. Evidently they sold instruments from a variety of manufacturers.

    Here's what Lardy's Ukulele Database has to say about Perlberg & Halpin and Beltone:

    (Harry) Perlberg & (Abe) Halpin were New York instrument distributors from 1910 to the some time in the 1930's (in 1927 Abe Halpin left the company and it became Harry Perlberg Co. and I can't find references to it after 1929 so it is possible it was a victim of the Wall St. Crash?) They are one of those names that Martin is suppose to have made some instruments for, (records indicate they did, but only 12 Ukuleles, 15 Guitars and 10 Mandolins)

    Their main "house" brand was Beltone under which they distributed the whole range of fretted instruments, Guitars, Banjos, Mandolins and of course Ukuleles and Banjoleles. (The brand name Beltone was registered again in 1962 and used on Japanese Imported Ukuleles but I don't think this had anything to do with P&H?) They also used the name Wapiti on Ukuleles, and possibly other instruments(?), while they were still P & H

    They may have had other house brands, Blue Comet is a name that crops up but I can find no conclusive link, and as a distributor they distributed a number of instruments they didn't directly brand. I have seen an article saying Nonpareil Ukuleles were added to the 1926 catalogue and an advert saying they distribute them. I can find nothing on Nonpareil that isn't linked through P&H...


    The fact that these distinctive resonator mandolins were sold under the "Beltone" and "Blue Comet" brands, as well as others, makes one wonder whether they were sold through P&H and also other distributors -- or, alternatively, that both the brands were distributed by P&H. The Mugwumps Index doesn't list "Blue Comet," so no help there.

    The one-distributor theory might imply that some of the resonator mandolins could have been manufactured by whoever made Strad-O-Lin mandolins (Homenick brothers? Favilla? We don't know). The one-source theory would be that one factory made all the resonator mandolins, and they were distributed by P&H and maybe some other distributors, under different brands.

    I don't hear anyone contending that all these faux-resonator mandolins were made by the Strad manufacturer. Possible? Maybe, but IMHO unlikely.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    They definitely weren't all made by the same manufacturer. There are real differences across the spectrum.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #8
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    I believe during the great depression, instrument manufacturers were more concerned with making a living (not an easy thing from November 1929 through the early 1940's). I doubt Gibson would make an instrument today & put your name on it. However, back then it was more common place to do so. Hence all these additional names, like this "1930s" Medalist Resonator Mandolin http://r.ebay.com/P4AsOC Although don't think this Medalist is from the 1930's because of the cogs on the tuners, instead of screws.
    Dylan -- I know my song well before I start singing. Me -- sometimes

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    I don't think it was only during the Depression. Companies like Lyon & Healy, Vega, Martin, Gibson, Kay and Harmony sold wholesale to other companies and retailers to sell under their own brands. For instance, Martin made the first dreadnaught guitars for Oliver Ditson circa 1916.
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    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    These mandolins with a banjo-style "resonator" back are often said to be built by Regal, but they definitely were not. The most likely candidate was the old Oscar Schmidt factory in Jersey City; after WWII, it was run by United Guitars (builders of Premier, Orpheum, and other catalog-brand guitars). These mandolins appear in post-War catalogs from the same distributors that sold United-built guitars, mainly Peter Sorkin out of NYC.

    As it happens, I think it's likely that the same factory also did produce some (but not all) Strad-o-lin mandolins.
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  12. #11

    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Speaking of Blue Comet, just came across this Blue Comet oval hole, definitely needs some work but might be of interest to some. NFI. An interesting example to look at regardless.

  13. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    There are two basic versions of these I have seen. The one that looks like it has a resonator built-in (that juts out) and one similar to this oval but with the same plastic-rimmed holes. This eBay one looks like the second but without the holes in the top.

    Here's the eBay one (full pic is lightened for detail):

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    Here's the model with the holes:
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  14. #13
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    ...and then there's this, SOL inspired f-holes Stella Electric Guitar E201 http://r.ebay.com/fEjyh1
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    Dylan -- I know my song well before I start singing. Me -- sometimes

  15. #14

    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    I should have clicked the link.....
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Mar-15-2018 at 11:04am. Reason: perfection and correction, all in a day's work

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    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    It's a Japanese-built guitar, as it says on the label.
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by nmiller View Post
    It's a Japanese-built guitar, as it says on the label.
    oops! good eye! just noticed it has a bid of $1495! that's about $1450 more than my interest level in it......

  19. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    The other thing to note is that Kay, Harmony, and Regal all used segmented f holes at times early on. It wasn't a Strad-O-Lin exclusive and even Strad-O-Lin used different style F holes at different times in their history. I see no connection between this guitar and any Strad-O-Lin.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #18

    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    just noticed it has a bid of $1495!
    surprise, surprise, the sole bidder at $1495 just backed out with less than 24 hours to go!

    anybody besides me think this sounds fishy?

  21. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Of course. It's shill bidding.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  22. #20
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this a Stradolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I see no connection between this guitar and any Strad-O-Lin.
    Pardon me for trying to have a little fun. I needed someone to tell me I wasn't seeing things. It's making more sense now that there's no bid at that price.
    Dylan -- I know my song well before I start singing. Me -- sometimes

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