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Thread: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

  1. #1

    Default Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    I have two Orpheum A-type mandolins, both made in the 1950s. I would like to learn as much as I can about these instruments and I don't know if I can donate them (where/who would be interested in such a thing, etc.) or sell them. Any and all information is appreciated. They belonged to my father and uncle so I don't want to just toss them without knowing what I'm doing. Thank you in advance. Besides posting in this thread, you can also email me at castoff13@aol.com).

  2. #2
    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Photos? They were made by several builders like Kay. Also many are rebranded Stradolins.


    1935 Strad-O-Lin mandolin
    1917 Unbranded German fiddle (likely Lewis Lowendahl)
    Enoch Tradesman banjo
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  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Orpheum was just a brand name by that time and was applied to instruments made by other builders. Post some pictures.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Thank you, will do

  5. #5

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

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  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    The light colored one is a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin. I've owned two with that same label. I don't see an Orpheum logo on the second one. That appears to possibly be a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin but I've never seen that headstock shape. The other identifiers are right. Is that labeled Orpheum?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    There is a Strad-O-Lin Social Group on the Cafe that has a ton of pictures.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #9
    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The light colored one is a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin. I've owned two with that same label. I don't see an Orpheum logo on the second one. That appears to possibly be a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin but I've never seen that headstock shape. The other identifiers are right. Is that labeled Orpheum?
    took the words right out of my mouth


    1935 Strad-O-Lin mandolin
    1917 Unbranded German fiddle (likely Lewis Lowendahl)
    Enoch Tradesman banjo
    Outdoor Ukuleles tenor ukulele

  10. #10

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    No, sir, no indication on the instrument. I'm just going on what someone told me last year on another site. Your comment on the headstock is intriguing....it's possible the second one was made overseas (in Portugal).

  11. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    No, it was made in the US. Everything else about it screams Strad-O-Lin genre. It actually might have been modified. These instruments were made in the US for the trade. Check out the images in the social group.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    I have an Orpheum-labeled Stradolin, with the characteristic segmented f-holes,. Its headstock looks very much like the one on your second (lighter colored) instrument. Mine is a very nice instrument with lots of character -- it's not super-loud, but it has a wonderful, warm tone with a strong bottom end. It plays easily and intuitively, so rarely a day goes by that I do not pick it up and play. Mine came from an estate sale and was believed to have been built in the 1930s, but of course there seems always to be uncertainty and mystery with Stradolins.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    You are all amazing....this has been very helpful. The better one of the two was definitely built in the 1950s, I know little about the older one. On to the Strad-O-Lin social group!

  14. #14
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    That headstock looks quite "Kay"-ish to me. You folks are sure it's not a Kay?
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
    ... but some folks get by just making stuff up.

    Michael T.

  15. #15
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    It isn't a Kay headstock. I thought that when I first glanced at it but when it's enlarged it isn't. If you compare it to the Strad-O-Lin models it looks more like an off-center Stradolin Artist Model, like somebody moved the guide over an inch and cut. I'm sure it was done on purpose.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Who did those comma-shaped segments on the ends of the "f" holes, as compared to the round ones usually found on Strad-O-Lins?
    Allen Hopkins
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  17. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Who did those comma-shaped segments on the ends of the "f" holes, as compared to the round ones usually found on Strad-O-Lins?
    Everybody including Strad-O-Lin.

    I couldn't dig up a quick picture of a Regal with the comma f holes but I found a guitar.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jun-16-2018 at 11:18pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  19. #18

    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Thank you all for the helpful information. Unfortunately, I was not accepted into the "Strad-o-lin social group", so I'll do some other Internet homework before I post these in the Classifieds. I'm sincerely impressed with this site....

  20. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Orpheum A-Type Mandolin(s)

    Everyone is accepted into the group, there's no stopping anyone.

    I just looked and you are a member of that group. You have to be signed into the Cafe to get into it. There are 281 members. I created the group and I wasn't asked to let anyone in, they all got in by joining.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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