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Thread: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

  1. #1

    Default Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Saw this on Ebay, seller must know our interest in the mystery of "who built Stradolins", so he blocked out the maker's name on the page.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1935-Musical...item3f4d8bc972

  2. #2
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    "Jobbers don't dare show this Mandolin, because of limited supply"...

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    The company that owned and sold mandolins built with the Strad-O-Lin name has been known for years. The company or companies that built them has been the mystery and most likely will remain a mystery even if you buy that.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Well someone is willing to pay $85 (so far) to find out! Or----maybe the person who made that bid is looking at this and thinking "Now you tell me!"

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    Registered User pfox14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    If it wasn't $85.00, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.
    Visit www.fox-guitars.com - cool Gibson & Epiphone history and more. Vintage replacement mandolin pickguards

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The company that owned and sold mandolins built with the Strad-O-Lin name has been known for years. .....
    Who? I must have missed that piece of info?

    cheers

  7. #7

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    The Ebay seller writes "Buy this issue and you will be among the very few who actually know who made these fine hand-made mandolins."
    If the ad only lists the distributor, you could get a bargain on the catalog by filing a Ebay dispute.

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Strad-O-Lin was a brand name owned by Sorkin Music that became Peter Sorkin Music. Sorkin was a distributor, they didn't manufacture anything but owned many brand names. They were successful into the 60's selling instruments built by others with their marques on them. That's not unknown information. Now, the question is who built them and I'm guessing that magazine probably doesn't answer that. It was a cut throat business, people hid their sources and I'm not convinced there weren't multiple manufacturers.

    I think you'll find that Sorkin probably owned Beltone as well.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Strad-O-Lin was a brand name owned by Sorkin Music that became Peter Sorkin Music. Sorkin was a distributor, they didn't manufacture anything but owned many brand names. They were successful into the 60's selling instruments built by others with their marques on them. That's not unknown information. Now, the question is who built them and I'm guessing that magazine probably doesn't answer that. It was a cut throat business, people hid their sources and I'm not convinced there weren't multiple manufacturers.

    I think you'll find that Sorkin probably owned Beltone as well.
    Thanks Mike. I thought I had read everything that has ever been discussed here on Stradolin, but must has missed that particular piece of information.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    Thanks Mike. I thought I had read everything that has ever been discussed here on Stradolin, but must has missed that particular piece of information.
    If you have then you're aware of who I think made the bulk of them

    Even though the last remaining member of that family said they never built for anyone else he did say they were building that same mandolin since the 20's. I'm guessing he wasn't aware of the relationship his father and uncle had had with Sorkin.

    Since the Rosetta stone mandolin had the exact same pickguard and tailpiece cover that my branded Strad-O-Lin has including the pads I have to assume they came from the same builder. I've never seen that tailpiece cover on any other mandolins other than Strad-O-Lin's and Strad-O-Lin genre mandolins labeled for others. Since that builder just happened to be in the same city as Sorkin and had the capacity I think it's a good argument that they made some of them, perhaps most of them.

    Mike Holmes on mugwumps.com makes mention of someone that swore they were in the Strad-O-Lin factory in NYC in the 30's.

    I think the professional models may have been made by someone else. Maybe not.

    Anyone that wants to know the name of the manufacturer needs to start reading posts. Start with the Strad-O-Lin social group.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User resophonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Rosetta stone mandolin
    ???

    Can you please elaborate, Rossetta stone mandolin? Are you referring to the mandolin I posted images of with Homenick inlay-ed into the headstock?

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...light=homenick
    Sucker for a hard luck case

  13. #12

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Thank you Mike for pointing to the Ebay auction with the "smoking gun".

  14. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    The Homenick labeled Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin has been posted a few times over the years. I think it was a branded instrument, maybe a one off. I've never seen anything that suggested that shop had the capacity to build on a large scale but I could be wrong. We've had Orpheum and Weymann labelled Strads as well as a few others. I believe they were all farmed out.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    I believe the actual name of the Strad builder is listed in the "Book of Secrets" that each incoming president is given, along with who was on the grassy knoll, what really happened in Roswell, N.M., and other great secrets and conspiracies.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    We should be able to get a copy of that someplace
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Michael--you may be right!

    Mike--I did some quick research with a couple books I have plus Google. In the Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide 2008, Strad-O-Lin is mentioned operating from 20's-60's and operated by Hominic brothers in NYC, primarily making mandolins for wholesalers. In the late 50's, Multivox/Premier bought the company. Also, the brand Premier Guitars is listed from 1938-1975 and is owned by Peter Sorkin Music Company in Manhattan, who began in Philadelphia, relocating to NYC in 1935. First starting with guitar amps and pickups. After WWII they set up the Multivox subsidiary to manufacture amplifiers. Other brands they offered were Premier, Marvel, Beltone, and Strad-O-Lin. Most acoustic instruments were made by United Guitar Corp in Jersey City, New Jersey. According to that source, Sorkin acquired Strad-O-Lin in 1957.

    I also checked Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars, 2nd Edition, there is no mention of Strad-O-Lin, but interestingly there is mention of D'Angelico, the famous Manhattan builder of hand-made archtops, offering a lower priced electric archtop in the 50's with a plywood body made by Code or United, both New Jersey companies. On the electrics, D'Angelico made the necks himself and installed them on these farmed-out bodies. Not sure who made the electronics.

    So, if this info is correct it seems possible that the 50's Strad-O-Lin mandolins may have been made by Code or United, also. Just a theory.....

    And, it still wouldn't tell us who made the 30's & 40's mandolins, unless Hominic was indeed a manufacturer. Like you say, possibly more than one company made them over the years....

    The NYC/Jersey City connection certainly seems possible, due to close proximity. I believe Oscar Schmidt was also located in Jersey City (Autoharps, Stella guitars).
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; May-31-2015 at 5:18pm.

  18. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    I know where the Homenick/Hominick thing came from. It was a small violin shop. Not a very good chance they had the capacity. I'm pretty aware of the Sorkin history. As for the older books by the experts, there are a whole lot of blatant mistakes made in most of them. I can generally sit and pick out guitars that are attributed to the wrong builders. That's to be expected. Many of them didn't have the Internet to research on. The Washburn Book that came out a few years re-wrote history on that marque. Joe Spann's book re-wrote history on Gibson serial numbers. The company I think built them had the capacity and was in the right location and the last member of that family identified one of their branded models as a mandolin they had been making since the 20's. It was a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin. Oscar Schmidt is always mentioned but Oscar Schmidt is pretty well documented. Seems like nobody wants to read the previous posts.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Mike,
    You are right, the internet has made research easier, and in some cases, even POSSIBLE. A lot of the stuff in books does seem regurgitated from other sources and heresay. Once somebody writes a book, they become the "authority", deserved or not. A lot of the same regurgitation happens on the internet, only quicker. Things can rise to urban legend almost overnight, it seems.

    Last November, some of the cable channels were having tons of shows on the Kennedy assassination. Just hours and hours of never before seen local footage. That, combined with what is available on youtube, etc., is probably 1000 times more information that even the Warren Commission had in the 60's. Of course, it could be argued that even with this additional info, their findings may have been a foregone conclusion, but that's "another story."

    I probably won't live long enough to read everything you have written on Strad-O-Lins, but I did pull up some stuff and you make a good case for Favilla being the manufacturer. They had the ability to do the volume required and also had the location. I've been playing since 1966 and loving and studying every guitar I've encountered since then, including working at a vintage guitar shop, repairing guitars, and attending vintage guitar shows for the last 30+ years. In that time, I can't say that I've actually seen 10 Favilla guitars and I've never seen a Favilla mandolin--other that on the internet for sale at Mandolin Brothers....maybe it's a geographic thing or a distribution thing, but I can't count how many Gibsons, Martins, Regals, Kays, Stellas, Harmonys, I've seen. Not to say that Favilla didn't make Strads. Maybe I have seen 'em labeled as something else.....

  20. #19
    Registered User resophonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The Homenick labeled Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin has been posted a few times over the years. I think it was a branded instrument, maybe a one off. I've never seen anything that suggested that shop had the capacity to build on a large scale but I could be wrong. We've had Orpheum and Weymann labelled Strads as well as a few others. I believe they were all farmed out.
    Yes, I am aware of this. I own the Homenick labeled mandolin and started the thread on it.

    Since the Rosetta stone mandolin had the exact same pickguard and tailpiece cover that my branded Strad-O-Lin has including the pads I have to assume they came from the same builder.
    I'm more interested in having you elaborate on what you call a Rosetta mandolin (??).
    Sucker for a hard luck case

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    This instrument was identified by Tom Favilla as a mandolin model their company had been making since the 20's. To be fair Tom also said they never built for anyone else but then again Tom entered the business in the mid 50's. He might not have been aware of past relationships. If I pull the pickguard off my branded Strad-O-Lin it has the same shaped pads in the same spots. The tailpiece cover on mine matches up perfectly with that one and I have never seen that cover on anything other than Strad genre mandolins. It wasn't standard on any of the big builders that used that same Waverly cloud tailpiece. It appears to have been matched up with whatever material was being used for the pickguard. A second Favilla surfaced a few years ago that was pretty much identical to this one. Favilla did have the capacity to build on a larger scale and they were located in NYC. Do I think this is the missing link in this puzzle? I do. Does that make it definitive? No, it doesn't.

    I have owned these mandolins with a half dozen names on them including Marathon, Orpheium, and Strad-O-Lin. I have seen them with many other names on them. The problems with associating their building with the other big manufacturers such as Weymann or Orpheum is muddied up by the fact that I've seen Kay mandolins labeled with those same labels. It appears that they were ordering mandolins from other builders. I don't believe they were built by Kay or Harmony or Regal as I've never seen one with any of those factory labels. They could have been built by more than one builder but the bulk had to come from one spot. I believe that spot was the Favilla factory in New York City. Can I prove that? Nope.

    There are still quite a few Strad-O-lin genre mandolins floating around. There is no way a small one or two person shop put them all out.

    It remains a mystery.
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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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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    The other Favilla. More pictures in the Strad-O-Lin Social Group.
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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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    Registered User resophonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Thanks for clarifying that Mike. I had no idea what mandolin you where referring to when you said;

    "Since the Rosetta stone mandolin had the exact same pickguard and tailpiece cover that my branded Strad-O-Lin has including the pads I have to assume they came from the same builder."

    I'm others where scratching their heads too!
    Sucker for a hard luck case

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    It was attempt to get people to read. There's a whole lot of information on this site that never gets accessed. It's like going to the library and reading the current periodicals.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Final bid on the catalog was $261.33! And I thought the $80 opening bid was too rich for my blood! That's more than I spent on my Stradolin 2-point... I hope whatever was under the green card is revealed here (even if it does just say Sorkin Music).
    Last edited by Cousin Dave; Jun-05-2015 at 9:13am.
    "Certainly was a treat to me..."

    ~~~2-Point Strad-O-Lin~~~Home-made Fan-fret 5-string Electric~~~

  28. #25

    Default Re: Stradolin Mfg'r listed in musical instrument catalog

    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Dave View Post
    Final bid on the catalog was $261.33! And I thought $80 the opening bid was too rich for my blood! That's more than I spent on my Stradolin 2-point... I hope whatever was under the green card is revealed here (even if it does just say Sorkin Music).
    Exactly! More than a Strad-O-Lin!

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