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Thread: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

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    Default Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Always thought it would be cool to get one after reading about them. Was looking for a bit of a beater to keep in my office for lunch time playing and saw one on craigslist. Maybe I paid up a little ($310) because it has two stable-ish cracks from the bridge to the tail piece but I have a buddy who is a luthier who can sure them up for me. Things sounds really nice and has the cool faux tortoise shell pick guard and over the tail piece cover. Also the guy I got it from was a riot and had a 1910 Gibson mando family (mandolin, mandola and mandocello all blonde with the nice design around the sound holes) so I was excited to buy from him. Reason I'm posting is that there is a serial number on the back of the headstock. Not sure if it can tell me anything about the instrument. Either way I'm happy with the purchase.
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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    We've never been able to determine who made them although I have my suspicions. There were no serial numbers. There was a time when people were putting things like their drivers license number or social security numbers on things so they could be identified if stolen. I suspect that's what that number is. At times there is a date written inside under the top. Try using a dental mirror and a flashlight to see if it's there. By the way, you're looks very familiar. I paid $50.00 for mine with shipping many years ago. Make sure you post pictures in the Strad-O-Lin Social Group. I don't have those tuners.
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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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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Thanks, I'll put a post on there. Looks like your back is solid. My top is solid but the back and I assume sides are laminate. My back doesn't look as nice. Also, I don't have a strap button on the tail piece. Do you think it would be bad if I slipped a piece of rope through the tiny gap between the tail piece and the body?

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Chances are greater that it's all solid, I've never seen one that old that wasn't solid. Do you mean like in this thread? Look at all the posts. I added the strap button. That's a Frank Ford www.frets.com solution to no strap button.

    There are only a few that I've seen with two piece backs. Maybe 4 or five. Almost all are one piece backs.

    By the way, the tailpiece cover is pretty special. Most don't have them.
    "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: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    As far as the strap button goes I use these nickel buttons from All Parts. I generally replace the screw with a slightliy smaller slot head screw in stainless so it looks more like it belongs there.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    I think OP has found " 19 G 6137" stamped into the headstock. The two Strad-O-Lins I've owned have been number-less. Anyone else found a stamped number on theirs, headstock or otherwise?
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    I've never seen one. That stamp isn't real clean either.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Cafe member Spruce owns a Stradolin with a similar number stamped on the back of the peghead between the tuners. He posted several large photos of it on May 13, 2017 with the title "Another Strad-O-Lin in the Quiver....."

    I would post the picture, but not sure how to do it, technically. It is easy to find with a Google Image search.

    This is only the second Stradolin I've seen with such a serial number stamped.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Bruce's Strad is here. Same format, different stamp, horrible job with the dies. I still suspect it's a Driver's License format for a state. Who would buy an instrument with the paint all chipped off like that? The manufacturer would have done a better job. I'm not buying that it's a serial. Bruce's is a WWII era by the tuners.
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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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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Those covers over the tuner gears look like what National was putting on their non-resonator guitars in the late 40's/early 50's. I've never seen a mandolin version of those covers.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Its an old personal ID #, There was one just like it scratched into an old Gibson A model I had at one point.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Hey Jay:

    I am in CT, too, and I saw that mandolin on Carigslist yesterday. I too was curious about the 'serial number' that I saw pictured on the listing; (although I don't remember any mention of the cracks). Glad to hear that you are enjoying it. How are the tone and action?
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    The stamp on the back reads "19 G 6197". Yeah the ad didn't mention the cracks. I didn't see them until I got there but I can't move them with a little pressure so I think my buddy can fix them easily. The tone is nice and woody. To be honest I have barely played any other mandolins beside my Michael Kelly, which is very thin sounding with no low end and a Martin Koa. This sounds similar to the Martin with more volume. A pretty decent chop. The action is a little high but playable. About 1/8" at the 12th on the G string. My buddy says it can be lowered. The nut is not cut all that well and there is room to lower the bridge, but I'd probably just get a new bridge for it if I were to go that route. I'm not in a rush to change the action as it doesn't really feel too bad to me. Probably will be good to practice with it for when I eventually upgrade, which was my intention before buying this. This may make the need to upgrade a little less immediate.

    By the way MikeZito, hope you didn't stay up for all 14 innings last night. I went to sleep after the 13th, and a good thing I did.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    I really can't make out any sign of the wood's grain on the back, looking inside or on back. Although I MAY be able to on the sides.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Those covers over the tuner gears look like what National was putting on their non-resonator guitars in the late 40's/early 50's. I've never seen a mandolin version of those covers.
    I've seen them on mandolins.

    I just saw a set of these on a website. It appears to be a cover over an open set of Kluson's. I've labored under a misconception about these all these years. Thanks for the National hint.

    https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/view...a9a5abb5a87d69
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Interesting. Do you think these covers were put on later or by the factory?

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    At the factory, these apparently preceded the more common Gibson covered tuners that were seen on instruments from the late 40's through the late 60's. They would have been considered part of the tuners.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Well the guy thought it was 40s so I guess early 40s makes sense.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Pull a cover off. Are there screws holding the cogs on the gears or do they look like the example on the other one with a number posted above?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Last night I ordered a Stradolin that looks very similar to the original poster's instrument. Wasn't expensive and seller described it as being in excellent condition. Have a week to wait before it arrives from Portugal but looking forward to seeing what I've got. I'll follow up with details when it arrives.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Saw that one on craigslist (I’m in CT too), but guess I shouldn’t respond to the still-active listing! Hope it works out well for you.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Been told the tuners are nicknamed valve covers by some dealers. Regal Jumbo King guitars had them as stock in the 1930's. Collings/Waterloo has reproduced them for their version of that guitar. (Aside - I owned one of those Regals. The Waterloo is a lot better than the one I had.)
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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Been told the tuners are nicknamed valve covers by some dealers. Regal Jumbo King guitars had them as stock in the 1930's. Collings/Waterloo has reproduced them for their version of that guitar. (Aside - I owned one of those Regals. The Waterloo is a lot better than the one I had.)
    All of that makes sense. I've never heard them called that but the description is apt.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Can someone take a look at this pic and see if they can tell if it is laminate. Looks it to me. Can't see any grain in it. Same mando in the original post I made. My buddybfixed it up and I love it either way. Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Bought a Stradolin. Serial Number?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Pull a cover off. Are there screws holding the cogs on the gears or do they look like the example on the other one with a number posted above?
    Finally remembered to pull off the covers. They look like the ones in the above picture, not screws. Why did you ask that? What does that tell you? Sorry for the looooong delay. Thanks.

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