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Thread: Is this how it starts?

  1. #1
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Is this how it starts?

    So I have a new mando in my life, a craiglist Strad-O-Lin, advertised as 50's but Mike E says it could be older. I think it's solid wood, at least the top, and even though the action is about the same height as my Kentucky, it plays easier and is really loud. I REALLY like the way it looks. The color is great, the matching pickguard and tailpiece cover are really cool, and it has a cool line down the middle of the back of the neck that I like. The guy selling it was the son of the owner, it was from his estate. Armed with just enough knowledge to be dangerous (thanks, Cafe!), I negotiated him down a fair amount. I paid $275.

    It's a bit of a project though. It came in a wicked cool old case, but the case is really musty. The son told me it had been stored in his Dad's guitar room, but it is what it is. The neck is straight (brought a straight edge with me). Maybe it needs a new bridge. Many of the frets are lifted. One of the G string tuners is really tight. The intonation is way off (sharp). Here's the worst part. So he also told me he didn't know when the last time it was played, and the strings have been on the whole time. I see some (hopefully minor) cracking around the neck.

    I'm thinking I will take the strings off and clean it up. Then I will put it in my back bedroom where nobody usually goes, and work on the case. Probably start with some leather conditioner on the outside. Then I am going to find someone to go through it for me. My first thought is Jake Wildwood in Vermont, he is about an hour and a half from me. I'll reach out and see if he can look at it.

    If anyone can help me with further history, that would be great. I think I am supposed to look inside with a dentist mirror. I will have to see if we have one.

    I really want to play it, but I am a little nervous about the neck.

    I think when it is ready to play, the Kentucky may well be spending more time in the Bada$$(TM) Chipboard Case.

    Sue

    PS, The guy also has a 20's Martin mandolin on boston craigslist and who knows what else in that guitar room. I didn't ask.
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  3. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Be sure to post these pictures in the Strad-O-Lin social group and look for others with the same features. I've had a few similar but not with the covered tuners.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  5. #3
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Be sure to post these pictures in the Strad-O-Lin social group
    How do I do that? I went over there and started a post, but when it came to images, it was asking for a URL

  6. #4
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    How do I do that? I went over there and started a post, but when it came to images, it was asking for a URL
    You got the Clarence White model! Better be learning that Byrds (Leadbelly) tune.

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Cool mandolin. I hadn't seen the "Stairway to Heaven" fingerboard extension before - looks like a keeper!

  8. #6
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Soper View Post
    Cool mandolin. I hadn't seen the "Stairway to Heaven" fingerboard extension before - looks like a keeper!
    That's funny right there.

    Nice mandolin at a good price. Of course you will have to have the frets seated or a refret. And yes, this is how it starts.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  9. #7

    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Congrats, Sue! Nice looking Strad. Mike, we discussed these tuners a couple years ago with regards to Stradolin, but made no definite opinions. I'm guessing they are original to the mandolin. They were made by Kluson and appear frequently on 40's National guitars, not so much resonators, but acoustic electrics. I just worked on a Chicago-made Buck Jones cowboy guitar, I think it was made by Regal, and it had those covered tuners. That guitar had a stamped date inside of 1944. On the picture of the receipt pad above, in the lower left corner in the fine print shows 10.44 .....not sure, could possibly be a date, at least for the company that makes the receipt pads. You are right out of a hundred Stradolins, you may find one with those tuners. Also, very few have that stamp between the tuners. Seems to also be a 40's thing, but again, rare enough that I can't form a definite opinion on. Yours may have a date stamp inside.

    I would say Jake Wildwood would be a great choice to work on it. He probably has worked on as many Stradolins as anybody and he likes offbeat stuff. (that's a good thing!)

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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Congratulations Sue, I have considered on of these myself. Probably would have bought if if I found it at that price. If you put your case out in the sun for a few days it will help with the musty smell. Take it in at night before the humidity rises.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    How do I do that? I went over there and started a post, but when it came to images, it was asking for a URL
    Don't start a post, go to Photos and click the Add Photo's button. It will look just like what you saw when you added photos to this thread.

    Too bad that Wurlitzer receipt isn't dated.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #10
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Thanks everyone.


    I saw 10.44 on the receipt and thought it was a revision date for the form.

    I've since exchanged a couple emails with the seller, Mike. He said it could be older than 50's, but that's how far he got on his research. His Dad's name was Arthur and he did some touring in the midwest in the 50's - 70's, playing (mostly solo) folk music. Later he played with friends. He was mainly an acoustic guitar player, so the mandolins didn't get much playing. He was somewhat of an instrument collector. It's nice to know a little history.

    BTW, he sent me some pictures of some of the other stuff in the guitar room. He said if I knew anyone who was interested... Not sure what to do with that, but there are some acoustic and electric guitars, a couple banjos and that Martin mandolin. Instruments I mostly know little to nothing about, and I have no idea what he wants for them. I guess if anyone's curious they can pm me.

    My husband and I were joking around about the covered tuners. They are Victorian, we decided - you don't want to be showing your worm gears Petticoats, my DH called the covers.

  14. #11
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Congrats Sue. I'd been watching that and the Martin for weeks, just a couple towns from me, but thought the asking price too high. Glad you talked them down. Martins priced high too, but now that I know their dealing with an estate...

  15. #12
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Thanks, Frank. Glad I left one for you :

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Really nice looking mandolin. Much better condition than the one I bought as a fixer upper. They do have a nice, dry woody tone. Thanks for sharing the pictures!
    2020 Pava Pro A5
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  18. #14
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Took the Strad-O-Lin on a road trip up to Vermont yesterday for a "doctor's appointment" with Jake Wildwood. What a great guy! It was a beautiful day for a drive, beautiful country, and only the second time I've been out of NH for some time (both Strad related).

    Anyway, it turned out to need less work than I thought, and he cleaned and set it up while I hung out. He put some compensation on the bridge, and added some new strings (ghs A250 light, which he likes). Wow, did it sound awesome when he played it.

    I can't believe such a great mandolin actually belongs to me! It's way better than I am. I felt a little bashful playing it when it was done. He gave me some different picks to try, and let me try out his blue chip pick (which I did like quite a bit, but not enough to shell out the $$$ right now)

    He thinks it is 1941-ish, because of the tuners, the way it is made, the case, and the vintage 40's strings that came with it. Solid spruce top and maple sides, probably ply back with a nice veneer. 2 piece maple neck with some other wood in between. His theory is, up until the war they were all made at a factory in New Jersey, and after the war, made in various places.

    When it was all done, he took pictures and today it is on his blog! (He really liked it!)

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...e-archtop.html

    He also did a little setup work on the Kentucky; it sounded pretty good afterward, too, but not like the Strad-O-Lin.

    All in all, a well spent afternoon.

    Oh, we talked about straps. He suggested a strap button on the heel, and showed me some ones that matched. He said he would do it if it were his, but I wasn't ready to see any new holes drilled. Anybody have any opinions? I've got a boot lace on there now, from the tailpiece to the peghead.

    Don't think I'll be bothered by MAS for awhile, anyway

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Take a look at this thread. It shows what I did on my Strad-O-Lin and my old Kalamazoo. Combine the two methods and your in.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...ton-no-problem
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  22. #16

    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Wow Sue, That is a really nice Stradolin! Like what Jake had to say about it's sound. I took a '40 to Randy Wood a while back and he had the same reaction. Thanks for the post.

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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Very nice Sue. I wouldn't drill it for a strap button either. I have a couple that other folks have drilled and I take them out and tie on the headstock. Not behind the nut as I feel it gets in the way, but above a tuner. I like how it feels better on your shoulder when tied on the headstock. A strap button pulls straight down and tied moves it across the back. Not that a mandolin is heavy enough to feel. but I prefer it. Enjoy that Stradolin.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    I use one of these to attach to the peghead (probably somebody makes one without a logo).

    D.H.

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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    I went to the blog and that Strad is incredible! What a beauty. I love the flamed sides, the grain of the top and the stair stepped fingerboard extension. Great find! Well photographed as well.
    2020 Pava Pro A5
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  30. #20
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    It looks great now, all cleaned up. Did I say how much I love it?

    So I sat there this morning with the Strad in my hand and some picks on the table in front of me.

    I had two cords of wood that needs stacking, some laundry to do, and garden stuff to attend to.

    What do you think I did?

    Right, I got right on the wood stacking




    ...Right after I played some scales and exercises, ran through a fair portion of the songs I already know and started on a new one.

    At that point I decided I'd better put it down for awhile or nothing would get done.

    Dave, I like that leather strap. I'll bet I could make one, I've got my Dad's old leather working stuff.

    Thanks for the kind words, and I don't think I'll be doing any drilling.

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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]187377[/ATTA
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    Here's how I do it.
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    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  34. #22
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    I like that, too. It looks even easier.

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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Congrats again, Sue! I read Jake's review and enjoyed the pictures. Great buy, IMHO.

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  37. #24
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I like that, too. It looks even easier.
    You can change the strap length by moving it to a tuner farther away. Subtle change, but east to do.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  39. #25
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    Default Re: Is this how it starts?

    What a cool post and a great mandolin! I love it when a plan comes together!

    Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
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