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Thread: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

  1. #1
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    A couple of days ago the delivery man brought me this Stradolin.

    I'm pleased with it, definitely satisfying to play. The bridge I think should be adjustable but for some reason the two parts seem to have been glued to make a one-piece bridge, which is a little too low. I temporarily raised it using a piece of veneer as a shim. (These temporary fixes have a way of becoming long-term).

    The original tuners have been replaced with German-made Rubner tuners which seem ok.

    The seller suggested a date from the 1940s, but a catalogue page on this website has a date of early 1950s. Model A15 in that publication.
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  3. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Wow. that's a nice looking one. Yes, the bridge should be adjustable. Wonder if the prior owner just wanted really low action? Am sure others can help you figure out where to find the hardware if you want to try to put it back to stock. The Rubners look really nice on that one. And bet it tunes better

    Cool that it has both the pickguard and tailpiece covering. Nice touch.

    Am sure you've already looked, but some of these have a date stamped inside on the back often near where the fingerboard overhangs.

    Enjoy!
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    That is kind of an odd looking bridge, isn't it. It almost looks like the bottom was sanded down at one time, as there appears to be the suggestion of feet.


    Sue

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  7. #4
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Thanks Eric for the response. Yes it looks good, there are a few marks here and there, but nothing to complain about. The action was very low, it could be played softly, but a firmer stroke and the strings would touch the next frets, I couldn't play it comfortably like that. Now I just relax, play loud or soft and it's all good.

    I did look inside, but I think I should look again, in my initial inspection I was just very excited, might have missed something.

  8. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    The original tuners would have helped date it but I take it for earlier than the 50's. The bridge needs looks like somebody took an adjustable bridge and glued some pieces together then had to stack some veneer under it to raise it, at least I hope it's veneer.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #6
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Mike, I put the veneer there myself on the day I got it. It was intended just as a "proof of concept" to give an idea of what was needed. I can only assume the previous owner hadn't played it much 'in anger' recently. Maybe the top or neck shifted over the years, though it looks in solid condition and the neck is ok.

  10. #7

    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Looks like the original, adjustable bridge that has indeed been glued together which would explain the low action. Nice looking mandolin, right Eric the matching pickguard and tailpiece cover are a nice rare touch.

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  12. #8
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Another look at the bridge:
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    and the catalogue pages shared by Jim Garber. He gave the catalogue dates as 1952 and 1953.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a...hmentid=180505
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a...hmentid=180509
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    Last edited by Cobalt; Aug-09-2020 at 11:52am. Reason: added photo

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  14. #9
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Good looking Strad-O-Lin. I would think that if a well fit adjustable bridge were to be installed, it would sound much better then it might currently.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  16. #10
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Good looking Strad-O-Lin. I would think that if a well fit adjustable bridge were to be installed, it would sound much better then it might currently.
    Yes, that's an interesting thought. When I first got the instrument various ideas such as replacing the bridge with an adjustable one, or having one custom made, occurred to me. But in the short term, I just spent five minutes hastily putting something under there so I could tune it. And you know what? It sounds good. At the moment, all I'm planning to do is to try to do a tidier and cleaner-edged job - but since it sounds so good, I'm not feeling any need to hurry. My main concern is whether anything I do might damage the top of the mandolin. I don't think there's any immediate problem there.

    As to the difference in sound between an adjustable versus a one-piece bridge, I guess that's been debated endlessly already. It's not something I feel strongly about.

  17. #11
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The original tuners would have helped date it but I take it for earlier than the 50's.
    I think mine is similar to the Stradolin of forum-member Spruce. Here's the tuners:


    Photo credit:@Spruce
    Note: above photos are NOT of my mandolin, they are shared for reference/comparison only.


    Another feature which I thought might help with categorising and possibly with dating, is the shape of the fretboard. This is a photo of my own Stradolin:
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  18. #12
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt View Post
    Yes, that's an interesting thought. When I first got the instrument various ideas such as replacing the bridge with an adjustable one, or having one custom made, occurred to me. But in the short term, I just spent five minutes hastily putting something under there so I could tune it. And you know what? It sounds good. At the moment, all I'm planning to do is to try to do a tidier and cleaner-edged job - but since it sounds so good, I'm not feeling any need to hurry. My main concern is whether anything I do might damage the top of the mandolin. I don't think there's any immediate problem there.
    As to the difference in sound between an adjustable versus a one-piece bridge, I guess that's been debated endlessly already. It's not something I feel strongly about.
    That bridge looks like a 2X4. I can't believe, no matter how good it sounds, that a bridge with less mass would sound better, more volume , more open and clear notes!!

  19. #13
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    That bridge looks like a 2X4. I can't believe, no matter how good it sounds, that a bridge with less mass would sound better, more volume , more open and clear notes!!
    Well, I can't read the mind of the previous owner(s) of this instrument, but by removing two metal bolts and two metal adjusting-wheels, then gluing, the bridge itself has indeed been made lighter and more rigid than a typical Stradolin bridge. The empty screw-holes are visible from under the base of the bridge.

  20. #14
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acquired a Strad-O-Lin

    Anyway, I thought I'd add a quick sound sample, doesn't cover all the capabilities of the mandolin, but it's something. (mistakes included free of charge)
    Attached Files Attached Files

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