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Thread: Received my Ebay Stradolin

  1. #1
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    Default Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I've had an urge to tinker lately and after reading about Stradolins I decided to get one and it arrived yesterday and I'm in the process of cleaning it up. I think that it is a solid top with laminate back and sides, have no idea how old it is. No cracks, lots of scratches, and some paint (?) on it. The tuners seem to turn decently once I got the old strings off and put a little oil on them. Fretboard, frets, and nut seem to be in good shape.

    The seller indicated that there was something akin to a AA battery rattling around inside but that she wasn't sure what it was. It turned out to be a little Hershey's candy tube that I rolled over to the side and drilled into the end and lifted out thru one of the circles. I sent the seller an email to tell that the mystery was solved and she said that she probably put it there when she was a kid (the mandolin belonged to her grandfather).

    I've already messed up the bridge/saddle in that when I took things apart to clean the bridge came apart and I can't figure out how to get it back together but I'll post that in build and repair.

    Rob

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    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

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  3. #2
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Nice! I hope you love your Strad-O-Lin as much as I love mine!
    Did you get to play it before you started tinkering, or did it come without strings?

    Sue

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Thanks Sue! No, the strings were way too rusty so they were the first to go. I remember your Stradolin posts from a month or two ago, glad to hear that you are still enjoying yours.

    Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

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    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Looks good! I'm just starting to learn about these. Yours looks sound, in need of a bit of care. Seems to be missing a tailpiece cover and scratch plate (pick guard). But they aren't part of the load-bearing structure. At least you have a complete bridge with adjusting screws. Good luck in getting it playable - could be a very nice result.

  8. #5
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    yeah, some people are dealing with strangely glued bridges and various shims

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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I have an Eastman 605 and an old Stradolin my friend inherriited and gifted to me. I had the Stradolin cleaned and setup and it sounds better than my Eastman (except that I have one fret that isn't working on the E string, so I may have to get that fixed since I couldn't just hammer it in.) My Eastman is a far prettier instrument, but that Stardolin really sings. Seems to have a voice of its own.
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Luber View Post
    I have an Eastman 605 and an old Stradolin my friend inherriited and gifted to me. I had the Stradolin cleaned and setup and it sounds better than my Eastman (except that I have one fret that isn't working on the E string, so I may have to get that fixed since I couldn't just hammer it in.) My Eastman is a far prettier instrument, but that Stardolin really sings. Seems to have a voice of its own.
    Yes, that sounds familiar. I have an Eastman 305, it's well-made and looks nice, but it's hard work to extract any sound from it. The recently-acquired Stradolin barely needs a light touch of the strings to get a ringing sound pouring forth, right across the range to the highest frets.

    I really hope Robw95's instrument lives up to expectations. It certainly looks promising.

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    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I wanna know more about that candy wrapper.......
    1933 Gibson A-00 (was Scotty Stoneman's)
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    All these Stradolins showing up make me slightly regret selling mine to my duet partner. They really are surprisingly good. Enjoy yours.
    2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1935 Gibson A-50, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I have an Eastman 605 and an old Stradolin my friend inherriited and gifted to me. I had the Stradolin cleaned and setup and it sounds better than my Eastman (except that I have one fret that isn't working on the E string, so I may have to get that fixed since I couldn't just hammer it in.) My Eastman is a far prettier instrument, but that Stardolin really sings. Seems to have a voice of its own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt View Post
    Yes, that sounds familiar. I have an Eastman 305, it's well-made and looks nice, but it's hard work to extract any sound from it. The recently-acquired Stradolin barely needs a light touch of the strings to get a ringing sound pouring forth, right across the range to the highest frets.

    I really hope Robw95's instrument lives up to expectations. It certainly looks promising.
    As everybody knows by now mine is also wonderful in comparison to my Kentucky 200S. Like Elliot says, next to the Stradolin, playing the Kentucky is tough.

    Robw95, I have confidence that yours will be just as awesome and you will love the sound of it! Hope you get it back together quick!

    I'm also curious about the candy wrapper.

  18. #11
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Ha, the candy wrapper was actually a tube rolling around in the cavity of the instrument. The only way that it could have ended up there if it was put thru one of the circles of the F hole. I was lucky to be able to get it out on the first try!

    Does anybody have a guess as to how old my Stradolin is?

    Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

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  20. #12
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by robw95 View Post

    Does anybody have a guess as to how old my Stradolin is?
    It's worth having a careful look inside, some of them have the date stamped on the back, apparently somewhere towards the neck.

    (I looked inside mine and can't see any sign of such a thing, no markings of any kind).

  21. #13
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Hey Rob, yours is in better shape than mine but the one I have is a lower end sunburst from the 30’s. The tone is dry and its sustain is prominent. Congrats and enjoy yours!

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt View Post
    It's worth having a careful look inside, some of them have the date stamped on the back, apparently somewhere towards the neck.

    (I looked inside mine and can't see any sign of such a thing, no markings of any kind).
    Sometimes old ink stamps will show up with ultraviolet (black) light.

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sometimes old ink stamps will show up with ultraviolet (black) light.
    Good idea. I couldn't see anything via a dental mirror and flashlight, I'll buy a $10 blacklight flashlight next time I place an Amazon order.

    Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

  25. #16

    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    That's a good looking Stradolin, definitely solid top. Fretboard looks great, did you polish the frets ? It should sound great once you string it up. Congrats !!

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    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by robw95 View Post
    Does anybody have a guess as to how old my Stradolin is? Rob
    There is no way of telling the exact year of manufacture unless there is a date stamp. 1930's is likely by the straight slot (and adjustable) tuners but it could be 1941 or 1942 (pre-War). After WWII the tuners had rivets instead of straight slot screws.

    As far as telling if it's laminated on the back... see if you can match up the outside grain with the inside. You will probably need a pen light for the inside of the back.

    I would like to get Mike Edgerton's opinion on this SOL. He is the Grand Master when it comes to Stradolins. I think there is a good chance this has a solid back and sides.

    Also, don't worry about that bridge. I've had them come apart like that but there are only so many ways it can go back together.

    I gotta say, I am glad to see so many wonderful Stradolin people catching the deal of the century.
    Sometimes for only $186.45. Way to go Rob!

    Stay safe,
    Michael W.

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Looking closely at the painted edges to simulate binding, glue seams are visual. Compare what you see with the top and the lines in the back. i like it a lot and hope it sounds and plays to suit you.

  30. #19

    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Your mandolin has Waverly tuners- not Kluson units and this probably means it is from the 1950s, assuming they are original to it and not replacements. If it had originally had Kluson tuners then I would expect to see the imprint showing the scalloped ends to the plates. Here is one with the same Waverly tuners that the seller thinks is a 1950s instrument and he wonders if they are original but there is no imprint of an earlier set that was any different in shape. Indeed, they are exactly the same as on your mandolin which suggests both mandolins have original tuners:

    https://jakesmainstreetmusic.com/pro...=1236936359961

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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Your mandolin has Waverly tuners- not Kluson units and this probably means it is from the 1950s, assuming they are original to it and not replacements. If it had originally had Kluson tuners then I would expect to see the imprint showing the scalloped ends to the plates. Here is one with the same Waverly tuners that the seller thinks is a 1950s instrument and he wonders if they are original but there is no imprint of an earlier set that was any different in shape. Indeed, they are exactly the same as on your mandolin which suggests both mandolins have original tuners:

    https://jakesmainstreetmusic.com/pro...=1236936359961
    Great detective work Nick, that one looks exactly like mine.

    This might be sacrilege to SOL purists but I'm likely going to replace some of the original parts:

    1. The tuners, even after being oiled are still very difficult to turn so I'm going to get some inexpensive tuners.
    2. I want to put a strap button on the tailpiece so I'll need a new one of those since the current one won't accommodate a strap button.
    3. The thumbwheels on the bridge are still giving me a problem so I think that I'll get a new bridge/saddle.

    Watch out StewMac I'm headed to your website!

    Stay safe all. Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

  33. #21

    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I have a set of those Waverly tuners on an old Kay- they are replacements for a set of Kluson tuners- you can see the outline of the scalloped ends of the Kluson tuners at either end of the Waverly units which are a bit shorter in length. Kluson tuners suffered from the buttons going brittle, cracking and falling off- and that's why they were replaced. Today, you would re-button them but years ago, nobody would bother- least of all, on a cheap Kay mandolin! Now, the tuners were very stiff on this mandolin (which I bought for parts but decided to mend!) but I persevered with them- often you find it is not the tuners themselves- they can bind in the holes or the gear may be too tightly screwed down. Anyway, if you want new ones, then that's not a Big Deal. Obviously, if you get a new bridge, then you have to fit it to the top which can be a chore! However, as long as you enjoy your mandolin, that's the main thing. Here's another one with the earlier incarnation of the Waverly tuner before they returned to the "bell end" style like on yours that they had used in the late 20s- early 30s before going for utilitarian square ends- for the Depression era! Stradolins did have Kluson tuners but presumably went to Waverly some time in the late 40s. I need to get my hands on a set of tuners like this- with the five screw holes- three is common but five is rare it seems. You can see only three have screws in them on this mandolin! Should have bought the three screw version! It could also be somebody being lazy!

    https://reverb.com/au/item/5687200-v...olin-stradolin

    Here's another -saving money and time on screws at the factory!
    https://retrofret.com/product.asp?ProductID=7357

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    What with the price of strads, i'd think you'd find fewer people worry about replacing original parts -- they're funky and cool, but i don't see them as museum pieces that need to be coddled. OTOH, my strad has had a neck reset, new tuners and a new bridge, so i'm certainly not what you'd call a purist! My strad plays wonderfully with a nice carrying sound. alas, the neck is too fat for me anymore (curse you, osteoarthritis!) so it's spent more time in the case than out. The OP's looks like a lovely example and I hope is everything it promises to be!
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  37. #23
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Your mandolin has Waverly tuners- not Kluson units and this probably means it is from the 1950s, assuming they are original to it and not replacements.
    Were all Doomed , I tell ya! They are Waverlys! (My Bad) ...but any tuners could be replacements.

    I remember two distinct things happened in September 1970 while I was working in a music store... I realized, people modified their instruments (sometimes, more than they played them) and while I was thinking that thought, over the radio, there was an announcement that Jimi Hendrix had died!!! While I couldn't make sense of either bit of information, I moved on with my day.

    I have had several laminated Stradolins (and two laminated guitars) that sounded really good. I mean REALLY GOOD. Laminated instruments have been produced for over a century and some of the oldest ones play quite well.

    Listen to your instrument. It will tell you if its any good.

  38. #24

    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    Very nice looking mandolin, can you post a vid when it’s all fixed up? and thanks for the story about it.

    Well done at removing the candy tube, I got to thinking about how to remove something from a mando, probably some threads on that.
    One idea was a long thin rod with a dot of superglue at the end, the other my favourite, was a straw that’s attached to a vacuum cleaner tube. Never tried either, so not sure if they’d even work...

  39. #25

    Default Re: Received my Ebay Stradolin

    I think the candy tube is the Strad's version of a rattlesnake tail.
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