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Thread: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

  1. #1

    Default 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    This shows the mandolin range in the 1959 Sorkin catalogue- we see a couple of Blue Comet mandolins as well. Not a perfect spread I am afraid but it helps fix an era for some Stradolin types.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/11479055067...oAAOSw6wFgV6ju


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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    "Maximum tonal freedom".

    There's some '50s Mad Men at work.

    Mick
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Not meaning to diverge, but I wonder if Diego Garber or one of our NYC bubs could give us some lowdown on the Sorkin concern.

    This catalog cover from 1964 is amazing. Poindexter dude getting his one-arm Bennie Maupin on.

    Mick
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    The address is 6th Avenue at 16th street. it isn't near 48th Street or 28th St (The original Tin Pan Alley). The company was around until 1975. I started getting serious about music a couple of years before that but don't remember them being a place to go.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Interesting that the better SOL instruments seem to have the comma version of the F holes. Wonder if they were just using old ad copy?

    BTW, that catalog also has Premier guitars in it. Had one of those in the early 1990's. They were interesting. Fairly basic construction (like a SOL) but really nice DeArmond pickups. And strange stairstep tailpieces that I'm not sure anyone else used. The one I had was good, but suffered from rotting binding.
    Last edited by Eric Platt; May-11-2021 at 4:15pm. Reason: Added more info
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  9. #6

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Those Premier guitars were made by United. It seems that Peter Sorkin bought from United for along time- and Oscar Schmidt before United was founded.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    I assume that Sorkin was probably a distributor which is probably why Nevin may not have heard of them.
    Jim

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    Last edited by brunello97; May-15-2021 at 8:28pm.
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  13. #9

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Yes, that's an interesting blog all right. The Strad-O-Lin ad copy often mentions violin arched or whatever and this encourages people to consider the instruments made by a violin maker, which could have been owned by Sorkin. Others have suggested United as being the maker in the past, as well. On another matter, I was interested to read that Sorkin was the importer of Hofner into the USA. There is a seller on eBay now, based in NYC who is selling a clutch of vintage guitar pickguards which were unearthed. These have the guard located by brads and I have told the seller, they are for Hofner guitars but the listing has not been changed to highlight this fact. Perhaps, they were once part of the Sorkin inventory.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154293877612?ul_noapp=true

    Here are six- a bargain for a Hofner collector!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/15379182854...cAAOSwKHteGMdu

  14. #10

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Michael Wright interviewed Joe and Mark Saltzman for Guitar Stories Vol 1. They were both buyers for Sorkin: Joe from 1935 and Mark in the mid 60s, and they were part of the Sorkin family (Lou Sorkin was Joe's uncle). It says:

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  16. #11

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Yes, this thread has looked at the Homenick Bros:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-Bros-Mandolin

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Not really... the article below says they bought out Homenick in the 1950s. Lots of other catalogs featured Strad-O-Lin mandolins which were made in the thirties. This blogger continually misspells SOL as well as Monroe’s name. That doesn’t mean that that is true but he doesn’t give the evidence either but Michael Wright should be correct.
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  19. #13
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    When I sent a picture of the first Favilla branded Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin I found years ago to Tom Favilla he identified it as a mandolin his family had been building from the 20's through the 40's. He also said the family never made instruments for any other company except some bodies for D' Angelico but I know they did. Tom went to work in the Family business in 1957. I'm guessing he missed some of the things that had happened in the past, but as the stamp on these things looks pretty much like the stuff they were producing in the 50's and 60's. There are a few of the Favilla branded instruments in the Strad-O-Lin social group. I still maintain that Homenic wasn't big enough to have produced the volume and honestly some of the Homenic labeled items I've seen haven't haven't been real stellar as far as the inlay and finish and the Favilla versions look just like you'd expect them to look. Nobody will ever have a total handle on who built these just theories.

    Sorkin was a distributor. They were very good at producing ad copy. They were more like Sears than Martin or Gibson.

    The other thing I'll note that is I was working for companies in the early 70's that were still using catalog pages they had produced in the 40's and 50's. Things didn't change all that much. The printing industry hung on for a long time without much change.

    I'd also hazard a guess that Sorkin could have had old stock on hand for decades. Things just didn't change that much. Jim Garber years ago documented the different style segmented F holes on Strad genre mandolins over the years and that certainly could point to multiple manufacturers and I'd say United/OS, Harmony and Regal could have all had a shot.

    The one thing that will forever identify the originals is the clamp marks on the inside.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; May-16-2021 at 8:04am.
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  21. #14

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Is it not more likely then that whoever built Strad-o-Lins built a few mandolins for Favilla rather than the other way around? I'm sure Tom doesn't know everything that happened in the family company before he worked there, but I can't imagine he wouldn't know that they had made thousands of mandolins under contract. If they had made any significant number then surely there would still be bits and pieces hanging around by the time he started (not to mention that he would've been around the factory while he was growing up). There were so many crazes and booms for different instruments at that time that it's easy to see Favilla being maxed out making ukuleles and needing some mandolins quickly to fulfil an order, so had some badged up by a nearby contractor. It's obviously possible that they made some at some point, but if the strad style Favillas are identical in construction to Strad badged ones then it's more likely that they sourced them from someone else, rather than that they made a lot of instruments that they say they didn't.

    There are some Strad style mandolins branded for companies that United definitely contracted to (Orpheum and Stadium for example), and the connection between Melophonic (which United definitely made) and Strad-o-Lin makes them the most likely candidate. However, they can't have made all of them as they didn't exist until 1935 (as the Fretted Manufacturing Co) and the first Strads predate this. The most likely company to have made these early ones is Homenick themselves, as they had a factory and it must've made something, but I agree that Oscar Schmidt, Harmony or Regal are all possibilities, and may infact have all been used at some point.

    I think a comparison between pre 1935 instruments and post 1935 instruments will probably clear up some mysteries, as it might help to establish the fingerprints of each factory, particularly if there are details on the earliest ones that are only present on a small number of later ones. The Homenicks maintained a factory until the 1950s and as it was small as you say, the likeliest thing is that they were building the higher end instruments throughout the production run. That the inlays were quite poor actually makes a lot of sense if you consider that the background of the company was in violin building.
    Last edited by cerebarat; May-16-2021 at 12:25pm.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    I'm sure Tom doesn't know everything his grandfather and uncle and father did but the chances that someone else built an instrument for an actual manufacturer of instruments is probably less than the chances that a small back street violin builder built them. There are a ton of these still in circulation. Whomever built them had to have the work force to build them. Favilla was a decent sized shop at one time. I don't see a huge number of violins attributed to Homenick out there. I just don't buy it and I've been looking at this for years. I know where the Homenick theory started and I've just never given it any real credence. I also believe that whomever had them built had actual plans that were shared with the different companies that built them over the years, assuming there was more than one builder, and in my old age I've accepted that possibility. It's not like other brands that simply showed up labeled on known builders instruments. Mike Holmes has a statement on his site where someone recalls being in a a Strad-O-Lin factory in New York City. My personal feeling is that they were probably is a Favilla shop that was making Strad-O-Lins but nobody will ever know for sure.

    The early ones always display the same clamp marks inside. I've never seen one of the later ones opened up.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  23. #16

    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    When I sent a picture of the first Favilla branded Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin I found years ago to Tom Favilla he identified it as a mandolin his family had been building from the 20's through the 40's.
    Hi Mike, I know we have seen Strad-O-Lin's from the mid-30's with a date stamp inside on this forum. Have we ever seen one from the 20's with a date stamp? Just curious.

  24. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1959 Sorkin/Stradolin Catalogue Pages

    I honestly can't answer that question as not all of them have that date stamp. I'm always kind of shocked when one is marked.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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