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Thread: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

  1. #101
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I wondered about the script font on the headstock as well.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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  3. #102
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I wondered about the script font on the headstock as well.
    If you look in the SOL group, the other possible Star model has the same type of headstock logo.
    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  4. #103

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    In Jimocean’s nearby thread, the back and neck appear olive drab, or maybe a black paint that has weathered greenish. Does this color relate to a date range or a model type? And is it originally that color?

  5. #104
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    In Jimocean’s nearby thread, the back and neck appear olive drab, or maybe a black paint that has weathered greenish. Does this color relate to a date range or a model type? And is it originally that color?
    Yes, it was probably originally that color. And I don't think it relates to a date range or model type. Maybe someone else has a better idea?

    Again, a lot of this is speculation on our part. Unless there is a stamped date in the body, it's going to be very difficult to say what the year the instrument was made.
    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  6. #105

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    <Removed by Moderator - We limit commerce to the Classifieds - Perhaps a PM would be better>

  7. #106
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Reviving this thread - was pointed out to me that there is a wider body SOL in the classifieds with comma shaped f-holes. The fingerboard, pickguard and tailpiece cover look like my newer model, which is probably from the 1950's. So is this one a missing link? Or maybe a third factory that was using parts and jigs?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  9. #107

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I don't know, but I wish I had that cool old case for mine!

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  11. #108
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    And here's yet another one currently on Ebay.

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    I really wonder how old this one is, the script on the headstock, I think, is the older style. The color is unusual. Might it be refinished?
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  12. #109
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    And here's yet another one currently on Ebay.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I really wonder how old this one is, the script on the headstock, I think, is the older style. The color is unusual. Might it be refinished?
    Pretty much identical to the first one I owned. That one was dated 1941 inside.

    Natural finish was an option at the time. Solid top, laminate back (and probably sides). This one has a non-original bridge. The one I owned was powerful sounding. Easily the best of the multiple SOL's I've owned. Thankfully it went to a good home.
    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  14. #110
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Pretty much identical to the first one I owned. That one was dated 1941 inside.
    So ostensibly built around the same time as mine (though I have no date stamp), but looks quite different. I have the "stencil type" script on the headstock of mine, and the covered Kluson tuners (though I've recently replaced the tuners, the covers are still there). Mine is still my favorite instrument, even edges out the F2 by a bit.

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  16. #111
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Reviving this thread - was pointed out to me that there is a wider body SOL in the classifieds with comma shaped f-holes. The fingerboard, pickguard and tailpiece cover look like my newer model, which is probably from the 1950's. So is this one a missing link? Or maybe a third factory that was using parts and jigs?
    Were comma shaped f-holes being made/sold in the 50's?
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  17. #112

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Were comma shaped f-holes being made/sold in the 50's?
    Could be. With the likelihood of multiple factories sourcing these things, I can easily see a manager saying “You ain’t getting those commas at this price…”
    Or, “Those old commas are on all the competition, let’s modernize and see how that sells..”
    Or, “We’ll make a run for you guys, but we’re using our own tooling for those details”

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  19. #113
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Another argument for being multiple factories - I have usually seen the comma shaped f holes with the rounded top of the headstock. The one above has a pointed top.

    While I think the pointed fingerboard end, what appears to be aluminum dot markers and matching pickguard and tailpiece cover are from the late 1940's to 1950's, it's possible I am totally off on that and they are earlier. Making that assumption because the one I have came with a two tone soft case that definitely has a late 1950's look to it, although it is not marked.
    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  20. #114
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I don't know, but I wish I had that cool old case for mine!
    This one looks similar to me

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  22. #115
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Reviving this thread - was pointed out to me that there is a wider body SOL in the classifieds with comma shaped f-holes. The fingerboard, pickguard and tailpiece cover look like my newer model, which is probably from the 1950's. So is this one a missing link? Or maybe a third factory that was using parts and jigs?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Was flipping through the vintage paperwork social group and found this image #17 posted by Jim Garber. I952. On the upper right side of the image - looks like the exact same SOL, comma f-holes and all. (Note, I mislabeled my copy of the image as '53)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Nov-28-2023 at 5:30pm.
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  24. #116

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I'll include the one I recently bought just for future reference. I've done a lot of internet searching since I acquired it and have found only a couple or so online that are, I think, the same model, including the youtube video of the gentleman playing the tune, "Sweeping the Stairs". I cannot find any date or marking of any kind from what I can see inside the instrument.

    It had what I assumed was the original non-adjustable bridge with a straight (non-compensated) bone insert and what I think is the original tuners. 3 of those tuners were so hard to turn in spots, it took all my might with my dominant hand to tune it. And I had some intonation issues, especially with tuning the A strings. So I changed the tuners and replaced the original bridge with a Cumberland Acoustics Gibson style compensated bridge. Both of these are huge improvements for the playability of the instrument. And sound-wise, I was really surprised by it. It's got a great, breathy, woofy, rhythm chop and good volume.

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  26. #117
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Okay, here's another theory on multiple factories, which like everything else I've suggested on SOL instruments could easily be wrong.

    There are multiple variations of the segmented f-holes. In general, the comma end version has a fairly vertical F. There also appear to be some that have a more angled F with comma holes.

    On the bullet end f-holes same thing. The angled model appears to be more used pre-WWII or during the war. The vertical F seems to be more common post war. At least with what I'm seeing.

    Then there is body width, which I have mentioned before. The mid 1930's one I have is a narrow body, somewhat more slim than a modern instrument. Again, Jim Garber helped in posting a PMICO 1941 catalog page showing the H-2009 and listing it as a "concert sized mandolin with a deep, powerful rich tone." Am wondering if this is the body that became standard during and after WWII? But the H-2001 blonde model shown in the same catalog is slightly cheaper and does not indicate it has the concert body.

    I've now owned two what I assume are H-2001 models and they have a wide body. Just slightly less wide than an oval hole or 1930's A model Gibson. Is the H-2009 wider than that? Another mystery.

    Any thoughts?
    Brentrup Model 23, Boeh A5 #37, Gibson A Jr., Big Muddy M-11, Coombe Classical flattop, Strad-O-Lin
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  27. #118
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by fits View Post
    I'll include the one I recently bought just for future reference. I've done a lot of internet searching since I acquired it and have found only a couple or so online that are, I think, the same model, including the youtube video of the gentleman playing the tune, "Sweeping the Stairs". I cannot find any date or marking of any kind from what I can see inside the instrument.

    It had what I assumed was the original non-adjustable bridge with a straight (non-compensated) bone insert and what I think is the original tuners. 3 of those tuners were so hard to turn in spots, it took all my might with my dominant hand to tune it. And I had some intonation issues, especially with tuning the A strings. So I changed the tuners and replaced the original bridge with a Cumberland Acoustics Gibson style compensated bridge. Both of these are huge improvements for the playability of the instrument. And sound-wise, I was really surprised by it. It's got a great, breathy, woofy, rhythm chop and good volume.
    Your model was identified as the Artist Deluxe model several years ago. A member here named Bruce Clausen had one and the catalog page is in the vintage advertising social group. There are a few images of this model in the Strad-O-Lin social group as well that others have uploaded. That is one model that I suspect came out of another manufacturing plant. That model is way different than the rest of the genre.
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  29. #119
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Any thoughts?
    The width thing is something most of us wouldn't have had the chance to pickup on as most of us only had one at a time and it never occurred to me to document the measurements on the ones that passed through but it's a great idea. Perhaps another thread asking for a front and back image with standard measurement points would allow. The measurements without the images are not going to be all that helpful. Seeing the f hole type, headstock shape and measurements would at least give you a starting point to digest the data from. You will surely get some duplication but that's good data as well.

    I do know the oval hole model I documented when it was open was smaller than the one I had at the time. I just assumed it was because it was an oval hole. That was a long time ago.

    I also would place too much weight on the case. I'm pretty sure the majority of these never saw a case and the one it's in may or may not be the original.
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  31. #120

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I was curious about the oval hole pictured on the catalog page. It appears to have a different logo and a hole in the peghead?

  32. #121
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I don't think that's a hole. At that angle the artist would have had to be incompetent that created the image for the catalog to show it as a round hole that you could see through. As for the shape, I've never seen that headstock shape but they did all sorts of weird things within the genre. I've also never seen that logo on any Strad-O-Lin. I'm sure they built for the trade as we ave them with other brands all over the cafe.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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  33. #122

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Here's one that really needs a miracle worker- or a new back. I have emailed him to say it may well be an all laminate Stradolin Jr.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/235337012696

  34. #123
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I don't think that's a hole. At that angle the artist would have had to be incompetent that created the image for the catalog to show it as a round hole that you could see through. As for the shape, I've never seen that headstock shape but they did all sorts of weird things within the genre. I've also never seen that logo on any Strad-O-Lin. I'm sure they built for the trade as we ave them with other brands all over the cafe.
    Here's an oval hole model that I am fostering. I have two right now, and they are a little different from each other. I'm going to post a compare and contrast as soon as I take a few more pictures.

    This one looks like the one in the ad above to me. It's not a hole in the headstock, it's an inlay - kind of like a position marker. Do we know what year this ad is from? The one I have has got an A. Galiano label on it, and no date stamp that I can see - though I'm not positive there isn't one under the label.

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  36. #124
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Here's one that really needs a miracle worker- or a new back. I have emailed him to say it may well be an all laminate Stradolin Jr.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/235337012696
    How sad.

    That one's not too far from me. It looks like it sat in a flooded basement. I wonder if the tuners are hosed.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  37. #125

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    How sad.

    That one's not too far from me. It looks like it sat in a flooded basement. I wonder if the tuners are hosed.
    A mandolin memento mori, a lament of lamination; thoroughly screwed. But not beyond some revival, although very much uneconomical.
    The tuners look unworn, but are missing one cog.
    Pretty sure the top is also ply, although holding up better. The neck repair is fairly careful, and might have indicated early water damage. There’s a hint of something (screw slots?) below the f holes. One of the reasons I’ve always liked restoring things is seeing what lasted and what didn’t.

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