Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

  1. #1
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,810

    Default Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Today was able to get some time with my former Strad-O-Lin and compare it to my current one. The biggest difference as seen in the photos is width. The 1941 blonde is 10" wide. The sunburst is 9 3/4". It looks more significant in person. Also, the upper bout is shaped differently. Oh, and the headstock sides are tapered different. Both have inlaid purfling on the top. 1941 has a rosewood fretboard. Reading about another one on Jack Wildwood's site, I am leaning towards dyed maple on the sunburst. Bridges also different. Sunburst has a fairly thick base and ends are notched. 1941 has a more typical SOL thin base.

    The blonde has a laminate back and possibly sides, sunburst is solid back. That pattern is matched on the inside. Sunburst has changed tuners to old Waverly. Blonde is presumably original.

    Looking at these details really makes me believe that they were made by different factories. Against that is the neck heels and shape feel nearly identical. Same style construction with single brace approximately under the bridge.

    Sound? Well, pains me to say it, but the blonde has the edge. Maybe more than a little. A bit fuller sound while the same volume. Not that the current one is bad. Just the 1941 has some magic to it.

    Enough talk - here are some photos.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20221029_112647.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	581.1 KB 
ID:	203987

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20221029_112657.jpg 
Views:	28 
Size:	938.4 KB 
ID:	203988

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20221029_112757.jpg 
Views:	66 
Size:	867.2 KB 
ID:	203989

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20221029_112834.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	819.3 KB 
ID:	203990

  2. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


  3. #2

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Thanks for the great side by side comparison, Eric. Interesting. The soundhole shapes are quite different. End of fingerboard shapes are different. Dot inlays on sunburst neck are off-center. I bet if we could compare a larger grouping of SOL's we could find even more points of distinction. From memory I know various peghead stencils were used. I'm thinking we could chart a timeline based on features and year, at least on the ones that are date-stamped inside. For others, possibly dating by catalog pictures, tuner types, etc. Maybe someday a "Loarfest" type gathering of SOL owners and their instruments -- of course, the travel expenses would cost more than the actual mandolin, in most cases!
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Oct-29-2022 at 9:34pm.

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jeff Mando For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    25,829

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    I suspect that there were at least three companies over the years that actually built these. Maybe more. Things could have also changed as manufacturers found new suppliers and such but there are a slew of small things that are different to the naked eye. We had a discussion years ago about the shapes of the F holes and Jim Garber was posting all sorts on examples. The one on the left is more like mine, the one on the right is the classical shape and finish I associate with Strad-O-Lins in my mind.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  7. #4
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    It's interesting that neither of these have the painted on binding like mine has. How prevalent is that vs. real binding?

    I'm amazed at all the variation and would jump at a chance to go see a bunch of them side by side at a Strad-O-Lin nerd fest.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  8. The following members say thank you to Sue Rieter for this post:


  9. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    25,829

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    How prevalent is that vs. real binding?
    Most I've seen had painted binding. My current Strad-O-Lin was the first I'd ever seen that didn't have painted binding. Keep in mind they were competing on the lower end of the scale with people like Harmony, Kay, and Regal that were producing instruments that were being sold with the same sort of painted binding. The "upper" models don't appear to have been sold in heavy numbers compared to the base models, basically the same as the higher end models from those same competitors.

    The Strad-O-Lin Social Group has all sorts of models shown but you can generally set them side by side and get this sort of perspective. This is pretty cool. By the way, I owe you an e-mail. I'll send it today.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  11. #6

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    It’s astonishing. As I read more about the virtues and values of SOLs, my heretofore prosaic family instrument, dull of tone and simple of decoration, seems to sound better every week. Perhaps, after sixty years in my also simple fingers, it is experiencing a very late process of opening up. Or not.

  12. #7
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    It’s astonishing. As I read more about the virtues and values of SOLs, my heretofore prosaic family instrument, dull of tone and simple of decoration, seems to sound better every week. Perhaps, after sixty years in my also simple fingers, it is experiencing a very late process of opening up. Or not.
    Perhaps you're just developing a new appreciation of it and it's sound
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  13. #8
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Sarasota
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I suspect that there were at least three companies over the years that actually built these. Maybe more.
    I'm thinking more plus some of the companies had several factories with different names.

  14. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,810

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Update - won another SOL off eBay. Arrived yesterday. Took a couple photos of the new (to me) one with the older model. My impression is the newer one is different factory. Possibly the same one that made the Orpheum and SOL two point models. It also reinforces my opinion that the larger body instruments have a more powerful sound. Not as refined as the solid wood instruments. Definitely loud and apparently louder. At least to the listener.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0648.jpg 
Views:	23 
Size:	1.20 MB 
ID:	204182

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0649.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	1.15 MB 
ID:	204183

  15. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


  16. #10
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    I asked on your NMD thread about the relative sizes. Perhaps this is a better place for it. I think mine is the larger size.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  17. #11

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Since it appears to be an issue, our engineer suggests filling the respective instruments with water to measure the volumes.

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Richard500 For This Useful Post:


  19. #12
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,581

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Since it appears to be an issue, our engineer suggests filling the respective instruments with water to measure the volumes.
    Ah, maybe not
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  20. #13
    harvester of clams Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    2,464

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    How about rice? Inquiring minds want to know.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow Jazzbo
    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Gibson F5L
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  21. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  22. #14
    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Sarasota
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    There must be a way to measure the internal volume with lasers.

    Now, I just sound like Dr. Evil from an Austin Powers Movie.

  23. The following members say thank you to your_diamond for this post:


  24. #15
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,810

    Default Re: Comparing Strad-O-Lins

    Mentioned in the other thread - the older model is 9 3/4" wide and the 1941 and this latest one are both 10" wide.

    What I'm more fascinated by in all this is the 1941 and the older model have necks that meet the body around the 10th fret. The newest one is just shy of the 9th fret. All have the same scale length of 13 3/4". And all have just one traverse brace under the top just south of the f-holes close to where the bridge sits.

    Yes, eventually I will need to get all three of these together to compare the 1941 and the new one.

  25. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •