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Thread: No strap button, no problem

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    A year or so ago I asked how to install a strap on an A style mandolin that didn't have a strap button on the tailpiece. I got several responses and I've used most of them. Here are two examples of how I installed straps that might help people still asking the question.

    The first is the "Frank Ford" method of adding a strap button to the third screw on the Waverly style clam shell tailpieces. It would work with any of the clam shell types. Being a bit sticky about these things I searched until I found the right buttons. All Parts sells a Nickel plated "Gibson" style button. I bought a set. The screw was a Phillips head and too long so I went on a search to find oval head nickel or stainless screws with a slot head to better match the age of the instrument. I found a chrome plated slot head screw and that was acceptable. You won't find them at your Home Depot, check a large older Ace Hardware store. Here's the button mounted on the tailpiece.



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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Here's how I mounted the other end of the strap on a mandolin with an elevated fingerboard.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    If you don't want to install a strap button you can use a method like or similar to this:
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    If you don't have an elevated fingerboard you can attach it like this:
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-07-2019 at 11:13am. Reason: Error discovered after 12 years or so
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #5

    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Now I can see the usefulness of the scroll on F-style mandolin (I have one).

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    I have a late 1960s Martin & Co. Mandolin with a two piece cloud tail piece and no strap button. There seems to be one screw attaching the tailpiece and I wanted to know if I, a novice knowing nothing about the construction/assembly on instruments, can get a screw-in strap button and replace the original screw without damaging the instrument or decreasing the value. If so, is it as simple as taking out one screw and putting in the other?Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm a good musician but know very little about vintage instruments. I'm a violinist, but recently decided to branch out into mandolins and after shopping around a bunch of music stores, I found this one at a pawn shop. The pick guard was peeling up away from the body so I had that replaced (but kept the original one in case it has some value.) I'd be happy to hear any useful information you guys may have about it such as value, if parts look original or not, etc.Click image for larger version. 

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    The pickguard on old Martin mandolins will always shrink at a different rate than the wood. It usually cracks the instrument on older models where they actually inlaid the pickguard into the top. Be happy it just pulled up. They should be replaced. The old one isn't going to add any value. That is the standard Waverly cloud tailpiece that came on that mandolin.

    There are actually three screws attaching that tailpiece. You can see the top two peeking out from behind the strings. That's the same tailpiece on the two examples I listed above. I use this nickel plated Gibson style strap button when I add them to these but I get a shorter slot head screw so it looks right.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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