9/21/2012

c.1935 Strad-O-Lin Mandolin




Unlike later (read: late 40s, early 50s) Stradolins, this mid-30s model features all-solid wood construction and, well, fantastic tone and volume. I worked on an oval-hole version of this instrument 3 years ago and have been keeping my eyes out for a similar instrument to work on since.

There was some mucking-about on this instrument before I got it, most notably a hack-job bridge and sloppy back-seam reglues, but my work included: fret level/dress, new ebony bridge, some extra seam regluing in patches on the back, cleaning, and setup (including a tuner lube, of course).

Coming out of work, this is a rip-roaring instrument that easily competes with most Gibson products I've had my hands on. It's still surprising to me, even having had my hands on a fair share of these, trying them out.


The top is press-arched (I believe) with "ladder" style bracing, much like the way Regal used to brace many of their archtop guitars. Oh, and I forgot -- I had to reglue the middle brace on the treble side some, as well.

Note also that the bass f-hole has a chip out of the lower "f" hook. Someone probably bumped it at some point. Also fortunate on this mando is the absence of cracks -- there's a couple tiny hairlines (glued up) near the unbound edges on the top, but nothing to speak of in terms of "real" cracks.


Original bone nut, fun dyed headstock veneer, and cool logo.


Pearl dots in a dyed-maple board. Frets are in good shape but definitely needed that leveling and dressing!

Also: do you see that line around the top edge? That's inlaid like a violin's purfling is. Pretty classy.


This came with half a violin bridge cut down... I removed that mess and cut this narrow, compensated ebony bridge instead. I wanted to try something different so I kept the profile a bit narrower than normal (since there's a brace practically directly under and slightly behind the bridge) and "unbalanced" the feet cutout at the bottom, giving the bass side slightly more wood and the treble side slightly less. I tend to think this gives the bass a bit more depth, but tone is so subjective.



The sides are very plain-Jane maple, but the whole instrument has a mellow sunburst finish.







The back is true solid flamed maple and looks grand!


These brass-plate Waverly tuners, after a lube, work just fine. 


The neck is maple, and has a nice wide nut (perfect for my playing style which involves moving two-finger chords quite often).




Amazingly, the original Waverly cloud tailpiece cover is still there!

1 comment:

Dan B said...

Thanks for posting, I have the same model & have been trying to find out more about it! Mine sounds way better than the $75 I paid for it a few years ago :)