7/02/2015

1940s Strad-O-Lin A-style Archtop Mandolin




When it rains, it pours, huh? I worked on a 1941 Strad-O-Lin Jr. for myself a couple weeks ago and then today in walks this pretty little thing out of the blue: the next step up! Compared to the Jr. model (which is from around the same time... though this one has no date-stamp), this one has a slightly wider, less-deep body and a solid spruce top rather than laminate maple all around. It also gets a few more frets, though the scale length (13 3/4") and overall feel is very similar.

My only work on this one included gluing-up a tiny hairline crack above the treble f-hole, gluing a tiny side-seam separation, a light fret level/dress, and general setup and cleaning. I also made a replacement pickguard from a broken 40s archtop guitar pickguard (it looks the part). This thing sounds the business. Both the Jr. and this guy sound excellent but this has a bit more oomph for band work and a bit more crisp zing on the top end.


Strad-O-Lins were distributed by Sorkin Music in New York and I have my guesses as to the factory they were made in, but no confirmation (for sure) has been made as to who made these for Sorkin.


Don't you just love the sprayed-on logo?


The neck is dead straight and the frets were nearly perfectly level to begin with. The board is rosewood and the neck looks like poplar to me.


The "stair-step" deco single-piece rosewood bridge is way cool. I added intonation slotting to the top of it.


When I saw the missing pickguard when this came in, I knew immediately that this old pickguard in my bins would look right on it. Strad-O-Lins often have similar-style guards on them as original equipment and I traced the outline from the Jr. also in the shop right now.



The back and sides are laminate flamed maple... which is a nice step up from faux-flame, painted-on figure!


 The tuners lubed-up just fine.





Too bad on the missing tailpiece cover... but I'm not going to complain. I feel pretty lucky to have been fortunate enough to pick up two Strads in a short space of time.

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