9/05/2015

1930s Strad-O-Lin/Marwin A-Style Archtop Mandolin




This is a customer's nice old Strad-O-Lin (in Marwin badging, here) and it was in for some work to get it playing. It at first looked like it was in grand shape but then I found that 3/4 of the back seam was separated. In addition to that repair I also had to cleat and repair a top crack, fit the old but replacement bridge (and compensate it), level and dress the frets, and give it a proper setup and cleaning. The end result, however, is a supremely-playable instrument with that classic choppy Strad-O tone. Lovely.

This has a solid spruce top over laminate flamed maple back and sides. The build style is comparable to your average solid-top late 30s Strad-O of the mid-price variety but has the Marwin badging I'm used to seeing on Harmony instruments instead.




Thankfully this one has mostly-original hardware (save the bridge), including the bone nut.


Flat-profile rosewood board with pearl dots. The frets are brass and I took a small amount of warp out of the neck via leveling the frets. I keep these mandos strung with 34w-10 rather than heavier "bluegrass" gauges.



The period but aftermarket adjustable bridge was fit really poorly to the top and didn't have compensated G and A string slots. It's as good as an original one, now.










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