11/26/2016

1940s Strad-O-Lin Archtop Mandolin



This is a customer's old Strad-O-Lin, and like the many Strads I've worked-on before it, it's a class act despite looking a bit homely. The solid-top Strads from the late 30s and early 40s are simply awesome instruments and in the last decade or so they've come to be known for extremely good tone at a quite affordable (for the most part) price. The feel is also pretty good and comparable, more or less, with a Gibson A-50, once they've been given a proper setup.

I remember installing a K&K pickup on this and giving it a minor setup many moons ago, but the owner brought it in recently to get it adjusted again. The nut had worn-out a bit in a couple slots so I addressed that, compensated the bridge, and set the action. For 6 or so years' worth of service, though, it was surprisingly close to "right" when it came in this time.


The top is solid spruce and the back and sides are maple. I believe the back is ply but the sides are probably solid. This mando is all-original except for the tuners, too.



The nail-polish "side dots" are not the classiest and neither is the faux (painted) "binding," but we'll survive.


Earlier Strads often have these cute, narrow rosewood adjustable bridges.







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