general agreement: Stradolins sound good, but....

  1. DerTiefster
    why? Many people make nice-sounding mandolins. They aren't terribly cheap. The terribly cheap ones don't sound terribly nice. The stradolin form mandolins appear to be made from pressed arch plates front and rear. Their bridges aren't that sophisticated. The ones I've seen have elevated fingerboards, a positive thing.

    This isn't intended as a parallel to the Stradivarius discussions. I suspect there is an answer here, and I'm guessing it has to do with the maker's (Favilla?) f-hole placement, or wood (selection or possibly glue choice for the laminated ones) or bracing or ....

    I was musing to myself about the occasional broken Stradolin that shows up. Then I started thinking in particular my Orpheum with its apparently laminated back. Would I get an improvement if I pulled the back, steam-pressed a reasonable piece of wood of the proper thickness, and replaced the laminated back with a solid wood plate? If so, then why don't all fo the $80 mandolins sound like a Stradolin?

    Just musing....It seems to me that the production line must have been running fairly quickly. Were the entire staff dedicated and capable luthiers? all master craftsmen?

  2. bluesmandolinman
    in fact they are all good especially considering the price , even the laminated ones arenīt bad , but if you compare a Stradolin to a Harmony archtop mandolin (eg Monterey Models ) the Strads are still better sounding... so a laminated top is not a bad thing by itself... still big differences .

    regarding the reason for this... well this may be a question in the builders corner... I assume they know what makes an Instrument sound good ... and itīs not the binding for sure

    I guess there will be more then just 1 answer
  3. bmac
    Of course not being a builder I am guessing too, but I suspect it has something to do with the steam pressed arched top and back. By themeselves the top and back are not strong. The wood is roughly 1/8" in thickness > The back needs no bracing but the top takes the tension of the strings (roughly 125 lbs (if I recall) and the pressure from the bridge is significant also. the two transverse braces, one over and one onder the f holes, stiffen the top enough to resist the bridge pressure but not enough to deaden the vibration of the top. The bridge is not directly over a brace but a half inch or so in front of the lower brace. I avoid using the term tone bars though they may act as such... but they are mainly braces. If, as in one of mine, the main brace below the f holes gives way (glue failure) the mandolin top will sink and become distorted and likely eventually crack. In my casee I was able to reglue the large brace and cleat the crack so that now the instrument has quite nice action and tone.

    I have two, one with spruce top and the other with maple top. They are both fine sounding instruments. A little different from one another in tone, but both are outstanding. My other mandolins, all flat tops sound decent but thin in comparison, and I normally choose one of my Stra-O-Lins to play.
  4. epicentre
    Well it's a year later, but just for fun: Mine has one transverse top brace running immediately south of the f:holes. Leaves the top plenty of room to vibrate. And that it does, very nicely, and for a long time.
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