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Thread: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

  1. #1

    Default Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    I know nothing about mandolins, right up front. I was given this one basically as a throw in when I purchased another instrument on Craigslist, and it had absolutely zero markings on any part of it. Every instinct says itís a nothing special mando from Sears or Montgomery Ward or whatever, but Iím just not that informed. Before I pull it apart, clean it up, replace tarnished bits, can anyone confirm my suspicion? The only reason I doubt is that itís clearly been played a ton, and sounds better than Iíd expect of something very cheap. Either way itís always fun to add a new instrument to the collection, and Iíll enjoy playing around on it.

    https://imgur.com/gallery/pFq3dH2

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    Quote Originally Posted by IronJeff View Post
    I know nothing about mandolins, right up front. I was given this one basically as a throw in when I purchased another instrument on Craigslist, and it had absolutely zero markings on any part of it. Every instinct says itís a nothing special mando from Sears or Montgomery Ward or whatever, but Iím just not that informed. Before I pull it apart, clean it up, replace tarnished bits, can anyone confirm my suspicion? The only reason I doubt is that itís clearly been played a ton, and sounds better than Iíd expect of something very cheap. Either way itís always fun to add a new instrument to the collection, and Iíll enjoy playing around on it.

    https://imgur.com/gallery/pFq3dH2
    Your instincts are correct. It's a Chicago built entry level mandolin. Have at it. If you mess it up you can get another one off eBay almost daily.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    Perfect, thanks!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    It's not such a common cheap mandolin as it was not made by Harmony or Kay. I would guess it was made in the 1950s and this one below has also proved to be a mystery. The seller added Stradolin to his list and it might just be a very low end instrument from that maker- the dot markers being a clue to that suggestion.

    https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...kay-1878107456

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  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    It doesn't look to be in that bad shape. You might consider replacing the nut with a bone one and possibly using or making a different bridge. I don't know why you would pull it apart unless it is necessary.
    Jim

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  9. #6
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    It doesn't look to be in that bad shape. You might consider replacing the nut with a bone one and possibly using or making a different bridge. I don't know why you would pull it apart unless it is necessary.
    I cringed a little at the idea of pulling it apart. It's a cool looking old mandolin as it sits, IMHO.

  10. #7

    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    Donít worry! I intend to play this! Pull it apart was quick shorthand for replace the strings, lubricate the very stiff tuners, clean the fretboard etc. Iím not planning to break glued joints or anything. I do have another question about the tuners though. Is there supposed to be some sort of bushing around the actual part the string goes through? There seems to be airspace between those pegs and the headstock. On my guitars that would look very strange, but perhaps itís normal for this instrument?

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  12. #8
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    Other people know alot more than me, but my Stradolin does not have bushings. I think the lack of bushings can sometimes make them hard to tune because there is play in the way they fit in the holes. A couple of mine were pretty stiff, but better after they were lubricated. The luthier told me that if it got to be too much of a problem, the tuners could be replaced. So far, so good.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    The chances are the lack of ferrules/bushings was purely to save a few pennies- many inexpensive mandolins do not have them. You can buy them on eBay- the old sort and they may fit okay without you having to enlarge the hole- which you don't really want to have to do. They are usually sold in packs of six most often- so you have to buy two packs. I would not bother at this stage of your exploration of the instrument. I have bought stuff from this guy:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Set-of-6-Vi...6e2f%7Ciid%3A1

  14. #10
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    use light gauge strings!

    f-d
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  15. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Against the very slim chance I ruin a relic

    You can buy the ferrules at Stewmac in singles. Stewmac sells them in different finishes. If your Strad-O-Lin originally came with bushings they probably would have been like these. Your mandolin probably didn't come with them. I generally add these when they come through.

    https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-ha...r-bushing.html

    There are different reasons for tuners that are hard to turn. It can be a question of simple adjustment and lubrication or the holes for the posts could have been drilled slightly off. That's pretty common actually. As far as lubrication and maintenance goes, check out the late Paul Hostetter's excellent tuner maintenance page at:

    http://www.lutherie.net/tuner.maintenance.html
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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