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Thread: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Not the sort of thing you tend to see on this side of the Atlantic so it took some time to recognise one. The good old British Broadcorping Castration has just finished re-showing the first series (1995) of the ďTransatlantic SessionsĒ and in the final spasm (part 6 - for some reason they donít seem to be showing part 7) Russ Barrenbeg appears with a rather battered Stradolin. Sounded good to me; mainly strummed.

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  3. #52
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Wow! That's a cool find. Rare too.

    Looks to be a pre-WWII model with the oval hole. There have been a couple documented out there, but not many. Glad you found an original style bridge.

    A couple of questions for you - what is the scale length of that one? Regular 13 3/4" or shorter? Also, what is the body width? My oldest Strad-O-Lin is 9 1/2" wide. That one looks about the same.

    And like Sue, I'm also looking for one of those. Betting it sound great.
    I thought I had one at one point last summer. The seller turned out to be less than honorable.


    I'm planning to put one like Alan's on my next SOL shirt design, along with a 2-pointer
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  5. #53
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I think that was the first SOL I ever saw probably in the late 1970s at the New England Folk festival. Russ was jamming with some folks in a courtyard playing that thing and I marveled at the tone.
    Jim

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  7. #54

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    It was a gift from my Sis-in-law, who really had no idea what she found - we are both antique dealers and thought it would look cool hanging on the wall in my music room! I had never heard of Strad mandolins and was shocked to hear how good it sounded after set- up! I may sell it someday - if I do, I'll post it on Mandocafe.
    Best to you,
    Nina

  8. #55

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    It has a scale length of 13 3/4. The body width is 10". You're right about the tone. It sounds warm and old-timey! I just posted some pics of the date inside stamped: Jun 5 1936. I had never even heard of Strad O Lin before receiving this Mando as a gift and started researching it. So happy to find this group on Mandocafe! When I got it, I put some cheap strings on it just to hear how it sounded ( I was out of town at the time). I'm going to put some nice Thomasik- Infeld flat wound strings on and post a video or Soundcloud to let y'all hear it!

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  10. #56

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    It has a scale length of 13 3/4. The body width is 10". You're right about the tone. It sounds warm and old-timey! I just posted some pics of the date inside stamped: Jun 5 1936. I had never even heard of Strad O Lin before receiving this Mando as a gift and started researching it. So happy to find this group on Mandocafe! When I got it, I put some cheap strings on it just to hear how it sounded ( I was out of town at the time). I'm going to put some nice Thomasik- Infeld flat wound strings on and post a video or Soundcloud to let y'all hear it!

  11. #57
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ninarizzo View Post
    Here are photos of my 1936 Strad O Lin mandolin. I think it may be a 660 Serenader model.
    Hi, Nina, nice mandolin you've got there! I'm not sure if you've seen this old catalogue page from 1936 or so in the SOL social club photo album. Your model might be the one in the middle.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #58
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    The one on the right (above) is the "Artist Deluxe" model I played for ten years or so before passing it on to another player. Some photos are on the last page of the social club's album. This thread has got me missing that instrument. I just found an old demo I recorded on it long ago, a little tune call Straddlin'. Here it is:

    (Edit: Imbed didn't work, will try to post properly later.)

  14. #59
    Registered User mandopaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I think this was re-finished, and the head stock logo where Stradolin was had been sanded off. Inside, there is April 24, 1938 somewhat visible in the pic i took here. Solid top, and the back is lam. maple from looks of it, see last pic where back is lifting a bit where sides meet. It plays well, good feel very light almost delicate but solid at same time. it sounds very woody. Some say Favilla may be maker of some of them, and just the way this looks at the elevated fret board extension above top - it looks kind of thin, gracefully made to me.
    F holes i've noticed change probably with manufactures, as in the comma on others and here the circles as well as shape of headstock, some have pointed top, this one has rounded. The F holes themselves seem to be higher up on the top on this one and angled in more than others i've seen too.






    Last edited by mandopaul; Jan-31-2023 at 9:42pm.

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  16. #60

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Hi all, new to the forum.
    I'm looking at a Strad-O-Lin this evening, Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	205832 I'm currently using a Cedar Docy onstage, sweet tone but feedback issues so I'm willing to compromise a bit of tone to get free of the howl. Doing mostly Steve Earle, Shanty's, some bluegrass, some originals...
    I tried a Godin, really wanted to like it but it just felt and played very poorly.
    So this looks interesting,have not had any experience with Strad's before. Of course I'll know once I hold it whether it's a playable contender or not but just thought I'd ask around to you experts and see if you have any advice before I go check it out.Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #61
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Post a picture of the Docy as well. Those are really interesting.

    That appears to be a later model Strad-O-Lin and was probably all laminated.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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  18. #62
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Depending on what you are using and how loud you are playing you could get feedback on any acoustic instrument. A solid body would be more feedback resistant.
    Playability can be good or bad on anything, but, can be made to be outstanding depending on what is wrong and how much you want to spend.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  19. #63

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Post a picture of the Docy as well. Those are really interesting.

    That appears to be a later model Strad-O-Lin and was probably all laminated.

    Will send the Docy pic after work.
    In your opinion, is the Strad-O worth a look? Don't wish to waste my time if it's a 'don't touch at any price' lol.

    L

  20. #64

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Ya that's been the journey. Docy has the f-holes filled with foam, a top of the line K&K (after trying many). It feeds back more than my acoustic guitars, banjo or Dobro. Using Parametric EQ, etc etc blah blah.

    So on to trying other solid bodies.

    And yes of course anything can be made 'better' but IMO only if I like the instrument enough to begin with. The Godin wasn't it.

  21. #65

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I'm confused, did SOL make an electric or is this a conversion? Looks kinda cool!

  22. #66

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Here’s another in blonde from a 2012 post, so a port-less SOL electric must have been a product. Anyway, with or without a sound port, the top and inside can both be driven by soundwaves, so yes, it’s more of a feedback machine than anything solid. I assume that it is hollow and built like the regular acoustic ones. The finish is a mahogany veneer used on other model’s backs and possibly sometimes, tops.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a...8&d=1339138657

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  24. #67

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Hereís another in blonde from a 2012 post, so a port-less SOL electric must have been a product. Anyway, with or without a sound port, the top and inside can both be driven by soundwaves, so yes, itís more of a feedback machine than anything solid. I assume that it is hollow and built like the regular acoustic ones. The finish is a mahogany veneer used on other modelís backs and possibly sometimes, tops.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a...8&d=1339138657
    Thanks for that info. The ad states that it's one of a very few so if that is factual info, I assume it means others were manufactured... , of course it's likely no one would have made a body with NO holes for any other reason so likely it is original. We'll find out.
    Agreed it's not a 'solid body', so the whole thing will still resonate and likely feed back somewhat- but hopefully less than the f-hole Docy. We'll see! Only way to find out is to buy it and get it onstage. (if it plays decently).
    I don't have any gigs until end of this month but I'll post again with pics if I buy it and then again after putting it into battle conditions.

  25. #68
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    If it feeds back you can remove the pickup and put foam inside, or a sound post under the bridge. That will cut the feedback considerably. Of course it won't have much sound acoustically, but if you want a plug in instrument it will work better.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  26. #69

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If it feeds back you can remove the pickup and put foam inside, or a sound post under the bridge. That will cut the feedback considerably. Of course it won't have much sound acoustically, but if you want a plug in instrument it will work better.
    Good advice, thanks. That would work for me since the Docy is my acoustic /lower volume plugged instrument and this would be just for louder gigs where I am willing to sacrifice some tone in exchange for not including 'howling' as part of my solos lol.

  27. #70

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Thanks Bruce! It does look like it - the only difference is the pick guard - mine has a much bigger one than this catalog pic. Hard to tell....

  28. #71
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by LouN View Post
    Good advice, thanks. That would work for me since the Docy is my acoustic /lower volume plugged instrument and this would be just for louder gigs where I am willing to sacrifice some tone in exchange for not including 'howling' as part of my solos lol.
    You won't sacrifice any tone when plugged in, only acoustic playing.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  29. #72
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    That electric model looks to be the same body as my Stadium branded SOL. It's an oval hole, so wouldn't be surprised if the builder just cut the hole differently for a pickup.

    Mine isn't playable right now, but it does work and the neck is about the same as other Strad-O-Lins. All laminate mahogany body and the fingerboard extension does not have any support below. That one is probably a funky sounding one. Am wondering what type of pickup they used on that one?

  30. #73

    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Hey all I have decided against the Strad-O-Lin electric, it was actually pretty nice but I brought along my Docy for comparison of 'plugged in sound' and realized playing them side-by-side that I just really prefer the neck and feel of my beat up old Docy. I decided the same amount of money that I would have spent on the Strad would buy me a nice Steve Ryder hand-wound electric pickup for my Docy so I'll put that on my Docy instead and get to keep using the mando I prefer. MIght go with 2 pickups tho and add a switch, will see.
    Someone earlier asked me to post a few pics of the Docy, so here they are. Guess that's changing the subject of the thread but here you go. The Docy has 2 cracks in the top but a very sweet, clear tone. Not sure of the wood... looks like maple to me. It's got the fattest roundest 'baseball bat' neck I've ever felt on a mando, but I've gotten used to it and find I actually prefer it.

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  31. #74
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    I'm planning new tuners for my SOL and so have been taking measurements and looking closely at the headstock. Brought up a question - anybody else have stamped numbers/letters on the back between the tuners? Mine seems to read L9G6496

    It was suggested to me before that this was done after the fact, but I don't think so.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  32. #75
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strad-O-Lin mandolins - which, when, how good?

    Quote Originally Posted by LouN View Post
    Hey all I have decided against the Strad-O-Lin electric, it was actually pretty nice but I brought along my Docy for comparison of 'plugged in sound' and realized playing them side-by-side that I just really prefer the neck and feel of my beat up old Docy. I decided the same amount of money that I would have spent on the Strad would buy me a nice Steve Ryder hand-wound electric pickup for my Docy so I'll put that on my Docy instead and get to keep using the mando I prefer. MIght go with 2 pickups tho and add a switch, will see.
    Someone earlier asked me to post a few pics of the Docy, so here they are. Guess that's changing the subject of the thread but here you go. The Docy has 2 cracks in the top but a very sweet, clear tone. Not sure of the wood... looks like maple to me. It's got the fattest roundest 'baseball bat' neck I've ever felt on a mando, but I've gotten used to it and find I actually prefer it.
    For anyone that wants to find out more about Docy mandolins here are some threads to look through.

    And if you want to see what is under the skin of one of these here it is. The top and back are flat with an induced arch, no carving.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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