1940s Strad-O-Lin (United-made) Archtop Mandolin

Here's another one that passed-through a while back that I forgot to share. My friend Todd decided he wanted to get a "bluegrassy mandolin" for use while on vacation. I dsimissed all of his ideas about modern, cheap F-style mandolins like any good friend would. They look great in pictures, but in the hands and with the ears... ick. I always suggest Strad-O-Lins as a good place to start and he whipped-out his phone and found this one on-the-quick.

This guy turned out to be a Strad-O-Lin Jr-style model with a plywood-all-around body. It's from the early '40s judging by the Kluson tuners and one-piece, deco-style bridge, though it lacks the usual date-stamp on the inside. It sounds direct, punchy, and fundamental when played with that springy "bluegrass pop" when you dig in for chops and whatnot. I think, really, he was shocked when he played it after fixing it up.

And, yes, he fixed it up -- with some pointers from me -- it got light work including a fret level/dress, side dots, bridge compensation, and setup. I'd love to see him stick an adjustable bridge on it at some point, but right now a small maple shim gets the job done to jack the bass-side action up.