1950s Strad-O-Lin (United) Archtop Mandolin

My friend Mike bought this mandolin some time back and I've known it, as far as I know, as long as I've known him. We fit it with a K&K pickup at some point and I (lightly) adjusted the setup for him, but I've always known it needed a level and dress of the frets and some side dots, so it was nice to be able to get all that stuff buttoned-up since it's come back here for sale. It's now playing completely spot-on.

What else can I say? I adore Strad-O-Lins. Bill Monroe (famously) told folks to go out and get them as good student instruments. Honestly, though, they can definitely remain only mandolins, too, as they tend to have excellent voices and great handling once they've been gone-through. They were made by the United company out of New Jersey for the brand stable headed-up by Sorkin and first appeared in the late '30s. This one is a postwar, early-'50s model and it has a solid top over ply back and sides.

Per the usual, it's got a punchy, up-front, percussive, and loud voice that fits right in for bluegrass and old-time styles but is perhaps not the best for pretty, Celtic-style playing.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, cleaning, and setup. Previously it's had its bridge compensated, a K&K acoustic pickup (Twin Spot) installed, and someone added gold-plated upgrade tuners to it at some point.

Weight: 1 lb 14 oz 

Scale length: 13 3/4"

Nut width: 1 3/16"

Neck shape: medium D/U

Board radius: flat

Body width: 10 1/8"

Body depth: 1 7/8" + arching

Top wood: solid spruce (press-arched)

Back & sides wood: ply maple

Bracing type: tonebar

Bridge: rosewood adjustable

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: maple

Action height at 12th fret:
1/16” overall (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 36w-10

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: lower/smaller

Condition notes: it's got a faded Sam Bush signature on the back! Also, it has average usewear throughout and plenty of fine-line finish-checking throughout as well. Everything is original on the instrument except for the tuners and the pickup.

It comes with: an old chip case in rough shape.

Consignor tag: ML