Epiphone Strand Mandolin (1954)

ALTHOUGH NEVER A MAJOR CONTENDER in the marketplace, Epiphone continued to manufacture mandolins before, during, and after World War II. The lower-priced models, Rivoli and Adelphi, were both patterned after the Gibson A style mandolins of the thirties, whereas the more expensive Strand had two symmetrical body points, parallelogram fingerboard inlays, and an engraved tailpiece. Until the early 1950s all Epiphone mandolins had “f"-holes, but in 1954 they appeared for the first time with oval sound holes, which added more depth to their tone. This relatively rare example, with its customary walnut back and sides, was found in a pawn shop in Oakland, California several years ago. After Epiphone was acquired by Gibson, several mandolin models, such as the Venetian (similar to the Gibson A-50), were manufactured in Japan and sold as a budget line. As such they are still in production.

Track 14: Besame Mucho
(from Tone Poems II CD booklet, used by permission)

Photography by D. Brent Hauseman