1/29/2010

c.1925 Regal Tenor Guitar

This is a nice and healthy Regal tenor guitar that happened to only need a fresh nut, bridge, and some back cracks repaired. It plays nice, sounds fantastic, and feels great in the paws. Good character about this fellow. Spruce top, birch back, sides, and neck, with some sort of dyed hardwood fretboard -- pearwood or some other fruitwood?



New tuners, too. Forgot to mention that. The headstock logo is actually inlaid, but has started to crackle a bit. Still nice and legible, though!


Fretboard with original nickel-silver frets in great shape.


As the sort-of originators of the tenor guitar, Regal pioneered the floating-bridge-and-tailpiece style, with a 12th-fret join like typical period "parlor" guitars. Combined with an elongated "terz" size body (roughly 3/4 size for the time) it gives these guitars a unique, very different look, compared to a modern tenor guitar. Many folks make the mistake that these are baritone ukes, but they most definitely are not. The baritone still had about 20-25 years to go before it was "invented."


This tenor has the very nice typically-Regal inlaid rosette of multicolored "herringbone" marquetry. Back and top are both bound in black celluloid, which looks nice and sharp. While testing it out, I've had it tuned to gCEA like a ukulele, with string gauges of: 23w, 32w, 14, 10. This gives it sort of a "half a tiple" sound, giving it more bottom end than a uke and the sparkly high end of a regular C-tuned tenor guitar. It also sounds absolutely beautiful fingerpicked or flatpicked, both, and you can use all those fancy uke chords you uke players have gotten used to.


Bridge is a new rosewood mandolin bridge, recut to fit. The original was cracked.


Nice honey-colored finish, which is unusual for these guys: typically with birch back and sides on Regals you'll have them stained a red color.


Back.


New Grover pegs work just fine.


...


Yes, it was a pretty big dryness separation, for sure!


Tailpiece. I like that both ball-end and loop strings can be put through these. Makes finding different string types much easier. I personally like D'Addario "flat top" phosphor bronzes, for my steel-string instruments, as string noise pretty much disappears while you still have a sweet, sparkling tone, though they're simply not offered in loop ends.


Side.


Other side!

3 comments:

Bill said...

Hey, I was wondering if you have a price on that Regal tenor? It looks like a nice job.
Thanks,
Mark

Anonymous said...

My parents had my grandfather's Regal Tenor guitar restored for me nearly 31 years ago. It looks like this one. The label inside says Chicago. It has a deep scratch on the front between the sound hole and the bridge and some major wear on the neck. Is it of any value?

Antebellum Instruments said...

Anon: Sorry, don't do appraisals/value work. BUT I can say that these are climbing in $$ and are getting harder to buy as more folks realize just how great they are. Best of luck, Jake