8/27/2010

c.1941 Regal "Buck Jones" Cowboy Guitar


Waaaaay cool! I've always wanted to work on one of these and I luckily found one to do so. I have to say I'm very pleased with the tone, feel, and quality of build. This is a simple, O-size, 12 fret "parlor" model -- Regal-made and in their typical O-size body shape -- sold by Montgomery Ward and with a fantastic stencil-over-sunburst-finish of Buck Jones the cowboy movie star and his horse Silver. Did I mention the cacti?

This is just about the only nice old "cowboy guitar" made save for the Harmony-built early-version Gene Autry guitars from the 1930s. By nice I mean it has a solid spruce top, solid maple back, sides, and neck, with dyed maple fretboard... and real celluloid binding. This very model succumbed to World War II and after 1942 it was essentially a birch, painted-binding model. This early version is loads better with sound, tone, and volume to match.

...which reminds me, this guitar was introduced in the fall of 1940 and by 1942 this version was no longer build.


My work included regluing a back hairline crack, fret dress, setup including nut work, and modification of the original bridge to include a new bone saddle as opposed to to original fret saddle. I also (sadly) had to replace the original Kluson 3-on-a-strip tuners, with some new Grover openbacked tuners but luckily was able to reuse the metal covers for them... so it keeps the original look, except for the fact that the tuner buttons are now silvery as opposed to cream bakelite.



What's nice is that despite the fretboard being "ebonized" it's still a nice hard maple, so it puts up with a lot of wear and tear.


Really gorgeous scene on this guitar... and add to that a sunburst finish everywhere on it and you've got one styling machine.




Some definite use wear near and under the strings, but luckily the best part of the image is spared.


The clouds on this image are totally attractive.


I forgot to mention that the tailpiece was missing. I scavenged this tenor guitar tailpiece (c.1930s) from my parts bin and drilled out the holes a little bit so I could squeeze two to a slot for the A&D and G&B strings. I used this tailpiece because I didn't want to cover up the cool scene and also wanted something that looked the part.




Just one longish hairline that's been repaired, otherwise okee-dokey.



Super cool tuner covers give it a fantastic retro look.


Good tight heel.


Original end pin.





A nice one, for sure! Sound is loud, punchy, very sustained, and with a lot of rich overtones. When driven it gets punchier and when fingerpicked it's sweet and mellow with that "old timey" tone -- not too dry and boxy and bluesy without a lot of character, but with that clarity and definition and a lot more "rich" in the mix.

The bracing is very simple -- transverse braced which means one slanting brace below the soundhole favoring bass response, one giant brace below the bridge, and one above the soundhole below the fretboard extension.

1 comment:

Daniel Stolte said...

Awesome! What a beautiful instrument. What would it take to find one of these and how much would they go for? Just curious.