3/24/2011

c.1930 Regal-made Hawaiian Guitar


Except for the fact that I had to reset the neck and reglue some hairline cracks on the upper bout treble side... this thing looks like it left the factory a couple years ago. The finish is perfect in its original satin, it's crack-free otherwise than the above mentioned, the inside is darn clean, and it has all of its original hardware down to the bridge pins and end pin... new looking (original) tuners to boot!

In addition to the neck set I also pulled off the original wooden raised nut (for lap playing) and made a new bone nut, did a bit of a fret dress, and set it up to play "Spanish" style. This thing plays excellently -- the best-playing old Regal 12-frets I've ever had through the shop (and I've had a number of them).

And that gets to the third point -- this was made by Regal, for sale by this strange "TD" brand, probably around c.1930. It has actual wooden rope binding around the top and soundhole edge and an "ebonized" fretboard which looks pretty smart. The funny catch to all this? It's entirely made from naturally-finished birch as opposed to mahogany or something more tropical. Still, it looks the bee's knees... and check out that suh-sweet decal at the lower bout.


New bone nut.


Brass frets in great shape. Plastic/clay dots.



Gotta love that binding! So cool!



Very typical old Regal catalog bridge/pins. The fret-saddle is slightly misaligned for intonation, so while everything else rings just about right, the high E is a few cents off pitch on the flat side from the 12th fret on up. I don't notice it at all while playing, which suits me just fine. I really didn't want to have to replace the saddle and muck up the bridge as it's part of what gives the guitar its tone/charm.

Speaking of tone -- loud, warm, sweet, and mellow. Great strummer or fingerpicker.



"For the fella who likes his guitar dirty."


Complete with parrot and sailboat as well as hulahulahula.


Closeup of that binding.



Cute little uke-ish headstock shape. Bakelite black buttons on the tuners.


Good hard v-neck is nice and sturdy. Pay no attention to the very slight excess glue in the joint at the heel... that's what happens when glue seeps slightly at night when I'm snoozing. Speaking of the heel -- the joint was not made to, err, fine tolerances (who can blame them when this was just going to be played in the lap originally?)... so I had to bulk up the dovetail a little bit when I glued it back in. This left slight gaps towards the top of the heel join on the sides but a good sturdy join.



Surprisingly it has its original end pin, too.






Here's where I reglued some hairlines on the side upper bout -- hard to see them -- they opened up on the grain and are now quite secure.


And in addition to the cool guitar? Original canvas/chip case is in perfect shape. These are never in perfect shape. I was amazed!

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