c.1935 Regal "Mapeliene" Parlor Guitar

Update: I just looked through an old Tonk Bros. catalog with this guitar in it. Apparently this line of maple-sided, heavily-stenciled, sparkly-fretboard guitars was called "Mapeliene" -- not Venetian or the like. Oops!

Here's a mid-30s Regal-made (label in soundhole) "parlor" size guitar that was I think part of their either Venetian/Florentine-inspired series of instruments (that all shared these maple-y back and sides with lots of stencils and gold-speckled fretboard treatments).

This excellent little old 0-sized guitar is a fingerpicking gem -- warm and sweet and punchy with just a bit of snap to it. It's had a rough life and I've done a lot of work to it including a neck reset, several top crack repairs and cleats, seam re-glues, a fret dress, setup and bridge modification including a modified vintage tailpiece setup. I used this tailpiece setup because the top was far too fragile post-damage/repairs to use a pin-bridge style with steel strings.

Part of this is the fact that the top is very thin solid spruce with very light bracing (only two braces below the soundhole and one of them is a wide bridge-plate style brace) and also that the bridge had been sloppily "repaired" at one point with some under-bridge stress.

At any rate, it's come out of surgery looking worn but bling-tastic. It has a bigger roundish-v shape that's slightly more comfortable than many Regals from the period.

I love the green/black vine/floral stencils on the top. Also note that this has "rope" top, back, and soundhole purfling and binding around all three as well.

The headstock and fretboard are veneered in a gold-speckle celluloid material. New bone nut. Note that the black on the fretboard is sprayed over with stencils and hence the reason that playwear has rubbed some of the black off (this wouldn't happen in the case of typical multicolor celluloid boards).

The rope multi-layer purfling is so pretty.

This has a huge amount of pickwear on it. There was a post-manufacture black pickguard on it that was screwed onto the top but it just didn't look all that great with the guitar so I popped it off. Modern man will probably be a little more careful with the instrument, anyhow!

I cut this bridge down a bunch, filled the old slots and installed paua shell inlays to cover the original pin holes. Note that I've used screws as saddles in a similar fashion to the Harmony tenor guitar I recently restored. I like this setup as height can be micro-adjusted and you can turn the slotted tops at an angle to mute any weird overtones or rattles on the tailpiece end of things.

For the tailpiece I modified an old c.1920s aftermarket style tailpiece so that it'd mount shorter than usual. This let me get most of that cool stencil visible. Note the deteriorated/missing purfling on this lower bout edge. This was missing when I got the guitar and the whole top was loose at that edge with a somewhat sloppy repair. I've since corrected that and reinforced the area.

I'm thinking that the back and side woods actually are maple, but I'm pretty sure the pseudo-"flame" is somehow finished-on or painted-on like on Harmony instruments as it seems to lack a certain 3-d effect. I may be entirely wrong, however!

Original Regal-style tuners with tiny black buttons.

Heel cap, nice tight neck pocket (now).

These side stencils are pretty cool.

Tuners work great post-lube.

1 comment:

Kyle Jester said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this info! I got one of these Mapelienes on eBay and I'm having it restored as well. Here is a link to some pics if you wanna check it out so far: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.733229343378621.1073741837.100000746857985&type=1&l=451382d093