3/24/2012

c.1935 Regal Maple/Spruce "Parlor" Guitar





Our jam this morning lasted 3+ hours so my workday seemed quite short!

I did, however, manage to do the finishing touches on this great 12-fret Regal 0-size guitar and get it up and running. Aside from missing its middle back brace, this is 100% original and in pretty good shape for coming to me sans a case. The finish is nice and glossy (and thin) though there are of course the usual scuff and scratch marks on it, but not the amount of dirt I'd expect to see on a natural-finish instrument.

Did I mention it's crack free?

...and has plain-Jane flatsawn maple back and sides with a good hunk of v-shaped maple neck. The fretboard and bridge are "ebonized" maple as well.



Black-painted headstock with fun Regal logo. Original bone nut.


I leveled and dressed these original brass frets. MOP dots in the board.


It's kind of a cool aesthetic -- vaguely Kalamazoo "Oriole" like with the high-contrast black and "natural."


I had to cut down this bridge for proper action height and install a replacement fret saddle, so the middle area is actually "re-ebonized" to match. Yes, the screws on the wings are original. I think Regal advertised in their catalogs around the time that it meant that it wouldn't pop off because of them.

And... maybe so! The original glue job on the bridge seems darn good to go.


Note that the top edge is bound in black celluloid while the soundhole is in white. I like!


Isn't this label cute? Imagine budding luthiers inspecting this fella to make their own. What an odd way to learn -- especially considering the fact that this only has two braces on the lower bout -- one big bridgeplate/brace and another slanted "transverse" ladder brace above it.

This lightweight build and bracing is why I only suggest extra-light (48w-10) strings for standard tuning on these old Regals.



The flatsawn maple back is nice to look at and glows a bit along the grain in changing light conditions.


The original tuners were lubed before this got to me and function nicely.


Good neck join. The back has a few "seam creeps" (very minor ones) along the upper bout top edges, but they appear to have been glued up a while ago as they're good to go and stable.






This guitar has that nice old-timey fingerpicking tone, though as usual the bigger v-neck may take some getting used to for modern hands. I like these necks a lot for open-tuned passages that don't involve a lot of barring up the neck and the big, plain, wide-open, direct tone of these guys works nicely for open-tuning as well.


Original ebonized endpin.

No comments: