12/06/2012

c.1935 Regal-made Metro Style C Archtop Guitar


This beautiful, classy old 16" lower bout archtop was made by Regal in the mid-30s and is branded with the "Metro" label and "C" model designation. It is quite similar in build and tone to this Regal (click here) that I owned a couple years ago but compared to that one has some very clear upgrades that certainly make a big difference overall.

I had much to do on this one: a full neck reset, re-angle of the fretboard extension, full fret level and dress, cleaning, installation of new tuners and a new tailpiece, modification of the bridge, and of course a good setup. The neck set was the most tedious part since someone had been in there before and had done a sub-par job. There was a lot of removing cruddy old glue and getting the joint to fit up nicely again.

The end result is a superb player with a good, punchy, strident tone. It reminds me a lot of the various nice-grade Epiphone archies from the same period that I've had the pleasure to work on. There's a lot of "bark" on this guy and it really sings when you play lead up the neck.


Rosewood headstock veneer. Original bone nut and also nice pearl inlay in the headstock. Note the new Grover "butterbean" style tuners. The ones that came with this guitar were really cheap modern Chinese 3-on-a plate types and these are closer to the original single-unit Grovers that came with this back in the 30s.


Bound ebony fretboard with nickel-silver bar frets! Yes, just like on a Martin. Regal used these from time to time on higher-end guits. I guess this one got the treatment! I love the pearl star...


The board is lightly radiused, too.

(Ha! I must have bumped that high E out of the slot just a tad when moving it!)

Original rosewood bridge. After the neck reset the adjusters only had barely enough height to get the saddle high enough for proper action adjustments. I replaced the original adjuster shafts with some taller ones I cut to size and now it can be adjusted to any-which-way you please.


Nice new Kluson-style repro tailpiece. These are quite heavy and infer good sustain. They also tend to clean up the tone vs. cheaper, lighter tailpieces. Definitely a nice upgrade compared to the junky 1960s Harmony-style tailpiece that someone had slapped on this guitar.


Did I mention no cracks?



The (long) pickguard's mounting arm had to be slightly adjusted for a better fit.



Bound top and back edges. Note the sunburst that's followed onto the mahogany back and sides as well. Nice!





I'm pretty sure this mahogany back is laminate, though I'm also definitely sure the sides and top are solid mahogany (I got to see the edges during my neck reset).


I love these new Grover tuners. It definitely makes a big difference to opt for better tuners when you can.


Here's that neck joint.



After installing the new tailpiece (which kindly covered up the old tailpiece and endpin holes) I drilled and then reamed a new hole for the old endpin. I love it when the tailpiece hanger has a hole for the endpin. So much more style.

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