4/20/2013

c.1935 Slingerland "MayBell" Style #7 Guitar


This Regal-made, Slingerland-sold, MayBell-branded "parlor" (slightly smaller than 0-size) guitar is the same model as one I worked on in January. However, unlike the other one, this has a bit more scratching and playwear and rather than a cream-to-rose celluloid material for the fretboard, headstock, and pickguard, this one has a curious rosy-purple-magenta pearloid instead. It's wildly fashionable, if you ask me.

It was in good shape from the start and as far as the wood, only has one tiny, 1" hairline crack below the bridge, which is repaired. The other work necessary was the usual "works" including a neck reset, new bridge, fret level/dress, cleaning, and setup. I also added a new bone nut, a new ebony endpin and bridge pin set, added a "strapping" style brace (thinner but wider, like on some old Harmony products) to the middle position of the back (as two back braces were missing), and glued up any other braces needing work. I also reglued the pickguard.


This sort of guitar is a blues or ragtime player's dream... it has transverse bracing (ladder style with the main brace below the soundhole slanted like half an x-brace) in typical Regal fashion with a super-lightweight build, solid spruce top and solid birch back and sides. The tone is open and sweet but with that strong singing fundamental that one seeks in a 12-fretter like this. In addition, compared to the lower-end models of the same style guitar that can be seen far more often, this deluxe version has a much faster 1 3/4" neck with a thinner round-back (rather than v-shaped) profile. This plays spot-on with 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret.

I wasn't perfectly careful (didn't install a wedge-shaped shim) when I reglued the fretboard extension back onto the guitar and as a result it dips away towards the body after the 1-12 fret part of the fretboard a little bit.



Here's that nice gold-paint-filled MayBell engraving at the headstock.


The board is bound and has matching white celluloid dots inlaid in the face. Frets have been leveled and dressed and are good to go.


New rosewood bridge with ebony pins. The saddle is synthetic but sounds just fine. I like to use belly-bridges of a stylish design if I can on the spruce-topped old ladder or semi-ladder braced guitars since it helps stiffen the top against string pull. Couple that with a really light set of strings (46w-10) and the guitar should be more or less safe for the remainder of its life.


The decal is pretty blueseriffic, especially against that crimson sunburst.


Here you can see some of that super-cool mulicolored purfling around the top and soundhole, as well as that binding.



The birch back and sides are all stained a nice wine-dark color that pulls out the grain here and there.


These are original tuners and they're engraved. Curiously, when installed matching the outlines of the impressions at the headstock, when one tuned up the strings would ride over the tuner posts backwards. Switching sides and drilling out new mounting holes solved that problem



The freshly-reset neck has a tiny amount of fill at its edges which can't be seen, really, unless you're inspecting for it.




The endpin area actually has an inlaid endstrip. New ebony button, too.


...and here's the interior label!

1 comment:

Brian Blazovic said...

beautiful. on hold already!?!? hopefully this comes up for sale soon