8/02/2013

c.1940 Regal-made Blue Comet Flatback Mandolin



This funky, student mandolin came out of a local clean-up sale and right into the workshop by way of a friend of mine. I'm pretty sure it's a Regal-made instrument though it bears (a mostly missing) "Blue Comet" brand decal at the headstock. Most of the Blue Comets look to have been made by Regal and the most noticeable model is the weird f-hole flattop mandolins that sport a banjo-style resonator structure on the back and sides. 

This Blue Comet is pretty standard fare for a lower-end product, though rather than solid birch the body is made from laminate birch! This isn't seen too often on 30s and 40s instruments but becomes much more prevalent in the 50s. I'm guessing that whoever retailed the Blue Comet series must have asked for it specifically because most of the Chicago mandolins from this time in this same shape and build tend to be solid birch or spruce over birch.

That said, this is a great take-anywhere, no-worries, practical instrument and it has a long 14" scale and a good, mid-range folky sort of tone. Compared to a new mandolin you might pay the same cash for, this is going to be play better, sound better, and be more fun. It also survived all the years of its life in good shape, too: all that was needed was a light fret level/dress, new bone nut, cleaning, and setup.


The wild celluloid pickguard is great!


The neck appears to be poplar. New bone nut.


Faux-pearl dots in a stained hardwood board.



I quickly compensated the G and A string slots. All the hardware is original save the newer strap buttons and 1960s tuners at the headstock.




These 60s tuners aren't the best but they work just fine.


There are strap buttons here at the heel and also at the tailpiece.




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