c.1910 Regal-made Mandolinetto

I worked on this instrument for a customer. It's been hanging around for quite a while until I felt up to really examining it and getting it ship-shape. It turned out to need less than I expected and in the end wound up with a really great, super-sustained, loud and rich voice. It also plays darn easy as it has a short 13" scale and is equipped with fairly light (32w-9) strings.

While it has no identification, the headstock cut and general build mark it as an earlier Regal model. Bob Carlin's Regal book has a couple of catalog illustrations of essentially the same instrument from the time, though the secondary wood was different. In this format (solid spruce over quartersawn oak with a mahogany neck) these instruments are closer to the Lyon & Healy "Lakeside" and similar lines of the time which (from what I've seen of them) Regal made for them for the most part.

Work included a fret level/dress, fretboard extension reglue, additional shims in the neck pocket (the neck was glued tight but I wanted to make sure it stayed that way), some seam touch-ups and repair, and some replacement binding. I also re-used the bridge that came with it, though it's not the original one from this instrument.

New bone nut, too, in that "vintage yellowy" color of "natural bone." Note the headstock veneer -- it was even more grunged up when this came in.

Pearl dots in a dyed-maple board...

...and it's too bad all that purfling is so discolored -- this must've been pretty snazzy when it was made!

Ironically, while the bridge that came with it was "compensated" in looks, it wasn't in reality, so I quickly cut some compensation into it when I set the mando up.

The quartersawn oak back and sides looks great and (to my ears) gives instruments a bit more ring and sustain with a sort of mid-rangey clear voice. The binding on the rear of this side is replacement stuff from the remains of a Regal tenor guitar. I had just enough to stretch it over and hide some bad old seam repair work here where binding was missing when this came in. It's not a 100% perfect job but hey, the idea was to keep costs down and get this ship-shape. I wasn't about to start tearing out old seam repairs that were sturdy but not ideal.

I like the inlaid backstrip...

...and the brass-plate "shaft above" tuners actually hold much better than I expected.

1 comment:

Wes Clark said...

Thanks for posting this. What a fun instrument. I particularly enjoyed hearing the sound clip. I certainly don’t need to buy another string instrument but I’m afraid I will be on the watch for one of these. Thanks!