8/16/2014

c.1935 Slingerland "May-Bell" Pearloid-board Parlor Guitar




Jeez, another one of these! I've worked on so many old Regal-made Slingerland parlors it's getting a little silly. This one has a solid headstock like a "College Pal" model I worked on in 2012 but it's gone a step further with a cool cherry sunburst and pearloid board and headstock veneers. According to the Slingerland Guitars website it's perhaps a Style #0.

This had some old drop-filled/glued-up hairline cracks on it already but my work was a neck reset, new rosewood bridge install, fret level/dress, bone saddle install, and setup. It plays spot-on (3/32" bass at the 12th fret, 1/16" treble with 50w-11 strings) and has that chunky, fundamental old-time/country blues sound. It's got a 1 3/4" nut over a big D-shaped neck so, to be honest, I think this is mostly suited to fingerpicking though it does hold water as a flatpicker, too.


The body is all solid birch and it's bound at the top edge and soundhole. The top is braced with a "transverse ladder bracing" which means the main mid-brace is slanted to allow more vibrating room on the bass side. This gives more stability (sort of like half an x-brace) and also means that despite the honky birch top this has more warmth than other period brands of similar size and quality.


The tuners and ferrules are replacements (1960s/2000s to be exact) but the wood nut isn't!


The original brass frets are seated nicely. I was thankful for that because often pearloid boards wreak havoc on fret seating because the frets don't grab into the wood as well. I think Regal sidestepped that when building this because they used such very thin celluloid.


Some of the top veneer of pearloid is missing here and there at the end of the fretboard but it still looks good to me.


These pins are unoriginal plastic but I reused them from the failing original bridge. That's a new compensated bone saddle and rosewood bridge.



You can see a few old-repaired hairline cracks. They're stable and just look like wood shrinkage cracks... they're all "with grain" and good to go.


The neck looks like poplar rather than maple to me.








The endblock area has no endpin which suggests to me that, like many other Slingerland parlors, this may have originally been intended for slide/Hawaiian work from the factory.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have same exact guitar, neck warped and now i have 1/2 inch action towards the 12th. Excellent sound, extremely resonant. Good for finger picking.

Patrick Smith said...

I have this guitar that I am interested in selling. It does need work though; any idea how much I may be able to get for it and the best place to sell?