9/14/2014

c.1940 Regal Carved-top Archtop Guitar




This guitar is, hands down, very cool. It's also pretty rare: there aren't a whole lot of carved-top Regal guitars out there and it's too bad because it sounds excellent and is definitely in the warmer, creamy "Gibson archtop" camp. It makes a perfect chordal-backing guitar but does have enough punch for single-note lead runs. It's fun! Quality, sound, and feel-wise I'd easily put it right alongside a Gibson L-48 or L-50 from the same time.

This is another one that came in for consignment via a friend of mine and it only needed light work to get it spot-on which included fitting and adjusting the bridge a bit, a very minor fret level/dress, cleaning, and a setup. Amazingly, the guitar is also crack-free.


This has a solid spruce carved top with a Gibson-y cut (fairly mild arching) and tonebar bracing. The f-holes are those cool longish Regal-style ones and the lower bout width is only 15 5/8" which makes it sit in the lap like a modern "mini jumbo" guitar. It's cozy. The side depth is only 3 1/8" as well which reduces long-playing fatigue.

I checked the Regal catalogs I have on hand but I couldn't find anything quite the same as this guitar. It's very similar to the size description of the carved-top Regal Esquire from the time but the sunburst finish and bizarro fretboard inlay is definitely non-standard... but much of Regal stuff is non-standard, anyhow.


Please excuse the dust! That's an original bone nut.


I love the stripey celluloid inlay. The board is dyed maple with a 1 11/16" nut and mild radius. The neck has a C-shaped cut that's comparable to 40s/50s Gibsons and the fast feel of the thing means that the longish 25 3/8" scale feels more like a shorter-scale Gibson to the touch.

Also: it looks like it was refretted at one point and the frets feel great.


The binding on the top and back appears to either be maple or holly (rather than celluloid/plastic) and the purfling is a cool checker pattern with green lining that's faded a bit.


This bridge is actually a later Harmony-style bridge. I compensated it for the B string and fit it a lot better to the top than it was before.


The detailing around those elegant f-holes just pops them right out.


The good, high-quality tailpiece is anchored by what appears to be a home-made repro of a Gibson-style hanger. I may be wrong and it might be an original that has become un-plated, however.



The back and sides appear to be solid birch while the neck looks like quartersawn maple.


These old Kluson Deluxe tuners certainly aren't original but they do look nice on the headstock. After lubing them they work just fine, too, and have nicely yellowed/oranged old buttons.


The neck set is perfect.




Really, this is just such a classy, eye-catching beastie.




The endpin is an oversize replacement: there was a pickup installed at some point and it covers the larger hole. It'd be very easy to reinstall a pickup, however, with it already drilled out for a 1/2" jack.


Here you can see the lowish, Gibson-y style carving to the top.


It has an original, beat-as-heck old chip case, too.

No comments: