1/07/2015

1940s Regal Flatback Mandolin




This Regal is probably from between 1945-1950 judging by the hardware and build. It may, at latest, be early 50s. With a 10 1/4" width, 3" side depth, near-14" scale, and 1 3/16" nut width... this mando is a bit bigger overall than your standard-issue flatback. It's also in remarkably-good condition and all-original except for my new rosewood bridge and some side dots I've added. There are no cracks, too, except for a tight little hairline up against the neckblock on the treble side. Basically: a nice find!

My work on it included a fret level/dress, the new bridge, side dots, and setup. I would've reused the original bridge except that it couldn't be compensated and had some condition issues (cracked, thin bone saddle). The new one is roughly the same size but sounds better, anyhow. Playability is excellent with standard 1/16" action height at the 12th fret and it's strung with 32w-9 GHS "extra light" mando strings... but could probably take 10s just fine. The neck is dead straight.


The top is solid spruce and it sits over a solid birch body with faux-flame painting here and there. I love the sunburst and good-condition glossy, thin finish.


Ebony nut... and way-cool oddball original tuner knobs.


Pearl dots in a rosewood board with original brass frets... and plastic side dots.


I like that coffee-colored pickguard.


Here's my new compensated rosewood job. Like the original bridge, this one sits over the pickguard on the treble edge. Unlike the original, I've actually gone to the trouble of lightly cutting that corner down to sit level on the top and over the pickguard.


The simple, practical tail also hides a bit of foam stuffed under it to mute the string afterlength.




You can see the weathercheck Gibson-style in the thin nitro finish.


That tiny crack that's tight and secure (it's right along the neckblock countour) is all that's on the mando. The discoloration at the joint is, from my experience, caused by finish flaking off at that seam when the weather changes over time. I see it on almost all old Regal mandos. There's no joint creep: it's tight and good to go and at a good angle.






A slightly-worn-out old original chip case comes with it.

3 comments:

JAMES VERROCCHI said...

Nice mandolin. Jake, is possible to string a mandolin with something other than steel strings ?

JAMES VERROCCHI said...

Nice mandolin. Jake, is possible to string a mandolin with something other than steel strings ?

JAMES VERROCCHI said...

How would this sound strung as an 8 string ukulele ?