10/21/2015

1940s Regal Hawaiian Parlor Guitar




I have a soft spot for wood-bodied "Hawaiian" guitars (played in your lap with a slide/steel like a Dobro) and the budget-minded Regal squareneck versions of the 30s and 40s are some of the best-sounding value-wise. Most are "transverse" braced which is ladder-braced with a tilted main lower bout brace that opens up the bass end and controls the treble. This small change makes a huge difference in response -- instead of being straight-up punchy and honky like most ladder-braced designs, the voice is a bit more open and sing-songy with a bit sweeter sustain. You can hear it in the soundclip, methinks.

Anyhow, this one is remarkably similar to a Milwaukeean-branded one I worked on (construction-wise) a while back and my work was for a customer: bridge reglue (and in this case, replacement with an old 30s rosewood bridge from my bins), some crack cleating, a new nut, and new ferrules for the (1950s replacement) tuners.


This guitar is all-solid  birch throughout, though the "faux grain" look gives it a snazzier appearance. It's hilarious to me to paint grain over grain, but whatever -- it was a 40s thing. You see it on Nationals from the time, too!


A big old bone nut is an improvement on a cheesy plastic, undersized one.




I have a ton of "straight" saddle bridges (rather than compensated) in my parts bin so I was glad to find a new home for one. This came in with a homemade "pyramid" ebony bridge that just didn't look right.




The tuners aren't original but after a bit of finagling they work well.



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