1/26/2016

1940s/2016 Regal-made Stewart 4-String Electric Mandolin Conversion




This poor old Regal-made mandolin came to me in trade and it was really down on its luck (all but one brace loose, seams burst, and a warped neck) so I decided to make another electric mando rather than put it all back together "properly." Hilariously, there's a bogus Martin label in the soundhole and "Stewart" branding at the headstock. It's very much an early-40s Regal, however, with all that tortoise binding bling and creamy-brown Brazilian rosewood fretboard.

Work started by installing a beefy brace right under the bridge area to replace the two original ones, installing a replacement brace under the fretboard, and then a board level/refret followed by a new bone nut and swapped-out tuners and extra-hole plugs at the headstock. Cracks and seams were repaired (some already had been pseudo-filled before) as well. I had a spare Telecaster neck pickup so I popped the cover off of that, made up a harness with a vintage bakelite knob, and fit it all in the instrument and added a tortoise cover to the pickup for more of a 40s/50s look.

The tone is nice, sweet, crisp, and clear in a very 50s way -- though I'm half-tempted to close-off the soundhole and install a whopping old-looking humbucker or P-90 and black pickguard to mimic some of the old Gibson EM look and thick sound.



Excuse the tuner post hole-fills -- this was, obviously, a quick-ish project rather than aiming for perfection.


Brand new frets in the rosewood board feel darn nice, though I noticed the spacing is slightly off here and there past the 15th fret. It's nothing you'd notice playing live, however.



The original deco-style bridge was in good shape but I did recut it a bit and added compensation.



Gotta love the tortoise!

Woods on this instrument are all-solid and the top/sides/neck are all variations of birch while the back is maple.



Yep, I put a Strat-style jack on the back. If you loop this up and into your strap the cord hangs nicely down rather than the endpin-area jacks that shoot it off to the side for tripping-on.









Pretty silly label!

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