5/21/2016

1930s Regal All-Birch Size 5 Tenor Guitar





I just realized this is a duplicate post for this instrument. Oh well, it was a while ago since I've seen it, and now it's a bit changed! This came back to me in trade sporting a new set of Five-Star 4:1 banjo pegs (nice units) and needing a bit of extra work to get it going "pat."

I always have people asking for Regal tenor guitars -- they're punchy, loud, comfortable to hold (just a little bigger than a baritone uke), and "push" the neck into your hand with their 12-fret join. Most of the ones I see are spruce over birch but this all-birch one definitely has the same typical power and fullness-of-voice, but with more mids and fewer zingy highs. These are "short scale" instruments with a 21" scale length, and so melody work is quite a bit easier (for stretches) on these for single-note runs vs. chordal sliding patterns like you'd mostly use on 23" long-scale tenors.


This instrument is crack-free, amazingly, and all in good order. Work this time around included a fresh level/dress of the frets, a precautionary bolted-neck add-on through the soundhole, some side dot additions, a new nice-quality all-maple bridge, and installation of some period bakelite buttons on the new tuners to keep the look more in-line with the rest of the aesthetics (I absolutely detest the pearly, chunky Five-Star buttons).

Action is 1/16" at the 12th fret, though the treble side of the neck gains a tiny amount of relief tuned to pitch (~1/64" overall). This is pretty bog-standard on Regal tenors as they're built very light and the necks are, I think, mostly poplar (as this one is).


Five-Star 4:1 pegs are a serious player-friendly upgrade over the original 1:1 friction pegs that used to be on this. They cost a bit but they're excellent quality.


The frets are brass, the face dots are cream celluloid, and the (new) side dots are white plastic. Regal stained maple fretboards to look like ebony (from a few feet away) quite often.


The body is all solid birch and the browny-red sunburst looks great on it. The top and soundhole edges are bound in cream celluloid.


The bridge is simply angled for compensation's sake. I have it strung for CGDA tuning with 32w, 20w, 14, 9 strings. It's saucy even with such light gauges!


I like these "Bell Brand" tails as they accept a variety of string formats. Note the muting-foam under the cover to cut down on overtone ring.





The vintage buttons are from my parts-bin and look great on it. I used some finish washers to "fit" their bigger bottoms to the rest of the Five-Star look.


Note the filled pilot hole on the back of the neck's heel -- that allowed me to install a "neck bolt" through the soundhole. It's not the 100% best solution, and while the neck was stable enough to begin-with, I hadn't done a reset on this and I don't like anything leaving the shop with the question hanging in the air. Needless to say, it's going nowhere, now.







Either I or the previous owner installed that ebony strap button. I can't remember, honestly.

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