1930s/2016 Regal-made Collegiate Hollowbody Lap Steel Mod

A customer of mine has been, for a while, swooning over the long-sold Americana "hollowbody lap steel" I made-up a while back, and so he bought this flashy old beat-to-heck Regal-made guitar and had it sent here for conversion. I'll tell you -- he picked the right candidate! This one came with a warped neck badly "reset" and falling-off the body, braces loose and a bit of a sunken top, and all manner of other weird old "repairs." That means it doesn't have to care that it's never going to be a "regular" guitar again -- if it ever was!

This one is all-solid birch in the body, ladder-braced, and has a poplar neck and pearloid fretboard and headstock veneer. Add to that a wildly-awesome mix of Hawaiiana decals, and you have a cheesy, wonderful, weirdo guitar. After regluing/replacing braces, doing a bolted+glued neck reset, and ripping off the remains of a cruddy old bridge repair, I set to work routing-out for the P90 pickup below the soundhole and made a new wiring harness toting a Switchcraft jack and big-sized Alpha volume pot. I also replaced the bridge with an old cast-aluminum Oahu-brand bolted bridge that, conveniently, was very easy to put a ground wire on.

The result, of course, is super cool -- just like that "Americana" guitar -- and I strung it up the same way, too, in CGCGCG tuning with flatwound strings on the bottom (gauges 56w, 44w, 34w, 20, 14, 9). The GuitarFetish-sourced P90 is aggressive and delicious and really suits the bluesier/warmer hollowbody sound of the guitar.

This got a new bone nut, too. The original tuners are low-ratio, but work well enough.

The volume knob, admittedly, is in a weird spot, though I didn't want to cover over any of the excellent decals. In the lap the position feels oddly-natural, though, despite the inability to do "pinky roll-offs."

The aluminum bridge, I think, is way cool. It mounts with 3 bolts and when I re-use these I use extra-large nuts and washers to make sure they're mounted sturdily. This guitar has a weird 1/8" thick patch that was installed post-factory under the top below the pickup and in front of the bridge, too, which helps stabilize the (now cut-up) top.

Right, right?

The old "neck reset" job was one of the worst I've ever seen (aside from simply cut-off at the heel), though it's stable, now.

No comments: