4/27/2017

1930s Regal Size 5 Spruce/Birch Tenor Guitar





I've worked on scads of this-model Regal tenor guitar and all of them have been punchy, full-sounding, gutsy little things. This is the most common type with a spruce top, birch back and sides, a poplar neck, and stained-maple fretboard. It's all-original save for the nut, bridge, and tuners, too -- and also one coat of overspray that's hit the whole thing. Fortunately, it's along the lines of a normal Regal spray job and went over the original finish so it's not obvious at first.

My work on this one included cleating the only crack on the thing (near the fretboard extension), a fret level/dress, tuner swap-out, new banjo-style bridge, a bolt-reinforcement for the neck, and setup. It plays on-the-dot with 1/16" action at the 12th fret and is currently strung in standard CGDA tuning with 30w, 20w, 13, 9 strings. The neck is straight and stable and it sounds tops.


The body is 10 1/2" wide and this has a short, 21" tenor scale length.


New bone nut and 1 1/4" nut width...


I also added side dots during the fret level/dress.


These tenors have black celluloid binding at the top, back, and soundhole edge. The rosette is a little faded but still looks nice -- when new the colors are bright red, green, and yellow.


I tend to replace the funky (and often abused) original stained-maple bridges with simple banjo-style bridges. Because these are so lightly-built, one must treat them like a tenor banjo and string light. This also means they respond more like an electric guitar or tenor banjo, too, in that your playing style needs to be a bit nuanced to get the most out of them -- simply slamming the strings real hard can yield a zippy or overdriven sound.


I put some afterlength muting foam under the tailpiece cover to cut down on overtones. I like these Bell Brand tails as they accept loop and ball-end strings (the latter are easier to find).




The tuners replaced some aftermarket friction pegs and are a lot easier to use. They're modern Korean-made Kluson-style units and I've re-buttoned them with black to match the trim.










The neck was stable in the joint when it arrived, but I know that these joints can get funky over time so I reinforced it with a bolt on the inside. Good to go! I just don't like to leave things to chance if I haven't done a full reset on something.

No comments: