7/26/2017

1920s Regal Spruce/Birch Size 5 Tenor Guitar





Blog readers will know that I've worked on a painful number of these old Regal tenors. They're a plentiful model in this configuration -- spruce over birch -- and always wind-up great little boxes. Due to the light build and tailpiece load, they're punchy and loud like an openback tenor banjo (which they're meant to sub-in for, of course) but still have a nice, velvety, midrange mwah to their tone. Think a slightly-mellower "gypsy-jazz" flavor.

I worked on this for a customer and it got a neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots, some cleaning, and a good setup. Someone in the past really played the heck out of this thing and, thankfully, upgraded the tuners to 4:1 geared units and the tailpiece to an adjustable banjo-style one like you'd see on the higher-end Regal tenor models. Now it's playing on-the-dot (1/16" action at the 12th fret), has a straight neck, and is strung for "Celtic/Irish" GDAE tuning with gauges 40w, 28w, 18w, 12. Deering actually now makes a "Celtic" tenor banjo set that is perfect for these lightly-built short scale tenor guitars (and banjos) and the gauges are nearly identical.


The top is solid spruce with light ladder bracing and the back and sides are gently-figured birch. The top edge and rosette have black, celluloid (fiberloid?) binding and the fancy rosette would've originally been bright red, green, and yellow.



The fretboard and headstock veneer are ebonized maple and the neck is poplar.




The older adjustable banjo tailpiece makes minor tonal modifications to the instrument easy-peasy! Tighten it down for more back angle and bite, loosen it up for a mellower, more open sound. I like it cranked a bit, myself. I had to re-hang it slightly as the original "fit" of it was a bit wonky.









Since someone added a strap button at the heel, I added one down here, too.

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