9/08/2017

1940s Regal Junior Jumbo 000-Size Flattop Guitar





This guitar came to me in a box with the neck detached and missing a bridge. Fair enough, however, because it also had a gleaming set of what appear to be StewMac repro tuners on it. I did short work on this for its owner -- a consignor -- as he has ever-so-many guitars over here in line for work and I wanted to get this de-necked instrument safely dealt-with before the neck wound-up in my "spare necks bucket" (you've seen it if you've been in the workshop before).

I've worked on similar Regals before and they've all had a great, loud, warm tone. The closest relative is a '40s 00-sized KG-11 clone I did-up last year, while a tailpiece version from the late '30s featured the wider body size that this particular guitar has. This guitar does the extraordinary thing of sounding beautiful both flatpicked and fingerpicked -- something most ladder-braced guitars are not capable of. Often they sound too zippy under a hard flatpick, but this one has the extra lower-mids juice in just the right place to make you say "ah."

The weak link of the design is the bulky, medium-soft-V neck shape they usually have (this one has it) and the wide nuts (this one is 1 7/8" at the nut -- sheesh). If you're a player who likes those things, Regals like this are simply excellent boxes.


This guitar has a 25 3/8" scale length -- fairly long for a 000-size guitar -- coupled to a solid spruce (tight-grained) top that's 15 1/4" on the lower bout and a body 3 3/4" deep at the endpin. The top is ladder-braced -- but lightly-done. There are no cracks on the instrument, all the bracing is neat and tidy, and it betrays only an average amount of use-wear for its age.

The back and sides are solid birch and the neck appears to be maple but may be poplar. The fretboard is ebonized maple with a 12" radius.

Work included a neck reset (glued, shimmed, and bolted), fret level/dress, bridge pin fill/redrill and new rosewood bridge, a new compensated bone saddle, and a good setup. It's strung with 11s per the light bracing (52w, 38w, 28w, 20w, 15, 11) and sounds great. Action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret -- perfect. The neck deflects only a tiny amount (1/64") under tension and is good to go. There are new ebony bridge pins and a newer ebony endpin, too.


The original bone nut was recut a bit wonky by someone adjusting it in the past, but I've shored it up enough to keep it going steady.


The dots are pearl and I've added side dots, too. These frets are thin and tallish for their size, yielding a "halting" feel if you're the kind of player that crushes his/her fingers into the board on slides. A light touch is necessary to keep from getting hung-up. It's just the nature of the beast.



There's no binding, so the only decorative touch aside from the headstock decal is the inlaid rosette -- one ring of it!














Someone had attempted to reset the neck before with some shims (because they were poorly fit, it came off, apparently), so I shimmed it up further and got a good mechanical fit and glued it pat. Before I did, however, I prepped the heel and neck block to accept a couple of bolts as well (drywall screws) to just double-up the repair after the glue set. I don't trust the iffy Chicago neck joints years down the road, but I do trust these fellas to help-out.

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