The Princess banjo-mandolin is still down in The Dungeon waiting final assembly. I confess that I made a small goof and had to do some touch-up on the headstock. So I'm waiting for the lacquer to dry so I can rub it out.
In the meantime we have a
exciting interesting new project.
The one on the right is a Regal-labelled small body model belonging to a good friend. And the one on the left is mine. It's clearly made by Regal, but carries the "May Bell" brand/logo used for their line of guitars, banjos and mandolins.
I'd guess both instruments date from the 1930s. Neither one has a serial number that I can find.
Both of them need neck resets and some other minor work.
The smaller one measures about 10 3/8 (about 30 cm) across the lower bout. That's about an inch smaller than a Size 5 Martin. I haven't measured the scale length just yet.
Come to think of it, I have a book on Regal guitars! I'll look these up and see what else I can find out.
Regal cranked out thousands of instruments through the 1920s and 30s. Their build quality is not as good as Martin's, but they use solid woods and are decently made. I'd guess they cost a third of an entry-level Martin, so you get what you pay for.
Look at the braces as an example. They look a bit unfinished. Functional, but not much beyond that.
I really like the contrasting black binding. Looks great.
Don't you love the way that old nitro lacquer gets that amber look over time? I just love it!
One of the plastic knobs broke and someone cleverly used a wine cork as a replacement! It works pretty well, but I want to put modern planetary geared banjo tuners on it.
The headstock shape is just like a banjo's.
This guitar has a LOT of playwear on it. I was initially thinking I'd refinish it, but I've decided to leave it as is. It has a ton of mojo!
Check out that string height - it's probably about a half of an inch (12mm) or so.
Another friend who is a great player calls that high action "cheese slicer" height.
Not that birch is a bad thing. I like the grain pattern.
I'm actually thinking about making an ebony bridge to replace this one...still pondering. Would it ruin the collector value? (Ha ha).
As with the smaller guitar, I'll be replacing these with planetary tuners.
Kay jumbo that's waiting in the queue for repair.
We never have a shortage of projects in The Dungeon!