View Full Version : Need help identifying old tenor guitar

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-04-2009, 1:41pm
So I bought an old tenor guitar recently for short money and plan on repairing it as a player. It was strung up when I bought it and it sounded great. I have already repaired two large body cracks and have started working on some of the other issues (side seam separation). I have been trying to find out who made this tenor guitar and can not find any pictures of similar instruments. I have compared it to virtually every tenor I have seen and it's not even close. There are no labels inside and nothing on the headstock. I will try to take some pictures this evening.

The two distinguishing characteristics would be offset tuners (placement looks to be original) at about 45 degrees towards the body and faux tortoise shell binding on the body as well as the soundhole. I thought the tortoise bound soundhole may be a giveaway for people that know more than I do about tenors. Thanks for any help. :)

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-04-2009, 5:14pm
Well, just got home from work and in the midst of moving to a new house our digital camera has vanished. I wish I could post some pictures but I may have to wait until we move and the camera is discovered. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but you've gotta work with what you're given. The guy that I bought it from said his father bought it in the 40's or 50's. The guitar is a dark sunburst and it has the tortoise shell binding on the top side of the guitar and the soundhole is bound in tortoise (faux I believe). Maybe someone has seen this before or owns something similar...hopefully I find that camera soon.

Oct-05-2009, 4:27pm
Ain't gonna be no ID without pictures. Bound soundholes are fairly common. Headstock and body shape is what's needed, as well as any inlay, brand of tuners, such like.

Oct-05-2009, 4:46pm
I owned a tenor guitar one time, maybe it was the same model. ;)

Allen's right, we need some pictures.

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-05-2009, 6:01pm
Alright, found some pictures I took when I first got it about two months ago. I had to get them off of my old computer and these were the only two I had on there. I had just taken the pickguard off (tortoise) to work on the two body cracks, which look pretty good now.

I did find out that the tuners aren't original, just very tarnished old open backs. When I took them off there was an obvious divot from a previous tuner underneath. Again, I can get some more pictures after we move this weekend.

Oct-05-2009, 6:21pm
My guess is it's a Kalamazoo.

Oct-05-2009, 9:20pm
Get some pictures of the headstock. I'd be real hesitant to call any brand name based on what I can see here.

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-06-2009, 6:52am
Will do Mike, I hope to post them by Thursday. I have already taken the tuners off and can get a picture of them too (although I'm pretty sure they're not original)..

Oct-07-2009, 11:27am
The pre-war Kalamazoos and Gibsons I've seen have a lower bout that's larger in relation to the upper bout, and a smaller waist. Also, most G pickguards seem to go almost to the edge of the top; this one's quite a bit smaller.

I was thinking Harmony, but again the pickguard shape looks wrong. Ditto for Stella. I got nothing here.

Oct-08-2009, 11:42am
That's a nice looking guitar; very promising. A nice spruce top.
I see that the top and the soundhole have 'tortoise' binding, which together with the body shape don't resemble Kalamazoo's I've seen. Could maybe be a Regal or Supertone, or something in that family tree ?

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-10-2009, 3:14pm
Alright, finally got a hold of the camera. Here are two pictures one from the front of the headstock and one from the back. It's strange, on the upper right tuner (looking from the back) the tuner was once straight up and down and when I received it they were all at about 45 degrees. It is a good looking guitar but needs a fair amount of work. There looks to be a messy repair on the bridge plate (which runs across the whole belly of the guitar). I'll attach a picture of that too.

Oct-10-2009, 3:42pm
It's not a Kalamazoo, it's not a Harmony, it's not a Kay. The catch all of Regal is probably a good guess.

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-10-2009, 4:12pm
Thanks Mike, any idea on an approximate time period? I can't tell if the mess inside was during construction or a nasty repair job. Thanks for the i.d.

Oct-10-2009, 7:30pm
I'm wondering if it had friction tuners on it. It's a guess but I'd put it in the 30's. The tuners are one of the things that would date it absent anything else.

Oct-11-2009, 7:25pm
It's not a Kalamazoo, it's not a Harmony, it's not a Kay. The catch all of Regal is probably a good guess.

I was going to disagree, because a] I'm basically disagreeable, and b] all the Regal tenors I found on the web seemed to have "figure eight" shaped headstocks, with a "waist" between the 1st/4th and 2nd/3rd string sets of tuners. But I found this Regal resophonic (http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/80U-2228.htm) that has a nearly identical headstock, so I'm going with Mike E that Regal's a strong possibility. The Elderly instrument is dated "1933-39," so "'30's" makes sense as well.

Oct-11-2009, 8:32pm
Nice catch Allen, the headstock appears to be the same at it does have friction tuners.

Salmon Falls Strings
Oct-12-2009, 8:32am
Thanks a lot guys, I knew this would be the place to ask. I also found a picture of a 1930's Regal ukulele that had a similar headstock with friction tuners. Well, as I restore it I may put friction tuners back on.