Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

  1. #1

    Default 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    I mentioned this mandolin in the thread about the Martin for $6,000 plus dollars in the regual thread about wishful thinking on ebay by sellers. I just did it as a comparison in price as this was $380 and it is rosewood as well. Jim Garber sleuthed out the ebay listing and various people had a chortle over the concept of a "Regal Custom" instrument and thought $380 was somewhat pricey for an old Regal. However, as others have mentioned, and also in George Carlin's Regal book, a number of custom Regal instruments are featured- so it is for real, not the imagination of the seller and the label states "Regal Custom Built."

    Anyway, the mandolin arrived this morning and after three hours of cleaning and tweakingt, it plays well and sounds good- and I am sure it will get a lot better but I am more than happy with its tone. The mandolin has an action of 1.5mm under the G strings. The neck is straight and the frets are perfect.

    There was a suggestion that the " antique" part of the mandolin was the strings and that they were original. Well, you never know...the mandolin is virtually ding free and the headstock shows none of the usual scratches and marks made by string ends and heavy-handed string changes. The tuners are "patent applied for" Klusons from the late 30s- all the buttons are perfect- most unusual for this vintage and no bent button posts. The instrument tunes well and seems to hold tune. The binding on the body is not celluloid- it is wood- quite attractive, too. The finish is not massively cracked- it is really good and virtually unmarked. The carved top is not deformed- neither is the back which I assume must be pressed. The body is all solid rosewood as is the board. The board is quite wide- I think the nut is 1 & 3/16 inches wide- possibly 1 & 1/4- it feels really good to play. It has a really good compensated BRW bridge which I assume is original.

    Here are the negatives- there is a tiny bit of the BRW veneer missing off the headstock. There is a very small crack where the hole in the side holds the pickguard bracket. The guard has gone while there is a small amount of binding missing from the end and one side of the board. I hope to get those two elements fixed/made. Good news is that it fits a nice 1930s G & S hard case I have, like a glove. I do have a soft spot for two-point mandolins- my first flatback was a Japanese copy of the Gibson A5. I wonder if this model inspired Gibson at all- it has that wider board? I see no sings of repairs but there appears to be a dowel through the neck block- that may be original- it may signify a neck reset, I am not sure- I will ask The Man. He knows I am after a pickguard- my super cheap Wards Regal sports the same shaped item but in black- that is somewhere in customs at present and will emerge whenever the bureaucracy has finished grinding.

    All-in-all, I am very happy with it- I was concerned I might find something untoward but apart from dirt- as mentioned in the listing it is in very good order. I have a feeling I have uploaded the same photo twice in this little lot!



    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Regal Custom Body.JPG 
Views:	115 
Size:	158.9 KB 
ID:	180118Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7684 Regal Front.jpg 
Views:	124 
Size:	153.8 KB 
ID:	180119Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7688 Regal Custob Back.JPG 
Views:	90 
Size:	201.2 KB 
ID:	180120Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Regal Archtops.jpg 
Views:	88 
Size:	460.6 KB 
ID:	180121.

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to NickR For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,668
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Very nice score! I do love block inlays!

  4. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,934

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Bob Carlin's Regal book did a whole lot to show what the Regal shop was capable of. Over the years a whole lot of Regal stuff was credited to other people when in fact it was built by Regal. It's always a joy to see these actually labeled.

    As for Gibson being inspired by Regal, I doubt it. Frank Kordick on the other hand greatly admired some Gibson designs and readily copied shapes and dimensions.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Sep-25-2019 at 1:12pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:

    Davey 

  6. #4

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    You are probably right but I wondered if it gave Gibson a nudge in the direction of the A5. The scale length- which I did not mention with my set up is 14 inches. It's nice to buy an old instrument with great frets!

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,427

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Jim Garber sleuthed out the ebay listing and various people had a chortle over the concept of a "Regal Custom" instrument and thought $380 was somewhat pricey for an old Regal. However, as others have mentioned, and also in George Carlin's Regal book, a number of custom Regal instruments are featured- so it is for real, not the imagination of the seller and the label states "Regal Custom Built."
    I don't think I was was one of the chortlers since I own a "custom" Regal. I love these outlier instruments from large companies. Also, I am a big fan of ostensibly cheapo instruments that have some deep tone. I own a jumbo Kay that will give a vintage Gibson dreadnaught run fo the money aside from its Louisville Slugger neck.

    BTW the Regal book is by Bob Carlin, at one time a fellow old time musician of mine in New York City and excellent banjo player. Although I always do think of George's routine on stuff whenever I look at my instrument closet.

    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  8. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  9. #6

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Jim, you most certainly were not one of those that chortled- you just found the listing that I had mentioned out of simple interest. I admit I was concerned that I had acted impetuously and had not made an offer- which was available. I thought the instrument looked pretty solid- you could see the neck and string action- the bridge was positioned roughly correctly, so I just dived in. On the basis, that the instrument retailed for the same price as an A50 I assumed it was not junk. However, we know that the name Gibson multiplies the price for a similar quality vintage instrument- while the better products from Chicago do not enjoy equivalent dynamics!

    I could not remember Bob Carlin's first name at the keyboard- so I got the book out and checked- and I saw that it was indeed Bob. I went back to the computer and typed George- as he was definitely on my brain as the wrong choice! I like the video of him talking about children and how, apparently, "all children are special"- George muses on when it is all these "special" children become run-of-the-mill useless adults!

    On the matter of Chicago instruments. I managed to get my massively experienced mender/maker to work on my 1942 Harmony Cremona IV, which is hand carved. This was his first time with such an instrument and his comment was, that the workmanship and quality was every bit as good as anything he had seen form the more celebrated makers- you know who I am referring to. He went on to say that it was a great sounding instrument and he now understood why, with prices at their current levels, some would buy such an instrument which represented a good bargain- assuming others were made to this quality. He then went off and grabbed what I am certain was this instrument, which is a dressed up Harmony Cremona- it had the same case but must have travelled 3,000 odd miles. He did not say why he had it in his house- it may have been there for his son to work on, I did not ask. https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...ore-diana.html

    Anyway, I hope he likes this Regal! At least I do- and it is not a question of having to, having coughed up quite a bit for shipping and importation duty and sales tax!

  10. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,427

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    NickR: My long time friend dealt in antiques when he was in college. He was early into art pottery from the turn of the last century, way before many other folks were not. I remember going with him to an auction and he won quite a few pieces but he said he was not afraid of outbidding others in the belief that these pieces were worth more than he paid. We all take these chances. I have gotten some serious bargains in my multiple decades of buying vintage instruments. I have also paid top dollar for things that I felt were worth it. And mostly I was buying things with the idea of playing them. I think the joy of the hunt is finding something of value in those much maligned or ignored instruments.

    This was my bumpy journey to collect bowlback mandolins and also to learn as much as possible about them. One net result is that I have a good handful of excellent ones. The other downside is that I have a closetful of some that either need work or of little value as-is. Loads of fun though.

    I love George Carlin so nice that you brought his name into this even if it was a mistake.

    In any case, you have inspired me to get my Regal in playing shape. It is great that you have an excellent luthier to do your work. I have a few around me though they do require a bit of driving it usually ends up having a nice vsit and sometimes lunch with them. As they (whoever "they" are) say: "Life is good."

    Maybe we can have a Regal duet if we ever meet.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  11. #8

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Jim, I hope you can get your Regal up and running- I am sure it will be worth it and be fun to play. I am extremely lucky to have such a great craftsman to back me up- and dig me out of my biggest holes, I have fallen into. When I mentioned him in my local music shop the guy said; "You have to be in the inner circle to have him do your work." In fact, I was introduced to him and his father-in-law who was arguably Britain's top archtop maker in 1983 and somehow had not realised I was so lucky to be given an intro to such skilled men!

    Sadly, I have not been to the USA since 1997. I need to get my motor running and get moving again- I used to do business trips to the USA and that all ended and I kind of became a homebody. I'm lucky my luthier likes mandolins- I can queue jump. Here's a much bigger restoration he did! It's like watching a kid with his new toy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uzC5KC_260&t=17s

  12. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,427

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Wow, luthier to the stars! Fantastic. I didn't realize you were in the UK.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  13. #10

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    When he gets sniffy over my Kay instruments I mention that he's okay with a Macca Kay!

    Here are two of his father-in-law's archtops.

    This one is Stateside now it seems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyItG_qsun8

    Closer to home- just down the road in fact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK_S6k9GnkM

    One of his flat tops on an album cover: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faro_Annie

  14. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,427

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Hey NickR: over here we rarely get any idea of some of the quality makers over there. I have never heard of Dick Knight but the guitars look quite nice. I saw John Renbourn perform many years ago but I don't recall what he was playing. I think i might have noticed if it were some UK-made one.

    OK, what is a Macca Kay?
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  15. #12

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    It's a Kay owned by McCartney! That Bill Black bass. You can see a knight flat top at 10-30 on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXatvzWAzLU&t=669s

    Back in 1930 Dick Knight met Dave Apollon and went backstage to talk with him at the London Palladium. In 1935, he severed alll the fingers on his left hand in a saw accident making framework for the body of a Lagonda car. He was a very interesting man. His son-in-law told me a few weeks ago that when Dick got together with his old cronies, not one of them had a full set of digits!

  16. #13
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    It's a Kay owned by McCartney! That Bill Black bass. You can see a knight flat top at 10-30 on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXatvzWAzLU&t=669s
    In the youtube video, I love the extended outro that introduces the layered instruments playing the same theme... "Mandolin" is a Fender Strat played with tremolo! No mandolin content at all...

  17. #14

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    I missed that but I had to laugh when Paul Mc Cartney imagined Elvis, Bill and Scotty together out on the Interstate as those roads were not built when they toured- they were in the planning stage, so they bounced around the rural routes while Elvis was soon inducted into the Army- early in 1958..

  18. #15

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    The Regal custom shop in the 30s produced some spectacular instruments. I found an unlabeled custom guitar at a yard sale along Sheridan Ave. in Chicago years ago that was the equal of anything made in the day. Turned out it had been made for a well-known musician on the WLS Barndance. 000-size, dreadnaught depth, gorgeous sunburst top, back and sides, birdseye maple, deco pearl appointments. Amazing--one of those "wish-I-had-it-back instruments. I think Norman's Rare Guitars had it at some point but can't find it now. You got a good one there.

  19. #16

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    The guitar was made for LuluBelle of LuluBelle and Scotty Wiseman. There were apparently two made in one small batch, one sunburst and one natural. Here is a shot of the natural one, but note the inlay and the white pearl moon at the top of the peghead...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPJzLCQq4h0

  20. #17

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    I love that song- I suppose I know the Gene Autry version but this was a great version with some nice clear ringing guitar notes. The guitar looks really interesting- and I imagine it was a really good instrument. I can see why you wish you had kept yours.

  21. #18

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    I unloaded the Regal Custom on to my expert last night. His initial reaction is that it is a very good instrument- well made and in good order- he says the neck has been removed at some time but it was a good job. He will make me the new pickguard, so at some stage I can post up another photo or two.

  22. #19

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    I have a Regal mandola that I traded a banjo for many years ago. I was told it was a mandolin and at the time didn't know any better. It has no label or any other markings, but I was able to ID it as a Regal based on how it looks. I figure it was made in teens or twenties. It's a nice little instrument. I have some high-end instruments, but there's something about the more proletariat brands such as Regal and Harmony that float my boat. Photos of my Regal below:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1264.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	634.7 KB 
ID:	181023Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1267.jpg 
Views:	17 
Size:	679.6 KB 
ID:	181024Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1266.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	492.3 KB 
ID:	181025
    I lined the case using a piece of an Indian bedspread and carpet backing for cushioning. I use better materials nowadays. Finally got the correct cloud tailpiece cover. This isn't one of the custom regal instruments, but was well made, has a nice sound, and even a case that fits. Who could ask for more?

  23. The following members say thank you to Calocedrus for this post:


  24. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,427

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Calocedrus: what is the scale length of your mandola?
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  25. #21

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Calocedrus: what is the scale length of your mandola?
    Jim -

    I'll have to pull the mandola out of my climate controlled storage and measure it. My GAS and MAS got too much to keep everything in the house. I have a Guild D-40 guitar and a 1950 Gibson A50 that I have out to play anytime I walk by, but the others tend to get cycled through. We have earthquakes, so most of my instruments are kept in their cases when not being played. After the last big one, I even took the Guild off its stand and laid it on the floor for a few weeks until aftershocks diminished and I felt less paranoid.

    And thanks for posting the link to the 19th Century tunes - I look forward to exploring the files.

    - Denis

  26. #22

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    That mandola looks great. Generally, if sold by a third party, its name would be engraved on the plate that covers the tuners It is one of the middle range Regal instruments- probably 1920s. Bob Carlin's book shows it from the H C Schultz cataloge from 1928- the Regal Superior Mandola- $30.20 which is a wholesale price. He gives a date range of 1921-1935.

  27. #23
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,912

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by Calocedrus View Post
    ... I have some high-end instruments, but there's something about the more proletariat brands such as Regal and Harmony that float my boat.... well made, has a nice sound, and even a case that fits. Who could ask for more?
    When I do most of my solo gigs, two of the three instruments I take are Regals: an eight string tenor ukulele ("taropatch") from the 1930's, and a flat-head resonator banjo, also '30's, with an aftermarket long "Pete Seeger" five-string neck. (The third is a 1940 Martin 00-28G/00-42 conversion guitar.)

    Good, solid-wood, decently made instruments, that sound clear and resonant after 80+ years of use. I couldn't estimate how many hours, and how many dollars, I've gotten of of "journeyman" class US-made instruments, from the era when even large instrument factories put decent materials and work-person-ship into their products. Just sorry that era's in the past, and we look across the Pacific to find the same level of quality and design.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  28. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  29. #24
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,187

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by Calocedrus View Post
    I have a Regal mandola that I traded a banjo for many years ago. I was told it was a mandolin and at the time didn't know any better. It has no label or any other markings, but I was able to ID it as a Regal based on how it looks. I figure it was made in teens or twenties. It's a nice little instrument. I have some high-end instruments, but there's something about the more proletariat brands such as Regal and Harmony that float my boat. Photos of my Regal below:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1264.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	634.7 KB 
ID:	181023Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1267.jpg 
Views:	17 
Size:	679.6 KB 
ID:	181024Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandola 1266.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	492.3 KB 
ID:	181025
    I lined the case using a piece of an Indian bedspread and carpet backing for cushioning. I use better materials nowadays. Finally got the correct cloud tailpiece cover. This isn't one of the custom regal instruments, but was well made, has a nice sound, and even a case that fits. Who could ask for more?
    I have a Regal mandola I got a few years back and enjoy it quite a lot. Quite resembles this...though I'd second Jim on confirming the scale length.
    Proletarian, yes. Easy to play and sounds pretty okay. I won't comp it with an arch top for complexity of sound, but it's delightful in its own way.

    I'll try to get some photos to add tomorrow.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  30. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  31. #25

    Default Re: 1939 Regal Custom Mandolin- Carved Top- Two Point- Oval Hole

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Calocedrus: what is the scale length of your mandola?
    Jim -

    Well, finally got over to the climate-controlled storage and got the Regal mandola out. Scale length is 16.75". I'm curious why this is of interest to you. Did Regal change scale lengths at some point?

    - Denis

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •