The Bluesbox Collection

1920's May-Bell guitar by Slingerland (Regal)

May-Bell was a brand name of the Slingerland Company, which was (and is) more famous for manufacturing drums, from 1917 until the mid 30's. In fact, although they did manufacture banjos, which aren't that much different from a drum, their guitars were made by Regal and Harmony. This one has the characteristic construction of a Regal. The silver burst face was achieved by first painting the entire guitar silver, then over-spraying with black. Note the colorful stencil around the soundhole. The bracing inside is tranverse - meaning that there is one main brace running at an angle past the sound hole, then a second running perpendicular to the first. My conclusion that this is a Regal is based partially on the fact that I have never seen anything but ladder bracing in Harmony instruments. Here is the back. The instrument appears to be made entirely of solid birch. The slotted head is unfaced and continues the silver-burst theme. The all-brass tuners are original and helped in dating the instrument. A May-Bell label appears through the sound hole. This guitar has an unusually wide neck - almost like a classical guitar and is an exceptional instrument for finger picking.

back to the The Bluesbox Collection