The Bluesbox Collection

1930's Regal parlor guitar

I believe that this guitar is from a later period of the Regal factory, after Tonk Bros. bought them in 1929. The top, back and sides are made from solid birch. But the neck is one piece mahogany, with a painted birch fingerboard. It has an Oscar Schmidt tailpiece, which is probably original, since OS supplied such parts to many different manufacturers. The head is slotted and unfaced. It shows the remnants of a green, Regal logo decal. I had to change the tuners because one of the gears was missing and I couldn't find one in my collection that fit.

The back shows a slightly more pronounced sunburst effect. When I received the guitar, the back was loose at the lower end. Somebody had tried to re-attach it with small nails. There was also a break in the back, some separation around the top of the back and also in several spots around the face. Having the back so loose was a godsend, because it made it easy for me to remove the back completely and reglue all of the braces (except for one back brace, which was missing) before putting the guitar back together. I took avantage of the situation and reset the neck while I was at it. I also used some rubbing oil to restore the finish somewhat. The guitar has a nice tone and plays well.

Regal started making instruments, mostly guitars and banjos, in 1896. But the company was sold to a large corporation that went bankrupt around 1904. They re-emerged in 1908 as a manufacturing arm of Lyon & Healy (Washburn), and incorporated for the first time. The new company marketed ukuleles and tenor guitars, but until the late 1920's, it is generally thought that Regal made no 6 string guitars under the Regal brand name. Regal did make guitars for Washburn and other distributors. Around 1930, both brand names were bought by a distributor called Tonk Bros., which continued to make both brands at the Regal factory. After WWII, Regal lost ground and was eventually sold off to the Harmony Co., which marketed Regal brand guitars and banjos until the mid-fifties. The Regal brand disappeared at that point, to re-emerge in the 1980's as the oriental guitar maker, specializing in resonator instruments, which survives to this day.

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