1/09/2018

1930s Regal-made Slingerland MayBell No. 7 Parlor Guitar





I've worked on this same-model MayBell "Style #7" in a number of different configurations over the years. This one is the most-seen color scheme with its grey-pearloid fretboard veneer and tobacco-sunburst finish on the body. Compared to the average "catalog MayBell parlor" guitar, this is almost the same thing -- Regal-made, transverse-ladder-braced, and spruce over birch -- but has a ton of extra trim.

The customer who owns this wanted it done-up nice and then electrified with a P90 pickup in the soundhole. I picked-out a Korean-import Alnico-magnet P90 and it really does suit the vibe of the guitar as it makes you want to fingerpick it -- just like it does acoustically. Soundhole-mounted pickups on 12-fret acoustic guitars tend to sound pretty rich, too, with a lot of sustain and creeping-in overtone spreads.

Work included a neck reset, brace reglues and minor seam repairs, a refret and level/dress job to remove effective warp in the neck, new bridge install, a new bone saddle, pins, and wiring. All the wiring is shielded and I have a patch of grounding copper tape under the bridge that catches the ball-ends of the strings. Before this ships home, it'll also get a set of new StewMac "Golden Age" repro tuners of the same type, too.

I'm really happy with the way it turned-out -- it sounds, looks, and plays swell. It has to be strung light due to the unreinforced poplar neck (I have 46w, 36w, 26w, 18w, 14, 10 nickel-wound strings on it), but the overall lightness of the build means it's still satisfying to play.


This guitar is just a hair under "Martin 0 size" with a 13" lower bout and 24" scale length. It's very fortunate not to have any cracks on it, too.


The pearloid headstock veneer looks awesome. The nut is 1 3/4" and has a shallow-ish C-shaped profile near the first few frets and a deeper C/D profile as it goes up the neck.


The celluloid binding on the neck is thicker than usual.


The P90 needs its plastic "dogear" cover removed to fit, but that gives it a retro look in my book. Adjustable poles are good to have on a guitar like this, too, to compensate for whatever strings the owner will throw at it. Note that I've nicked-out the edge of the original cream pickguard to fit the mounting bolt for the pickup.


The new, rosewood bridge is a boring Martin belly-bridge shape, but it does help reinforce the light bracing. I added new ebony pins and cut a new compensated bone saddle for it, too. The original bridge was long-gone when this came in.


Cherub attack!


The bakelite knob is from an old radio. I figured the stylized top could be an "S" for Slingerland. I used a 500k pot to keep the highs nice and present in the output.








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