6/14/2018

1930s Regal-made Slingerland MayBell No. 1 Concert Guitar




I'm pretty sure this is a MayBell "Style Number 1" via the old Slingerland catalogs and it's essentially the same as the slightly-later "College Pal" MayBell models except that the headstock is slotted. The body is all solid birch with transverse ladder bracing (an angled main brace), the neck is poplar, and the fretboard is stained maple. The modified ladder bracing gives these a more open, warmer tone than your average 13" lower-bout ladder-braced flattop from the time, and unlike the spruce-topped versions similar to this model, the stiffer birch-top ones like this hold-up pretty well, too. You don't have to baby them as much and the hardwood gives it a "woodier," more mahogany-esque tone.

A customer asked if I could convert this consigned MayBell that's been in the "upcoming" section into a lefty for him. As it needed a new bridge anyhow, that was an easy-peasy request. Work thus included a neck reset, fret level/dress, a new custom bridge cut for a lefty saddle, new nut and saddle (bone), a number of seam repairs, cleaning, and a good setup. It's strung light with 46w-10 strings and the action is dialed-in perfect at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. The neck is straight.

Specs are: 24" scale, 1 3/4" nut width, 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/4" spacing at the bridge, 13 1/4" lower bout, 9 3/4" upper bout, and 4" side depth at the endblock. The fretboard has a flat profile and the back of the neck is a medium, full-C shape. There are no cracks and the guitar is original save for the nut, saddle, pins, and bridge. All of its "binding" is paint.






The saddle is fully-compensated, good and tall, and has a slot deep enough to allow shimming of the height to taste. Note that I cut my bridge pins following the line of the saddle to keep the break-angle even. It's not traditional, but I like it. It also means the bridge tends to not split along the line of the pins if it dries-out too much.











The endstrip has just a hair of pop-out on the back edge, but it's nothing to worry about.

1 comment:

Alexander Robinson said...

No one could ever accuse you as being Lacking in Courage Jake. Great effort. Well done.