1930s Regal-made BlueBird Flatback Mandolin

A customer brought this in sort-of for work and sort-of for trade. I'm not sure which way it will go! It came-in, however, with a moon-and-stars actual Dobro mandolin resonator coverplate, so when this was sold it was definitely a "faux-resonator" instrument after that fine '30s fashion.

With the coverplate removed, it's obvious that it's a very typical, student-level Regal build with solid birch throughout the body. The top and back are both flat (there's no center cant to the top like on earlier Regals) and while it was originally sprayed with a sunburst, the center bit of the top was sprayed with grey/silver so it'd look a bit like metal under the coverplate.

Clearly, adding a heavy metal coverplate to a wood-topped acoustic instrument isn't really a great choice for tone, so it's not surprising that after work this thing sounds a lot better without it. It has a nice, midsy voice that has scooping on the highs and lows -- something typical for birch-topped instruments in general. The highs are sweetened while the lower-mids and mids are accentuated. This makes the G&D courses woody and direct in a really nice way and the A&E courses sweet and less bitey than spruce.

Work included: an internal neck-bolt install to make sure the neck stays secure (these have a dumb, doweled neck joint that invariably loosens-up if not addressed with a bolt), fret level/dress, side dots install, compensation and shimming-up of the original bridge, seam repairs, quick hole-fills to where the coverplate used to be mounted on the top, cleaning (it was filthy), and a good setup. The neck is straight and it plays with spot-on 1/16" action at the 12th fret, strung with 34w-10 gauges.

Scale length: 13 7/8"
Nut width: 1 3/16"
String spacing at nut: 1"
String spacing at saddle: 1 11/16"
Body length: 13 1/2"
Body width: 10 3/8"
Side depth at tailpiece: 2 3/8"
Neck wood: poplar
Top wood: solid birch
Back/sides wood: solidbirch
Fretboard: ebonized maple
Neck shape: flat board, medium-deep C-shape
Bridge: original ebonized maple
Nut: original ebonized maple

Condition notes: it's entirely original but has significant use/storage wear throughout. There's one crack repair I did at the soundhole's top edge near the fretboard but I don't see any other cracks. The bridge is shimmed-up under its foot. There's also a tiny filled hole at the rear of the heel where I predrilled to install my internal helper-bolt for the neck joint.

The original, mini-buttoned Regal-style tuners work a lot better than most period mandolin tuners, actually.