1940s Regal Carved-Top Cutaway Archtop Guitar

While I've worked on a bunch of Regal pressed-top archtops, I've only worked on a handful of their carved-top models. Check out this one and this one for some ideas of their sound, as I didn't get a chance to snag a video for this guitar.

The owner thinks this is probably an early-'50s guitar, I'm thinking it's more like mid-to-late '40s. The tuner covers should date it to '41 but, but, but... the owner found out that they were used post-war on some of these instruments. He was also thinking that it's a pressed-top guitar, but I'm pretty certain it's a carved-top. As far as I know, all of the Regals with these long, '30s Gibson-esque f-holes were carved-tops and were marketed as such when they were made. The pressed-top Regals almost always use segmented f-holes or ones clearly routed-out in a clumsier pattern.

In addition, the pressed-top Regals have a very different arch, with a flatter "foot" to their arch and a distinct molded bulge starting inboards of the binding just a little -- typical of pressed-top guitars. The arch on this gently drops-off to the edge where the binding is. The pressed-tops also have a higher, more distinct arch while the carved-tops follow the Gibson-style sculpt of a low, shallow arch.

And, ya know what? These carved Regals sound like Gibsons. In fact, they sound like great Gibsons. I haven't yet played a bad one. It's all about chord-chopping on these because they have a mellow, warm, and chunky sound to the low-end and mids that's just thick. I'm not as big a fan of them for blistering or snappy lead work, but if what you do is chop chords all night backing a band with little fills here and there, these are perfect for the job.

Anyhow, I also didn't have time to grab specs for it, but it's a solid spruce top over ply maple back and sides. The neck is maple and the board and bridge are rosewood. It's got big-block pearl inlay in the fretboard and appears to be all-original save the tuners. I swapped those for Gotoh Kluson-style units as the originals were not... fun... at all.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, new tuners, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight save a miniscule amount of relief when tuned to pitch. Action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 gauges. It plays fast.

Condition notes: all-original and in good order throughout save the replacement tuners and a new endpin. As you'd guess, there's minor use-wear to the finish all over, though. The pickguard also has some outgassing but it's been reinforced on the rear.


McComber said…
What a beautiful Regal. It's good to know that these are still out there and being cherished.