1900s Regal-made Spruce/Birch Mandolinetto

Mandolinettos -- guitar-shaped mandolins -- are somewhat rare instruments. They were popular for about 10 years in the 1890s and early 1900s and then tend to disappear from catalogs by around 1910-1915. I suppose it was a fad or a bridge between bowlback mandolins and flatback ones? Many of the ones I come across were built by Regal for Lyon & Healy brands -- just like this one. It's unmarked, but that curvy headstock top and various build characteristics mark it out as a Regal right-off. The tuner-style fits late 1890s instruments, but I'm placing it around 1900 to be safe.

This one's a customer's instrument and -- egads -- it's been waiting for work for ages. I'm so glad I finally got to it, though, because I think the owner will be happy with it. It's got a clean, bowlback-style sound but with a bit more oomph. I think it'll be both a nice "jammer" and also a nice "couch-sitter."

Note that while it looks like it has Brazilian rosewood for the back and sides, that's actually painted-on grain and color. It's birch. This is very typical of period guitars and it fools a ton of my customers when they're out hunting for instruments. You've now been warned.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, new compensated ebony bridge, side dots, seam and brace repairs, setup.

Made by: Regal

Made in: USA

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid birch (faux-rosewood paintjob)

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: ebony comp'd

Fretboard: ebonized maple, ebony nut

Neck wood: Spanish cedar?

Tone: clean, crisp, good mids, articulate

Suitable for: old-time, Celtic, folk

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 32w-9 (GHS A240 set)

Neck shape: medium V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: none

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low

Scale length: 13"

Nut width: 1 1/16"

String spacing at nut: 15/16"

String spacing at bridge: 1 9/16"

Body length: 10 1/4"

Body width: 7 1/2"

Body depth: 2 1/2"

Weight: 1 lb 4 oz

Condition notes: old slightly-mismatched seam repairs to the back, replacement bridge, lots of wear and tear (finish scratching, pickwear) throughout, otherwise original and in good order.