1930s Slingerland MayBell No 6 000-Size Guitar

Models in the Slingerland lineup changed a lot year to year. This one appears to be a No 6 from the mid-late '30s and, like the latter-era 14-fret No 6 I worked on earlier, is simply-put a great guitar. This 12-fret version has an all-solid-birch body, ladder-bracing, and a huge, warm, woody sound. It's got more bottom-end chunk than the average x-braced 000 and has a lot of punch and volume.

I'm of the opinion these days that this style of Slingerland instrument was most-likely made by Oscar Schmidt in Jersey City, NJ. It has the right scale length, materials-use, and top/bracing style for that maker -- and also the right sound to be from that factory. Outwardly, though, it looks more like a Regal than anything else, but it's definitely not a Regal under the hood.

I initially fixed this up for its owner a year or so ago, but he's a constant mover-and-shaker and has decided to let this (and several others) go to rotate toys around in his collection. His loss!

Repairs included: (previously) a neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, replacement (belly-style) bridge, new bone saddle, new StewMac repro-style tuners, bridge pins, cleaning, minor brace and seam repairs, and setup. This time around, I just restrung it and adjusted the setup a bit as it'd been setup with higher action for slide use previously.

Made by: probably Oscar Schmidt

Model: Slingerland MayBell No 6

Made in: probably Jersey City, NJ, USA

Top wood: solid birch

Back & sides wood: solid birch

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: ebonized maple or similar

Neck wood: poplar

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 54w-12 lights

Neck shape: medium-big C/V

Board radius: ~12"

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-smaller

Scale length: 25"

Nut width: 1 11/16"

Body length: 19"

Body width: 15 1/4"

Body depth: 4 1/8"

Weight: 3 lbs 7 oz

Condition notes: it's in relatively good order but does have a few small, old-repaired, hairline cracks -- one on the front near the pickguard and two very tight hairlines in the middle of the back. The tuners, bridge, saddle, and bridge pins are replacements. One seam on the lower-bout-rear has "blown-out" a little bit and has some patched material where it was repaired. Check the pics -- it's not obvious. The nut has two extra sets of string slots for the high B&E strings but only two of the four B&E slots make sense to use...!


I think the Regal connection becomes less clear the more you get to know the '30s Slingerlands. I'm convinced now that the higher-end guitars, from at least the Songster models up, were probably made in-house, while most of the May Bell line was jobbed out -- perhaps largely to Regal, but I'm kind of inclining toward Schmidt as well.