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Kay Regal and Related Brands Owners Club

Discussion in 'Guitar Owners Clubs' started by bottomfeeder, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can never seem to find a husk that's worthwhile for under $300. But I'm not checking Reverb on a daily basis.
     
  2. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    I have, but most of those are the “P4” type.

    here is a picture of the guitar in question.
    CCBCC3BB-8822-4286-8AC0-313387919C0B.jpeg
     
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  3. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I mentioned earlier (post #32 on the previous page) that I thought it might be Steve Chipman of Vintage Parlor Guitars in Vermont that said that those guitars of my Dad's and Granddad's looked like Regals. Looking back through my own personal documents, it was indeed Steve Chipman that said so.

    I've discussed these guitars before in this forum, back in 2015. At that time, several fellow TDPRI members suggested that I contact Steve Chipman. I was hesitant to do so at first, because from what I had read of him, he repairs, restores and sells vintage parlors for a living. I didn’t see my quest for information ending in the purchase of one of his vintage instruments, so I didn’t want to be presumptuous regarding his time.

    But at the insistence of others I finally wrote to Steve, and tried to be very up front about what I was after, and left the matter to him. To my delight, Steve replied to my email in less than an hour, and proved to be most helpful, and very generous with his time and expertise.

    After examining the two photos I provided, Steve said that “There’s no way to be 100% certain.” However, he followed that by saying he “would lean toward Regal as the maker of each.” He went on the explain that “Of all the Chicago-based factory makers from this period, Regal was the one that went right after Martin’s body style and made it their own.” And about the fretboards, he added that the fretboard embellishments on both Granddad’s and Dad’s guitars were very “Regal.”

    Armed with that lead, I began to search for catalogs and old pictures of Regal guitars. I found a few descriptions and pictures of Regal fretboards that were very close to what I make of the guitars in my old family photos. For example, here is a pic of a Regal guitar from the 1930s, alongside a close-up of the fretboard.

    upload_2021-1-20_15-7-21.png

    This guitar is variously described as a “Diamond Head” (because of the stenciled/painted image of Diamond Head, Honolulu on the lower bout of the guitar) or as a “Two-in-one Guitar” (meaning it could be used for the popular “Hawaiian” style of slide playing or regularly fretted notes/chords). The guitar sold for $13.75.

    That fretboard embellishment was described in the advertisements of the day as a “silver color and black pearl-pyroxylin.” (Pyroxylin was a plastic product/lacquer made from a mixture of nitrocellulose compounds designed to produce a pearl-like/mother-of-pearl effect.)

    I have yet to find a picture of a Regal parlor sized guitar predating the 1930s with such fretboard embellishments, so I’m not certain if Granddad’s guitar was a Regal. As Steve Chipman said in his correspondence with me, “There’s no way to be 100% certain.” However, it sure looks like Dad’s was a Regal. Steve also said that in addition to the fretboard of that guitar, the pickguard looked Regal to him as well.

    So, that’s where I am in my quest for information about these old guitars that were once part of my family’s guitar playing heritage.
     
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  4. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    I think its a good bet your Grandads guitar is a Regal, it looks like the small tuner buttons I'm used to seeing on Regal's. Still it's hard to be 100% sure, another suspect is an Oscar Schmidt Stella. The banjo looks much like a Stella to me too.
     
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  5. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    Those are great pickups.
    From the '65 Kay catalog. Screenshot_2021-01-20-18-21-34-1.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
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  6. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Holic

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    I have a Kay "folk" nylon string with a neck that joins the body at the 14th fret, but the neck is broken after getting dropped. I need to try to repair it myself, since getting it fixed is probably more expensive than it's worth. Low volume but nice-sounding guitar.
     
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  7. bottomfeeder

    bottomfeeder Tele-Meister

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    Go for it and keep us posted. I see from your profile that you are 101, so don't overdo it.
     
  8. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    This Oscar Schmidt banjo looks exactly like your grand uncle's to me, what do you think?
    I'm considering buying this one, does anybody really need seven banjos though?:D
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=184625808513
    Screenshot_2021-01-23-09-12-38-1.png
     
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  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    upload_2021-1-23_12-51-22.png

    Well, I'm no expert on banjos, but that sure looks close. The time frame of that one for sale is the same approximate age of the instrument in my great-uncle's hands. Like I said before, that picture was taken around 1920, and it doesn't look like the banjo was brand-spanking new at the time of the photograph. So that "1900 era" Oscar Schmidt is in the ballpark, age-wise.

    That said, the headstock on the Oscar Schmidt looks rounder, more figure-8 than on the one my great-uncle had. But then that's just me eyeballing it, and like I said, I'm not expert.
     
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  10. bottomfeeder

    bottomfeeder Tele-Meister

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    Well that depends. How big of a bonfire are you building?;)
     
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  11. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    :D
     
  12. bottomfeeder

    bottomfeeder Tele-Meister

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    I played upright bass in a newgrass/americana string band for 10 years. I know all the banjo jokes.
     
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  13. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    I think i found the one your Dad is playing, a Supertone (Harmony) sold by Sears ca.1930's. Screenshot_2021-01-28-10-51-50-1.png Screenshot_2021-01-28-10-52-16-1.png
     
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  14. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    By Golly! I think you just might have, at that!

    upload_2021-1-28_16-34-29.png

    That pic of my Dad and his twin brother was taken in the late 1940s, I think. My Dad was born in 1932, so a '30s vintage guitar would have been when he was quite young. But again, his father before him was a player as well, and so that guitar could very well have been from the '30s and still been around for Dad to play on.

    I liked the idea of the guitars in those family pics being Regals. But it's even cooler if what Dad had in his hands that day was a Supertone by Harmony, since the guitars I remember Dad having when I was a boy were Harmony guitars: a Stella H929 and an Archtone H1213.

    This has opened up a whole new direction for me to explore. Thanks so much for sharing this!
     
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  15. Martian

    Martian Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    This is impressive. And very cool. Those guitars, the ones so many of us learned on and grew up with, never got a lot of love. Good to see maybe that’s changing.
     
  16. Martian

    Martian Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    C3527CFD-27CD-40B1-A59F-9B7749045068.png Here are a couple of mine. The guitar, above is, I believe, a 1930’s Regal. (There’s no headstock decal; the star up top is from an earring I found in a London in 1982 and put it on this guitar 15 years later.) I love this guitar! F-holes AND oval hole is something you don’t see every day. Obviously the product of a committee decision. The Selmer tailpiece isn’t original but it’s probably better than what was there before. And it looks perfect with that body. The guitar is shockingly light. Whatever weight there is to it must be in the neck which is, seriously, like a mahogany baseball bat. The action is fine for standard tuning but I like to keep it in open G. Like I said, I love this guitar.
    The guitar below is a cool Kay. Really nice guitar which doesn’t get out of its case much. I think I’m finally going to sell it...
    8BD933DD-A23F-4FC6-90A3-F3896FF0E071.jpeg And if it’s gonna stay in a case it may as well be this one... DA3B5A02-8E80-4A77-AADA-415BA4EF1A15.jpeg And fwiw here’s a mandolin made by the B&J company in New York in the ‘40’s. Design wise it pulls from a few different makers including Kay. It’s a surprisingly nice instrument...
    C9FC1BDA-2AD4-471A-AD1D-EAC0628B7F01.jpeg
     

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  17. bottomfeeder

    bottomfeeder Tele-Meister

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    Nice collection there. Some really extraordinary old Kay's.
     
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  18. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another guitar that's caught my eye is the Hofner President. They are German guitars but I'm not sure that they are vintage, to say nothing of the availability. Anyone know much about these guitars as an artifact?
     
  19. bottomfeeder

    bottomfeeder Tele-Meister

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    I don't know much about the Presidents, but the modern models have caught my eye also.
     
  20. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Holic

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    Nice stuff! The Mandolin is definitely built by Stromberg Voisinet/ Kay, its called a two point, B&J was distributor.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buegeleisen_and_Jacobson
     
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