Beltone Arch Top Mandolin, made by Regal (1940s)

 Beltone Arch Top Mandolin, made by Regal  (1940s)
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Item # 11644
Prices subject to change without notice.
Beltone Model Arch Top Mandolin, made by Regal (1940s), made in Chicago, brown stain finish, laminated birch body, poplar neck, ebonized fingerboard, black chipboard case.

Sold under a number of brand names in the 1940s and early '50s these somewhat oddball but endearing semi-resonated mandolins seem to have enjoyed a certain amount of popularity in their day. While definitely a low budget product (the top "binding" is painted on) there was at least some original design work behind them. There are two separate body cavities; the upper half is slim and mandolin shaped with F holes in the top. The bottom half is more like a banjo resonator sporting round soundholes coved with decorative screens all along the rim. Oddly enough there is no porting between the two, they function as separate acoustic chambers.

This one carries a Beltone logo on the headstock, a house brand of jobber Perlberg & Halpin in New York most commonly used in the 1920s and 30s. This instrument is just a bit later than that, probably the later 1940s. It is most likely a product of Regal in Chicago, who were somewhat in decline at the time going out of business in the mid-50s. The instrument is well made albeit to budget standards, with laminated body construction and plain fittings including bottom-line Waverly strip tuners and the ubiquitous "clamshell" tailpiece. It plays well (as well as they ever do, anyway) with a more pleasing sound than many lower end mandolins, and is certainly a conversation piece in any fretted collection!
Overall length is 25 3/4 in. (65.4 cm.), 12 in. (30.5 cm.) across at the widest point, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) deep. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

This mandolin is generally decently well preserved with some scuffing, scratching dings and dents to the finish overall but no damage or major repair. It remains all original except the snazzy pearloid pickguard is a carefully crafted repro. The tailpiece has some spotting to the plating but all the hardware is intact; the tuners work but are pretty stiff under full tension. The neck is not 100% straight but better than most and plays well with very clean unworn frets. This Beltone is a cool piece of fretted esoterica at the least, and sounds better than one might expect. Excellent - Condition.