Regal Model R-235 Jumbo Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Harmony (1964)

 Regal Model R-235 Jumbo Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Harmony  (1964)
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Item # 11820
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Regal Model R-235 Jumbo Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Harmony (1964), made in Chicago, serial # 7617-235, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

Quick! Who made this guitar? "Regal" one might say, as it is spelled out on the headstock, but the Regal factory in Chicago closed ten or so years before it was made. It is recognizably Harmony product, a variation on their familiar Sovereign Model H-1260. So did they market it? Well, no as improbable as it sounds this guitar was actually sold by Fender in California in an odd and seemingly incongruous convergence of famous fretted names. This Harmony-made guitar branded with the venerable Regal brand was actually built specifically for Fender sales, when they wanted to expand the operation beyond simply selling Leo's products.

A full line of "Regal" instruments were products of this little known partnership between Fullerton and Chicago. Don Randall of Fender Sales announced a Regal-branded line of Harmony-built acoustics to the trade in October 1958; at the time Fender itself offered only solidbody electrics and amps. Oddly enough, several Regal hollowbody electrics were added the next year to supplement the company's solidbodies, thus giving Fender Sales what looked like a more complete line.

The Regal R-235 was the fairly fancy king of this flat top line, with a list price $89.50. It is a 16 1/8" wide jumbo with solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and a ladder-braced solid spruce top. Basically the same guitar as well-regarded Harmony Sovereign H1260 model it does have some interesting specific "Regal" features. The pickguard and angled-end bridge are shaped differently, but the most striking is a black/white laminated peaked headstock faced in etched-through laminated plastic with a nifty "Regal" script logo. The large celluloid truss rod cover appears to be made of the same "green" nitrocellulose as period Fender pickguards. This one has some prominent "bearclaw" figure in the spruce top unusual for a Harmony!

This model is a very cool looking and good sounding guitar, an interesting variation of one of Harmony's very best flat tops that is rather rare today. The whole Fender-Regal line seems to have been only marginally successful, and was quickly forgotten after the CBS takeover. This guitar is stamped with a 1964 date code so would be a fairly late example. It is a fine playing, powerful sounding flat top and cool reminder of the mostly forgotten Fender/Harmony convergence of the early '60's.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 16 1/8 in. (41 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 7/16 in. (11.3 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This is a fairly clean example of this Sovereign variation; with a recent neckset and fret job a fine playing example of this great-sounding but often clunky-playing instrument. There is some general wear overall with dings, dents and scrapes most notably pick marks on the lower soundhole rim and one repaired grain crack on the back. The back of the neck has a few feelable dings and scrapes but no heavy wear. The guitar remains all original except for a reworked bridge saddle. This Fender-associated oddity is an unusual very cool example of this top-quality Harmony flat-top, big sounding and ready to gig in a battered but functional '70's Japanese HSC Excellent - Condition.