Tuesday, April 24, 2018
New York String Service Musurgia.com
233 Butler Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
- Fri 12noon - 7pm
Sat 12noon - 6pm
online securely with
Regal Le Domino Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1932
Regal Le Domino Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1932, made in Chicago, black lacquer with decals finish, birch body, spruce top, poplar neck with ebonized fingerboard., black hard shell case.
The Le Domino line of inexpensive but flashy fretted instruments prospered in the 1920s and early 1930s, and still remains one of the more distinctive instrument lines of the era. The J.R. Stewart company of Chicago originated the Le Domino family of guitars, mandolins, soprano and tenor ukes, and banjo-ukes starting in the mid-1920s. The brand passed to Regal in the early '30s after Stewart was forced out of business following a disastrous partnership deal with Lyon & Healy. Le Domino ukes and banjo-ukes were the best sellers; this Grand Concert flat-top guitar is a comparatively rare find. Sold at a moderate price, these are well-made instruments compared to other decorated guitars and very flashy looking.
The guitar's sleek black finish is highlighted by white binding on the body and neck and Domino decals adorning the fingerboard at positions 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12. In a clever and subtle decorative touch, the tiny dominoes numerically designate the fingerboard positions. Larger decaled dominoes decorate the top below the bridge, and a gold sound hole ring festooned with small dominoes completes the ornamentation.
The headstock carries a gold script "Le Domino" logo and has a distinctive rounded carved-top edge that was a feature of many Regal instruments. There is a 3/4 intact Regal label present inside the sound hole, though the bottom corner has flaked off. The guitar has a ladder-braced spruce top and sounds very good, with a snappy bluesy ring. The neck is a medium "V" contour and quite playable. This very stylish guitar would be at home in many period styles, and looks sharp on any bandstand!
Overall length is 38 3/8 in. (97.5 cm.), 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/8 in. (48 mm.).
This guitar is in very fine original condition for the period, with just some tweaks to make it more playable to a modern standard. Although the Le Domino line were fairly popular at the time, not many of these fairly delicate early '30s instruments have survived this well. The oft-damaged decal decoration is fully original and intact, with only a very little of the commonly seen flaking. There is some minor wear overall (finish rubbed off the back corners of the headstock, and some small scratches and scuffs), but this guitar has simply not seen much play.
A clear flamenco-style tap plate has been added to the top to protect the finish below the sound hole. One tuner gear isn't an exact match, but you have to look pretty hard to notice! The guitar has had a clean neckset and a new repro bridge added (a very close copy of the original, but made of better quality wood with a compensated saddle, so the intonation is much improved). All-in-all a nice and exceptionally playable example of one of the most attractive of Regal products. The guitar sounds good, too -- it won't smoke a 1931 OM-18, but the sound is quite rich and detailed for a budget Depression-era guitar. Generally Excellent Condition.
Item # 5026
This item has been sold.
Click on a thumbnail above for a detailed view.
All text and photographs © 2003 New York String Service
and may not be reproduced without permission.