As the electric guitar took hold in the '50s, every department store and mail-order catalog wanted to make sure they had plenty of electric guitars in stock. Mass-produced axes from brands like Harmony, Regal, Silvertone, and Kay were readily available and cost effective—with a wide range of features and styles!
In 1959, most Regal models were made in Chicago by Harmony. The Harmony-made R-270 has a fully-hollow thinline body with a cutaway and a single DeArmond pickup in the neck position. In keeping with the late-'50s vibe, this straightforward electric guitar has an exciting "Space Age" name: the Meteor.
Like many Regals, the R-270 has more elaborate stylings than the regular Harmony models. The Meteor has fancy purfling all around the top border and even on the edges of the fingerboard. Its large pearloid block inlays draw your eye to the fingerboard, and the wide, flared headstock seems over-the-top and "Regal" enough.
This '59 Regal R-270 came to us in impressive playable condition. It looks like a variety of bridges have been used over the years, but it is currently set up with a proper rosewood archtop bridge. Because of that, it packs acoustic resonance and archtop tone, but the thinline body is a bit more comfortable. The dynamic and acoustic feel translates nicely into the tone plugged-in.
Over the years, the nut has been replaced, but the original tuners are in place, and they still hold tune nicely. The pickguard looks to have been cracked and damaged along the fingerboard edge, but it has been repaired, looks neat, and doesn't get in the way. The neck is in good shape, and it plays well with good action up and down the fingerboard. This '59 R-270 Meteor even includes a hardshell case!