This tiple just sold last evening, to a lucky buyer. This is quite a nice one. It was made c.1920s (or early 1930s?) by probably Regal or Lyon & Healy. It features koa back, sides, and neck, with nice figuring throughout. The top is spruce and I've refinished the fretboard and top, (and dyed and distressed the top to look like a vintage blacktop instrument) as they were covered in a glazy overspray of newer finish... not to mention someone had "installed" a bridge in the completely wrong location (see photos lower down for 'before' pics).
This thing looks the business, definitely. Almost jazz-age cool. I've cut a new bridge from bone and installed a mandolin-style tailpiece from the same vintage. This setup gives the instrument terrific sustain and oomph with a nice clarity that is sometimes lacking in the pin/pull style bridges usual (and since removed) from this instrument.
Nice slotted headstock with ebony nut, original tuners, and ivoroid buttons.
MOP dots. This fretboard was a mess beforehand with a glazed ugly finish on it. I've stripped it, recolored it, and conditioned it... with the result being a nice, original-feeling, cozy fretboard.
Note the tortoise binding all over with multi-ply purfling to boot.
Sides. Check out how that tortoise catches the light. Very nice.
Figure in the koa.
Headstock back w/ivoroid buttons.
Detail of the wonderful figure in the side koa.
Tailpiece and ivoroid end pin.
As-found condition in this photo... note the improper bridge position and overspray all over the top and fretboard. The bridge was both glued AND bolted in the wrong place...!
...with this result.
And in case anyone needs clarification: a North American tiple (tee-play) is a 10-metal strung instrument of roughly tenor uke size and tuning (gCEA or aDF#B) with strings arranged in octaves in a 2-3-3-2 pattern. There are also South American (specifically Colombian) tiples that are bigger and tuned lower to DGBE with 10 or 12 strings.