4/12/2011

c.1925 Regal Mahogany/Poplar Ukulele


This cute little soprano uke was made by Regal in Chicago, probably around 1925-1930 or so. It shares the typical body shape, bracing, and outline of most of their soprano ukes from the time, though the neck is a little wider than normal at the nut and it has a rounded headstock rather than their typical "shield" shape with a small point at the top.

This uke is bound on the front and back in black celluloid and also on the sides of the neck and headstock. The body is solid mahogany while the neck, bracing, and purfling are all solid poplar, with frets inlaid directly into the top of the neck.


Tone is bell-like, sweet, and very loud, and the uke is all-original save that at one point someone reglued the bridge and used screws to reinforce it. I've since removed those screws and inlaid a couple of pearl dots to cover their holes. I also glued-up and cleated a hairline crack to the top at the treble side of the bridge. Aside from that, the uke is crack-free.


Cute headstock shape and nice (wide profile) nut make this uke very comfortable for longer-fingered folk, more like a Martin than a Regal. Of the many Regals I've worked on, this neck profile (slightly wider) has only popped up on two or three of them, one of which is in my own collection.


Nice simple fretboard.


I love the contrast of the poplar and the mahogany.


Double-ring soundhole.



In addition to setup work and crack repair, I also reset the neck as it was loose and reseated the 12th fret. Good to go for the next 90-100!


One of the coolest features of this uke are its original, quite rare, Waverly patent pegs. These have bakelite buttons and cool little "holder" stamped Waverly at the top of the button, which holds the button so that when you turn it, the shaft rotates. These look darn classy vs. the conventional shaft+bakelite button peg. They also turn nicely.


Plain but good looking 'hog on this one. Note that the front and back are bound.




Here you can see those tuners better. This is the only uke I've found them on "in real life." I've seen them in catalogs from the time but never in person, so I have a feeling they didn't last too long as far as an item that was sold.

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