11/11/2011

c.1925 Regal-made Tiple to Mandola Conversion


This is a great-looking pearloid-bedecked tiple made by Regal from around c.1925 or thereabouts. The customer I was working on it for asked for it to be converted over to a mandola and that's just what I did. Other work included a neck reset, fret dress, reseating many frets, bridge modification, new bone nut, reso-mando style tailpiece installation, seam reglues, and whatever else this needed. It was in kind-of sore shape to begin with.

Here's a video of how it turned out:




The pickguards were added by an owner after leaving the factory, and I had to put those back on as well since the glue had peeled up underneath.

At any rate -- sound-wise -- as a mandola this isn't super loud but it's also not dead quiet like some vintage 'dolas can be. It's got a very warm, sweet, and intimate quality to it and would be "ace" for recording, methinks.


Originally this bridge was a top-loader pin-bridge style thingie, but it was damaged and had already been converted for a tailpiece-loaded setup. I removed the remnants of that debacle (the "tie block" part of the bridge) and then jacked the bridge up. The action was too low after the neck reset so I installed a whole new layer of wood under the bridge foot to get better height. I didn't want to use a typical mandolin-style floating bridge because the top showed some damage from where the old bridge had been glued down.


Note that the strings are strung in pairs and then triples on the treble courses. The treble courses can be easily taken down to pairs if desired by removing the middle string. The string spacing will remain balanced with the bass courses. I made this "convertible" like this because the customer had originally asked for just pairs on the high end but I always feel uncomfortable not making the most of an instrument's inherent benefits! Besides, the tripled treble strings give this a Latin-American zing that otherwise would be lacking.


Pretty purfled inlay.


Fun creamy pearloid board.


...and even cooler grey pearloid headstock.



The top is solid spruce while the back, sides, and neck are all solid birch.


Had to lube the tuners but they were in otherwise good shape.





I love these reso-mando style tailpieces. Very stiff and durable and easy to load -- and a good-size screw hole that makes a great mount for a strap button!

1 comment:

Morebarn said...

Beautiful work, Jake. Sounds sweet!