5/29/2013

c.1950 Regal Tenor Ukulele




This is a pretty fun Regal tenor uke from the late 40s/early 50s and shares the same styling as the same-period Teeviolas. It's an interesting product of contrasts, having a birch body, maple neck, and (more upscale) rosewood fretboard and bridge. This one has a 17" scale just like Regal tiples going back to the 20s, though I've strung it with regular baritone ukulele strings which let it tune to standard GCEA with higher-than-normal tension and a low G string.

Update: I've restrung this with Aquilas in regular reentrant GCEA tuning and it sounds great, too. That's what you hear in the soundclip.

These Regal tenors definitely need more tension as they're built quite sturdily. Part of me feels they could use a light set of steel strings to get the most out of them!


Work included a neck set, seam repairs, fret level/dress, new saddle and bridge pins, new mid brace, cleaning, and setup. It plays fast and great and has a sweet, mellow sort of tone with good sustain.


Bone nut, 50s "blue" Regal label.


Pearl dots in a rosewood boad with thin-gauge brass frets.


The rosewood "smile" bridge hearkens back to 1920s Washburn ukes. This one was reglued at some point and the job was well-done but slightly messy (I had to clean up a lot of little glue gobs from around the edges). Note the hairline crack coming down from the A string bridge pin area on the top -- perfectly stable.


The white "detailing" lines are painted-on. Note how the finish is chipped out and weather-checked all over. Pretty typical.




These tuners are repro 50s Kluson types. The original Klusons (with wider plates) were somewhat the worse for wear so I popped these guys on.


The back has some long hairlines that are stable and drop-filled but haven't been cleated.



It's a fun uke and the long scale makes the "crushed up" feeling folks might find with soprano ukes a non-issue. Vintage tenor ukes are very scarce and I always like seeing one turn up in the shop!

No comments: