3/15/2014

c.1950 Regal "Jungle Green" Soprano Ukulele




This uke must've been built towards the end of Regal's producing days (late 40s, early 50s, right before their name became a Harmony mark) and it's a curious one: it has a "cut off" style heel on the neck (plus dowel joint) and both the top and back are solid, unbraced spruce. They left the top thicker and installed a "strapping" brace (which = bigger bridge plate) for support, though. I like the cute "sprayed green" finish with its faux-bound top edge and soundhole.

My only work included cutting down and regluing the bridge, a light fret cleaning and dressing at the edges, and installation of a new set of pegs (the mismatched originals were OK but not practical). It plays great (1/16" at the 12th fret action) and has good tone and volume. Sometimes unbraced tops like these can sound overly-sweet with something like fluorocarbon or regular nylon strings so I installed a set of Aquila Reds on it to get more of an articulate "gut string" sensibility. It turns out that was a good choice as this has more "cut" to it with these than I'd otherwise expect.




While the sides are birch, the neck is probably poplar and the the back and top are spruce (which is rather unusual).


Typical 40s/50s Regal label...


...and painted dots with original (tall, narrow) brass frets.


There's a tiny, tiny little hairline crack at 12-o-clock at the soundhole. I didn't even see it until I saw this photo enlarged to original resolution. Anyhow, it's not going anywhere and good'n tight.


The bridge got a reglue and got shaved about 1/16" to bring the action down to "spot on."







These are a new set of Saga-brand uke pegs... I love 'em for quick swap-outs... they're cheap ($10) and they turn smoothly and adjust easily.


The neck is joined with a big old dowel. I guess Regal realized by the 50s that there was no reason to use a big old heel when they were doweling only the top section of the neck since the 20s anyhow. They also wised-up and started using a big dowel at this point which is the reason this neck is still quite stable and glued well and at a decent angle.


I took this closeup to show the spruce on the BACK.

1 comment:

Tekoa Jones said...

Thank you! It is a wonderful instrument.