5/27/2015

1930s/2015 Regal-made Archtop Ukulele Conversion




This instrument began life as an underbuilt 8-string mandolin... then turned into a 4-string mandolin... and then I cut the headstock down and kitted it out as an archtop soprano uke! This iteration is its best yet and makes use of the big, deep body and thin soundboard best, methinks. It's also loads of fun as true "archtop ukes" really aren't available outside of questionable import-style instruments and high-end builds.

It's also a useful uke: it's got nice ($65-70) Gotoh UPT 4:1 pegs installed at the headstock and a K&K pickup (very natural sound) installed for plug-in use. Add to that a long soprano scale (13 7/8"), plenty of acoustic volume, a "banjo uke" style neck (U-shaped which helps for bracing to do closed-position chords), and plenty of vibe... and this is perfect for taking out to shows. I've tried it in low G tuning where it sounded jazzy and thick with great balance, too, but I default to re-entrant tuning as that's my favorite sound on a uke.



Old work on this instrument included a neck reset, missing back brace replacement (that part not done by myself), a fret level/dress, and other stuff over this instrument's life. Before conversion it was ship-shape. I then adjusted the bridge for uke intonation (flat across), installed a more nylon-friendly tailpiece (though the strings are Martin fluoros), and adjusted its setup to better suit uke strings.


This cut-down peghead shape, ironically, is similar to a type Regal and Harmony both used when they sold to retailers.







The back of the headstock shows old tuner swap-outs.






A hard case comes with it.

2 comments:

Paul Hogue (phogueATmeDAHHTcom) said...

Any chance you'll post a sound file?

Paul Hogue (phogueATmeDAHHTcom) said...

Sorry, missed where it said "Sound clip soon!"