7/28/2015

1930s Regal-made June Days Banjo Ukulele




Even though this bears a "JR Stewart" decal at the top of the headstock, I'm almost certain Regal made this banjo uke for them. It's a "California style" or "inline head" rim which lacks hooks on the edge of the rim and instead uses screws to apply tension to the head. This lightens-up the build and gives it more of a "uke" feel when playing it. For fun, here's a "June Days" soprano uke.

Work included a refret, new tuners, new tension screws for the rim, new (old) bridge, reglue to a bit of the resonator/back seam, cleaning, and setup with new Martin fluoro strings. I usually don't refret banjo ukes if I can help it, but the frets were all of slightly different size and set improperly in the neck so it was easier than pulling the originals and reseating them correctly. It plays well and has a good, smooth feel -- action is 1/16" at the 12th fret (just where it should be). I (personally) like it tuned up ADF#B due to the shorter (13") scale length and small pot, but GCEA sounds nice as well. ADF#B is what most ukes used when this was made.


I know the Philips-style screw heads aren't the best but they certain work a lot better than the (missing) originals, hee-hee.


I know I get frustrated with friction pegs so I'm guessing my customers do as well: I popped on these 50s-style Kluson repros rather than fiddle with the damaged bakelite-buttoned original pegs. They tune up and hold -- can't argue with that, though the "ears" on the headstock are an acquired taste.



I used an old 20s Grover Non-Tip bridge to replace a missing original.



The resonator back has one 3" crack in it but it's tight and holding steady. The bottom resonator/rim seam had come unglued and been reglued in a few areas but I reglued whatever was loose when this came in.



The necks are generally held on by one big screw. I added a second one under the first to keep the neck a lot more stable. Who wants to have to open up the head just to tighten the neck when the #1 screw loosens up?


The only "soundholes" are on the rear, so "belly muffling" can dramatically change the apparent tone of this uke.





The tailpiece was missing so I took a cue from some other old designs and simply drilled a few holes for stringing-up. Knot the ends and pass 'em through -- easy peasy.

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