1920s Regal Tiple/Taropatch Conversion

I don't recall if I ever did a specific post for this instrument, but this is my oft-modified old Regal tiple. I had it strung for a couple years as a tiple (after doing the works -- neck reset, fret work, that kind of stuff) and then every time I needed something "different" for recording I'd mod it into something else... a mandola, something tuned with chime like a Portuguese guitar, something like an open-tuned bouzouki... you get the idea.

Well, I finally settled on keeping it as a taropatch uke (8 string ukulele) and the tenor scale length (16 3/4") and body size gives that sort of thing significant oomph and shimmer. When I bought this from Elderly Instruments years ago the top had been sheared in two by the original glued-on bridge pulling off. I fixed that with a patch and painted the bunny canoe scene over the damaged area. After that I always had this setup with a tailpiece to keep the top happy with all the tension of various steel string sets. This time around I used a sort of Portuguese "8 string cavaquinho" idea of string-mount as the tension was going to be less from the nylon/fluoro strings so I could get away with a "pin bridge" sort of tensioning on the top.

I wanted to post this to share this as an idea for folks wanting to find new uses for their tiples.

This is one of the only Regal tiples I've had through the shop that's had its red, yellow, and green purfling still in very-bright condition. It fits nicely with my silly bunnies, too.

About a year after I fixed this up the first time I turned the tiple into an 8-string variant so it'd be easier to tune at shows. I've since kept these old 8-string tuners on as variations on 10 strings just get me down when having to tune up to play with anyone.

The bone nut is my own -- the original would've been dyed maple.

This has a dyed-maple board with spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The neck is poplar.

Here you can see how I've "simulated" a pin-bridge load (ie, in the same way a Portuguese cavaquinho does) by using a "pin style" tension that then runs over a floating bridge. There's a bridge plate/patch under that section of the soundboard so I'm not worried about structural stress at those tiny mounting holes.

The strings feed through the holes, get pulled up through the soundhole, and knotted.

I can't argue with the tone -- bright, shimmery, and sweet. It's a nice alternative sound if you're going to mostly strum when recording a uke line. A low G could, of course, replace one of the G strings for a thicker, octave sound.


Aaron C Keim said...

I string my tiple gG cC eE aA with steel strings. Sort of a compromise between taro patch and tiple! I find that 10 strings doesn't sound better than 8!

Jake Wildwood said...

Yup, that's what I'd done with my tiple after 2 months use -- it sounds awesome with them all octaved.