5/27/2016

1920s Reed Monkeypod Soprano Ukulele





I've worked on two other Reeds, and this one is very similar in build but with a plainer level of trim. I'm pretty sure that Regal made these, but there are undertones of Lyon & Healy parentage in the shape of the back of the heel and Richter parentage in the shape of the bridge. Still -- the body shape and bracing is the same as most 20s Regals, so that's why I think of these as built by them.

This uke came in trade and in good condition -- the only "cracks" on it are, more or less, cosmetic hairlines (as they don't pass through to the inside of the uke). I see this quite often on monkeypod wood (which is what this is made of, just like L&H Camp Ukes). My work was to reset the doweled-joint neck and reinforce it with an internal "neck bolt," give it a fret level/dress, new bone nut, cleaning, and setup. It plays spot-on at 1/16" at the 12th fret action and has a loud, sweet, island-y tone to it. This is not surprising to me because the top is thinned to about the same degree as a Kamaka!



The neck is two-piece monkeypod with a maple center strip.

The nut is 1 3/8" in width and new bone.


The 12th fret is a replacement vintage one from my bins.


The only binding is this cream celluloid around the soundhole.


A curly maple bridge echoes the stripe in the neck.



The back is more-typical monkeypod in terms of looks. Nice, huh?

It has one barely-discernible hairline crack on it, but like the two on the top, it doesn't actually go through to the inside, so is no issue.


There's the "Reed" decal and the original Bakelite pegs. I added some extra washers to them so they turn a bit more smoothly. As usual -- if these loosen-up, a twist of the screw on the back is all it takes to tighten them.


Someone chiseled-out a bit of the back of the neck to make the profile thinner. It's already fairly thin, so why -- who knows? Maybe they were more-used to the thinner/flat profile of a Hawaiian instrument. It's not a structural issue and doesn't bug my hands when playing at all.


In addition to regluing/resetting the neck, this joint got "wedged" back to improve the action height.









It's really hard to see but there's a screw installed underneath the original doweled-neck job. This keeps the heel nice and tight to the body so it won't creep or change over the years.

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