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View Full Version : New Vintage Uke Day!



RyanMFT
08-31-2012, 07:16 AM
So, I almost NEVER hear any love on the web for vintage Regal ukuleles. I have been looking for a nice one for some time, and finally found it. This is an early bugger, with the green label on the headstock. A much nicer instrument as compared to their millions of mass produced plywood ukuleles.

My guess is that it was built in the earlier part of the 1930's, but I really don't know. It is solid mahogany and plays beautifully. The body is deep, which gives it a fuller sound as compared to the punch of my other vintage sopranos. It is loud, with a balanced voice, and great sustain. I've hardly had a chance to play it since I got it last night. I cleaned it, refurbished the tuners, and put on new strings.

The photo doesn't do it justice, this is a pretty uke when you see it is person. I'm strange....if everyone wants a Martin, I want a Regal!

http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/75A9A2B2-7B62-4619-ADC6-883B7D4032E4-18940-00004BCF065B19DC.jpg

peewee
08-31-2012, 07:18 AM
Love the donut fret markers

v30
08-31-2012, 07:28 AM
That looks really nice, enjoy!

dkcrown
08-31-2012, 07:32 AM
Congrats on a good find. It looks, well.......regal!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
08-31-2012, 07:33 AM
Classy. Congrats!

808boy
08-31-2012, 07:43 AM
Aloha Ryan,
Congrats on that Regal.....sweet.
BTW; I'm back in NorCal, for how long???...................................BO...... .......................

ChrisRCovington
08-31-2012, 07:51 AM
Was this the one from Ebay? I was almost going to bid on it but decided not to last min. because of other stuff I'm looking to get. I'm glad an UU member got it! I would love to hear a sound smaple. it looks even better cleaned up!

RyanMFT
08-31-2012, 08:00 AM
Thanks friends, and yes, this was the one from eBay. Went for a great price, and was at my door a day and a half after the auction ended! I'll take a better picture tonight and post it if anyone would like to see it.

I am delighted by the sound, loud, bright, and full. I was a little worried that the sound would be kind of muddy and muffled as I am very used to the top notch tone from my Gibson, Martin, and Favilla but this guy really sounds great! Doesn't appear to have been played much in it's 70+ years but I have a feeling it will be making a lot of music now!

kvehe
08-31-2012, 08:18 AM
Love it! It looks great - congratulations on your find. Yes, more pictures would be grand.

Kathryn

mm stan
08-31-2012, 08:40 AM
Congrats Ryan,
That Regal looks real sweet.....what a score...Happy Strummings.....

RyanMFT
08-31-2012, 10:10 AM
Thank you both! Wow, I just met a friend for a jam at lunch and my Regal is LOUD, and is a pleasure to play. My friend kept commenting at how full it sounds for a soprano, and the sustain is great! That was really the first time I got to play it for more than a minute or two and I am really excited.

As with my other vintage ukuleles, I suspect it will sound better and better as I play it!

Jake Wildwood
09-01-2012, 02:01 PM
Nice uke, but as to: "A much nicer instrument as compared to their millions of mass produced plywood ukuleles."

Regal made barely ANY plywood instruments outside of bodies for resonator guitars and a bit of archtop stuff postwar. If the wood grade is lower than mahogany, it's usually solid birch.

There's a common misconception that Regal built a lot of ply stuff -- it's just not true. Kay was the Chicago maker that was really into ply -- both Regal and Harmony were pretty much all-solid up until they closed their doors or the names swapped hands to an unoriginal factory (Regal in 1953, name sold to Harmony, and Harmony, sometime in the 70s whereupon the name went to an Asian import line).

myrnaukelele
09-01-2012, 02:11 PM
Nice find! Love those vintage ukes. That's a beautiful one.

RyanMFT
09-01-2012, 03:11 PM
Nice uke, but as to: "A much nicer instrument as compared to their millions of mass produced plywood ukuleles."

Regal made barely ANY plywood instruments outside of bodies for resonator guitars and a bit of archtop stuff postwar. If the wood grade is lower than mahogany, it's usually solid birch.

There's a common misconception that Regal built a lot of ply stuff -- it's just not true. Kay was the Chicago maker that was really into ply -- both Regal and Harmony were pretty much all-solid up until they closed their doors or the names swapped hands to an unoriginal factory (Regal in 1953, name sold to Harmony, and Harmony, sometime in the 70s whereupon the name went to an Asian import line).

Thanks for the clarification Jake, I saw one just like mine on your site that you had worked on for a customer with a replaced bridge. You said that one sounded great and indeed so does mine. I've actually found limited information on Regal ukuleles online. I assumed that the painted ones were ply, but I stand corrected!

Here are a couple pictures of the Regal all cleaned up. This is a really a great player, I am super excited about it!
http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/IMG_3723.jpg
http://i827.photobucket.com/albums/zz199/RyanMFT_photos/IMG_3724.jpg

didgeridoo2
09-01-2012, 04:30 PM
Love that headstock! Congrats!

jackwhale
09-01-2012, 05:27 PM
Good find Ryan! I can hardly wait to see and hear this uke on Thursday. It looks as though the saddle/bridge are one piece of wood.

Hippie Dribble
09-01-2012, 06:05 PM
oh Ryan, it's an absolute beauty. Like you, I'm a big regal fan...something about them. I've owned three, still got one, and have loved them all very much. Just love this one, it's gorgeous. Just wondering, what process did you go through in cleaning it up and what did you use? The good regals are few and far between these days...a couple on elderly have been there awhile but I feel they are a little overpriced and not the quality of some other models I've seen. Congratulations brother, that is one awesome vintage collection you have going!!!!! :drool:

ChrisRCovington
09-01-2012, 06:16 PM
Looks sweet! I have two birch Regals and they sound pretty good. They are thick wood and have a very plinky sound but still not too shabby. I think Regal and Harmony ukuleles are something of a hidden gem in the instrument world now. Compared to all of the East Asian laminates, the old Chicago ukes can sound really great and you can get them on ebay and at flea markets for a steal. There are the lemons and you have to watch out for cracks and some age wear but where else can you get a solid mahogany ukulele shipped for under $100? Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

RyanMFT
09-02-2012, 07:23 AM
Just wondering, what process did you go through in cleaning it up and what did you use?

Glad to share....first, I start by taking the strings off, then removing the tuners from the ukulele. I take the tuners out one at a time and keep each with it's original parts. Next, I give an instrument a really good wipe down with a damp towel, then dry. I don't let water sit on the surface long. I do this several times over the whole instrument. Then I slowly start the cleaning/polishing with Meguiar's Clear Plastic Cleaner #17. This is an auto care product, but I got it from my luthier, who is a serious violin/cello guy and uses it on instruments worth tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.....it works like a miracle. No abrasives, no silicone....I have used it on all my vintage ukuleles and it is amazing.

After I clean the whole instrument, I wipe it down again with the damp cloth, then dry. Finally, I clean the tuners with a soft cloth and a fine metal polish, put a drop of oil on the threads, and reassemble. I am careful to make sure no oil is on the outside of the tuner shaft so as not to have any oil in contact with the wood of the headstock.

That's it mate.....takes some time, but has turned a couple of my ukuleles from nice into absolute gems........

garyg
09-02-2012, 09:09 AM
Hi Ryan, great find, is the uke mahogany or birch? cheers, g2

fxrskrsa
09-02-2012, 09:19 AM
I have just purchased an old un like yours.. and whilst I plink... my mind wanders .. wondering where it has traveled... who has handled it.. which all adds to the fun of being its 'current' owner. ENJOY !!

RyanMFT
09-02-2012, 09:26 AM
Gary, thanks....it is all solid Mahogany, with a really warm, rich tone!


I have just purchased an old un like yours.. and whilst I plink... my mind wanders .. wondering where it has traveled... who has handled it.. which all adds to the fun of being its 'current' owner. ENJOY !!

Thanks, and I think about the same thing with all my oldies. Who played them, where might it have been bought new, what songs came out of it, where did it spend most of its years before it came to me......That is some of the fun with these old guys