1930s Regal Concert Banjo Ukulele

As far as I know, Regal was the only maker to get heavily into building concert-scale banjo ukuleles and I think they were the ones responsible for all the Lyon & Healy-branded ones of the '20s which are the only ones I see in any number on the market. This one is just like the L&H-branded variants but dates a little later (early '30s) and is plainer, overall, with a simple poplar neck and ebonized-maple fretboard and a non-tonering, ply-maple rim.

The rim itself is 8" across and the instrument has a 15 3/4" scale length. The neck is a quick, fast, mild C-shape with a 1 3/16" nut width -- perfect for moving chord-shapes up and down the neck. It's all-original save a new bone nut and vintage/modified bridge. Work included a fret level/dress, said new nut and "adjustable" bridge, cleaning-up the neck joint and the addition of a hidden neck bolt for better stability, and a good setup.

It's going strong with spot-on 1/16" action at the 12th fret and has a pleasant, simple, nicely-loud sound to it and the dry-sounding Aquila Nylgut strings I've got on it suit it well.

The truly weird bit is my bridge. I was fooling-around and made one of my vintage parts-bin bridges height-adjustable by making the contact point screws that can be simply turned to go up/down in height. Because I sanded the foot of the bridge to tilt it slightly back at the tailpiece (I always do this), the notes are clean on these "individual saddles." It works well and looks weird and fun.

The original bakelite friction pegs work... like friction pegs! They do hold and function just fine, though if I had my druthers I'd always install Gotoh UPTs. They cost a bit, though.

The hardware has tarnish and rust throughout but it's no worse than average for a period banjo.

The neck brace functions perfectly but I've made it redundant as I've also installed a hidden neck-bolt behind the steel plate that sits against the rim. This makes the neck "double-tight," I suppose.

I routinely bolt necks on old banjos as I know that most owners do not make sure the neck brace stays tight over the long-haul life of the instruments and that -- as most banjo techs worth their salt will tell you -- can be a real problem for stability. A simple bolt solves that.

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