Tonk American Soprano Ukulele, made by Regal , c. 1932

 Tonk American Soprano Ukulele,  made by Regal ,  c. 1932
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Item # 10382
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Tonk American Model Soprano Ukulele, made by Regal, c. 1932, made in Chicago, natural top, dark stained back and sides finish, birch body, poplar neck with ebonized fingerboard, black gig bag case.

This fairly deluxe looking ukulele was built for the large Chicago jobber Tonk Brothers by Regal in the early 1930's. Tonk and Regal were also the team behind the Washburn instruments at that time, and "Tonk American" was the line just under the high-grade Washburns in price and quality. Regal had recently taken over the J.R. Stewart company, and this uke is similar in many ways to the well-known "Le Domino" line that Regal continued to manufacture. The headstock shape with a long "throat" and rounded edge is typically Stewart/Regal, and the uke in general has the same lines as the typical "Le Domino".

This uke is a bit larger than the standard soprano but not fully concert sized, at least by Martin standards. The top is birch but finished natural to simulate spruce, a fairly unusual look for an ukulele. The back and sides are dark stained birch, the poplar neck is stained dark as well. There is 4-ply black and white celluloid binding on the top and side edges, and around the soundhole. The extended fingerboard is ebonized maple, triple bound with pearl dot inlay. This is a well-worn but nice, somewhat unusual Depression-era uke, an excellent player with a very good sound.
Overall length is 21 1/2 in. (54.6 cm.), 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/8 in. (35 mm.).

This ukulele shows some wear and a number of old crack repairs but remains all original except for a replaced nut, including the bone-saddle bridge and cool white button friction tuners. There are a number of old repaired back cracks along its full length, solidly sealed but not the neatest job. The top has some smaller grain cracks, also sealed up with no added finish so still visible but not a structural issue. The finish has numerous dings and dents overall with the heaviest wear to the back and a spot of capo wear on the back of the neck from one of those insidious 1920s spring capos. None of these repairs or cosmetic issues affect playability, this is still an interesting and good quality uke that plays well with a very good sound. Very Good Condition.