1920s The Vernon (Regal-made) Spruce/Mahogany Tiple

How many times have I worked on this same model of tiple? So many times, I'll have you know. These might be my favorite mass-market tiple made... after repairs. Before repairs? Maybe Martin T-18s. That's because these old Regals were underbuilt at the factory and so one has to goose them a bit to make them behave. Once they do, though, they're a heap of yum.

This one wears "The Vernon" branding at the headstock and elements that point to it being made in the '20s -- among the first generation of tiples made in the States. The tops on these have inadequate bracing -- the lower bout typically has a single brace and bridge plate below the soundhole. To keep the top from distorting (either significant belly or the curl) I add a tailpiece that relieves this tension from the bridge area. Because the strings still go through the original string-mounting slots, however, there's some extra "curled" down-pressure on the saddle which gives it a tone that's not just tailpiece setup in sound.

It's a hybrid sound which you can hear on all sorts of Latin-world instruments -- tres Cubano, bandurrias, Puerto Rican cuatro, lauds, South American tiples -- which use the same format. It's more open and louder while also gaining some of the mellow mwah of a "pin-bridge" setup.

Anyway, I digress. It's a great tiple, owned by a local, and it looks like it's going to get a lot of recording (studio) use. Excellent.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, saddle-slot mod and new compensated bone saddle, side dots, tailpiece add, setup.

Made by: Regal

Made in: USA

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: ebonized maple

Fretboard: ebonized maple

Neck wood: poplar

Tone: open, woody, chimey, sing-song highs

Suitable for: folk, world, '20s-'30s popular, country-blues, etc.

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 11/22w, 17/40w/17, 14/32w/14, 10/10 for GCEA

Neck feel: medium-big V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: none

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium/tall, squared shape

Scale length: 16 7/8"

Nut width: 1 1/2"

String spacing at nut: 1 3/8"

String spacing at bridge: 1 7/8"

Body length: 12"

Body width: 9"

Body depth: 3 1/4"

Weight: 1 lb 10 oz

Condition notes: non-original (but period) tailpiece, new bone saddle, no cracks, original finish throughout -- generally in good order. It shows average usewear.