Regal Le Domino Concert Ukulele , c. 1932

Regal  Le Domino Concert Ukulele ,  c. 1932

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Item # 7536
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Regal Le Domino Model Concert Ukulele, c. 1932, made in Chicago, black lacquer with decals finish, birch body, poplar neck, brown chipboard case.

This Le Domino Concert-sized Ukulele is an early 1930's classic, one of the more whimsical and distinctive ukes from the instrument's original heyday. The J.R. Stewart company of Chicago originally built Le Domino branded guitars, mandolins, soprano and tenor ukes, and banjo-ukes in the 1920's, and the very successful brand passed to Regal in the early 30's after Stewart was forced out of business following a disastrous deal with Lyon & Healy. The Le Domino ukuleles were by far the best seller, and it's easy to see why.

This example is in the rarer large Concert size (the majority were standard soprano) and dates to not long after the Le Domino brand was passed to Regal. Sold at a moderate price, Le Domino instruments are fairly well made (though not to the level of a Martin) and very flashy looking with a black, white, and gold "tuxedo" look. The sleek ebony finish is highlighted by white ivoroid binding on the top, back, and fingerboard. Tiny Domino decals adorn the fingerboard at positions 3, 5, 7, and 10, with the dominoes cleverly numerically designating the position. A larger Domino decal adorns the top below the bridge, and a gold soundhole ring festooned with small dominoes completes the top ornamentation. The headstock carries a gold leaf script "Le Domino", and has a distinctive carved ledge that was a feature of many Regal Uke family instruments. There is a Regal decal in the soundhole claiming "The Mark of Better Instruments".
 
Overall length is 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm.), 7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 3/4 in. (7 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 instrument does not show much play wear but does have a number of old repairs typical of these lightly built large-body ukes. There are a couple of old sealed grain cracks on the top between the bridge and rim, going through the domino decoration but not causing much disturbance to the decals themselves. The back shows several old sealed grain cracks as well, plus a small patched hole with some touch-up directly behind the Regal label. The bulk of the decorative decals are very well preserved (better than most) with only some very slight chipping. The uke is lightly built and braced, plays and sounds excellent and is a nice example of this depression-era beauty. Excellent - Condition.