The ukulele is a Hawaiian musical instrument similar to a small guitar, probably derived from a combination of a braguinha and a cavaquinho -- two traditional Portuguese instruments. Some older ukuleles are stamped with the brand name "Lindell;" Lindell ukuleles are thought to have been produced by the Regal company.
The Regal brand name was originally used by Emil Wulschner and Son in Indianapolis between 1884 and 1904, after which it passed to Lyon and Healy between 1905 and 1908. The name was taken over by the Regal Musical Instrument Company in Chicago between 1908 and 1954. Between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Regal company made inexpensive ukuleles, sometimes featuring images of cowboys or small cartoon characters. Regal also manufactured ukuleles under other brand names, and Lindell is thought to have been one of these.
St. Louis Musical Supply
Despite the fact that Lindell ukuleles are usually attributed to the Regal Musical Instrument Company of Chicago, the Lindell brand was actually trademarked by the St. Louis Musical Supply company in 1963; this appears to have been the first known trademark of the brand name "Lindell." This trademark was renewed by the same company on September 13, 1982, but has since been canceled. Some Lindell ukuleles could therefore have been manufactured by the St Louis Musical Supply Company rather than by Regal, particularly those made after 1963.
Four Types of Ukulele
There are four types of ukulele: the soprano (which is the starting point for learning ukulele), the concert or alto ukulele (which is a bit larger), the tenor ukulele (which is larger still) and the baritone ukulele (which is almost as large as a guitar). Lindell is known to have manufactured both soprano and baritone ukuleles, as well as an unusual "baritone concert" ukulele, which is a term that is not generally seen.
Qualities of the Lindell
Despite their inexpensive price, Regal ukuleles are usually regarded as having had fine sound quality and as a good choice for beginner ukulele players to pick up. Collectors who have managed to purchase antique Lindells have also reported that they still play well, even in cases where the ukulele has suffered some sort of damage or ill-treatment, such as being hung on a wall for decorative purposes. Although most collectors seem to assume that the Lindell ukuleles were made by Regal, this cannot be established as a proven fact due to the trademark being first claimed by a different company. Whoever actually manufactured the Lindell ukulele, it is generally agreed that they were inexpensive yet of reasonable quality.
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