standard approved label

Standard Approved


1920s regal  soprano Ukulele
Cheerleader by Regal
1920s regal  soprano Ukulele
with the Standard Approved label in the soundhole
1920s regal  soprano Ukulele
Unbranded Regal Soprano
1920s regal  soprano Ukulele
Apart from the Standard Approved label on the base of the neck
1920s harmony  banjo Ukulele
Unbranded Harmony Banjolele
1920s harmony  banjolele back
Apart from the Standard Approved label on the back of the headstock
Standard Approved is not the name of a forgotten US Ukulele maker though as sometimes it is the only label on the Ukulele it is assumed to be. In 1926 there was a special session by the National Association of Musical Instrument and Accessories Manufacturers at their annual convention and this is how it was reported

Important move at Buffalo Convention BUFFALO, N. Y., October 4.—
At their meeting held here last week, the members of the National Association of Musical Instrument and Accessories Manufacturers, after due deliberation, adopted a standard string length for ukuleles, that is, the distance from nut to bolt in accordance with the recommendation of the special committee on ukulele standardization, of which W. I. Kirk is chairman and Messrs. Kordick and Walter Schmidt are the other members. These standards are: String length from thirteen inches to thirteen and three-quarter inches to be known as standard size ukuleles; string length from thirteen and three-quarter inches to fourteen and one-half inches to be known as concert size ukuleles, and string, length from fourteen and one-half inches to fifteen and three-quarter inches to be known as tenor size ukuleles. All ukuleles which fall in the above classes must have at least twelve frets. The use of the curved or flat back and the naming of the kind of wood used are left to the discretion of the manufacturers.

Harmony, and to a slightly lesser extent Regal and the other Chicago makers, seem to have particularly liked these conclusions because for the next 10 years they were inclined to put a label on all of their major brands of Ukulele, usually in the sound hole or on the back of the headstock, stating the instrument was "Standard Approved". This is also why it is hard to gauge the scale length of instruments from this period by name.

However this standard was not followed by all of the US at the time, with Martin and Gibson being two notable manufacturers that ignored it, (there were plenty of other less prestigious ones too), and it held no sway whatsoever with makers outside of North America, not even Hawaii! In Europe there were generally "Standard" and "Long Scale" Ukuleles, (though there was no clear definition of what size constituted "Standard" so this could vary significantly)

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