vega banjo identification
I have sent an e-mail to my Vega Vox consultant Dr. Ron and await his comments and appraisal. Used - Good Condition Posted 11/11/2020 1:06:11 AM by Orm - Country: Netherlands Last Updated 11/11/2020 1:07:51 AM. Any help with identifying it (I can’t find a serial number anywhere) or locating buyers would be so gratefully welcomed! From the BRC, Barry, Hi there Folks.A few weeks ago i bought a Vega martin 5 string banjo, tubaphone tonering, the screws to attach the shoes to the bracket band go through the bracketband but also through the rim.The banjo is almost in unplayed condition, sounds wonderfull, the original case is also there.serial numer is 1707. Depending on condition, your banjo would fetch around $1300 these days. If there is any other interesting information about the instrument you care to share from the Martin log book, I would be most appreciative. I am assuming someone may have penciled in an extra “1” on yours, but my best guess is that it was made sometime in the last half of 1963 (A12130 was the first banjo produced in Jan ’64). Martin & Co. organization; Needham, Mass. Hope this helps, and I am sending you the circa 1978 C. F. Martin Tubaphone model promotional flyer . Thanks again for your post and pictures and kind comments about the website. The Ranger sold for $125 in 1961 and $158 in 1966. Find out what you can learn from this. I’ve also got some remaining parts from the renovation process I’d happily like to donate, including the original chrome-plated brass tailpiece, and a couple of almost unused heads. To generally confirm that your banjo is a Nazareth built instrument, check for a “C.F. The photocopies of the VM shop logbooks that I kindly received from Nazareth in September of 2000 reveal neatly entered shop orders and serial numbers of products manufactured from 1971 to 1976 when the format changed to a different ledger. Your instrument is a tenor arch top 4-stringer made in the early 1980`s. I remember seeing a brand new tenor Vox I in a musicstore in late 1973/early 1974 that already had the rosewood cap (memorablefor me as a kid and thought it odd, when compared to the 1972 catalog; aWonder or Ranger were also in the store from Needham Heights and were stillblackened). Binding – Faux Tortoise USD $ 6.50. Click "Add" to insert your video. Of note, my Vega Martin VIP-5 banjo built in 1975 also came with a `Care of Your Banjo` memo dated 8/26/71 and a warranty that instructed the owner to call 215-759-2837 and ask for Mike (probably Mike Longworth who was C.F. It is my theory that this is the VW-5, and the “V” stands for Vega. Good luck, thanks much for your post, and great to hear from you again, Barry. Hope this helps, and the best from the BRC, Barry. 1930 Vega Tenor Banjo Written by Paul Conlon. www.vega.com. A total of 98 model D-76E guitars were also made for employees. This banjo has all hand-machined bell brass parts to replace the cheaper, more commonly used aluminum alloys used by both Vega and Martin during that era (including coordinator rods, top-tension rim lugs/shoes and bolts), and Kellens’ other signature upgrades that includes an 1/8” brass shim between the heel of the neck and rim and lacquered, highly polished inner resonator to enhance tone depth and volume projection. It is collecting dust since i don’t play the banjo and I am thinking of passing it on. Deering Artisan Goodtime Openback Banjo with Scooped Fretboard . It retailed for $345 in the 1971 Vega Martin price list. The rim is 10 ply maple with a top metal tone ring, nickel-plated metal parts, and a shaded mahogany finish. Wim- Thanks for the great photo of your busy workshop. There’s precious little information about these instruments online. I have 5 different stringed instruments that just keep finding me, and I was nervous to take it apart so I could look at the serial number. Here's a link to this great service Hangout luck! Your VW-5 resonator banjo is not to be confused with its cousin the open back FW-5 model “Folk Wonder” which retailed for $280. I also did replace all of the cheapish plastic knobs with ivoroid ones of much better quality. It is an open back. Martin logbook, banjo SN 1450 was an entry level “Wonder” model 4 string plectrum banjo made in 1975. The more affordable V-41-5 banjo was partnered with the D-41 guitar, but this marketing ploy did not work as anticipated for either of the aforementioned guitar/banjo combinations. Dark wood rim trim at pot and heel. No markings saying Martin but looks identical to fancy ones I saw in an old Martin sales flyer. Despite showing its age as a workhorse performance instrument with extensive wear-and-tear, a friend of mine in San Diego purchased this one-of-a-kind banjo in Vega and Martin history in 2007 and had it beautifully restored to its current condition by the American Banjo Hall-of-Fame member, Renee Karnes. The 5th string on a banjo lies within easy reach of the right-hand thumb, which you use to play this string in all kinds of banjo music. For example: The back of the peghead of these rare banjos is imprinted with a C.F. Again, thanks for your post and happy pickin`. Good luck and thanks again for your post. It appears to be serial number 231 (engraved). aluminum variety, one slim one large, with the larger one closer to the head. The story he told was that it was a “distress sale” for a friend, and that the banjo was one of 1000 limited editions and had a “solid silver” tone ring, and was worth at least twice the price. Record keeping and serial numbers were jumbled during 1977-79 prior to the Vega brand being sold to an Asian conglomerate. 1519. It originally came with an arm rest, rotomatic tuning pegs, and a plastic head. Any help to identify year, model and value would be most appreciated. It is numbered either 1959 or 1969 ( I cant tell from the numbers). What can you tell me about it? The label indicates the banjo was made in Needham, MA, but the Vega company was owned by the CF Martin guitar company. My VIP 5-stringer is SN 1364, and it has a warm mid range tone. Although the Martin Company did not manufacture Vega banjos till a century later, a solitary banjo from the mid 19th century is appended to the exhibit to display parallel innovation in the instrument because of its increasing popularity during that era (see close-up photo). The VW tenor 4 stringer was available in the 1963 and 1966 Vega catalogue, but the plectrum model did not appear in the Boston catalogue until 1968 when it listed for $325. Thanks for posting the information on Martin mage Vega banjos. Barry. About 20 years ago I had it re-fretted , re-finished , and the gold re-plated . Martin made 76 commemorative V-76 banjos in 1976 to celebrated the bicentennial of the USA. In some cases, teachers would purchase these instruments and put their own names on them, but in many other cases they carry no identifying name at all. Although a mystery to me, this top of the line resonator banjo was introduced by C.F. Best wishes with your VIP and thanks again for your post, Barry. You might try a Fiberskyn head which I put on my open back long neck Ode banjo years ago to mellow the tone. The PS-5 is advertised in the 1970 and 1972 Vega/Martin catalogues but is absent from the 1976 catalogue where the No.2 Tu-Ba-Phone XL long neck premieres instead. What can you tell me about my instrument? The metal parts were chrome-plated. I was told by someone at C. F. Martin that they only made 11 of them ( mine is ser # 7 ) . Original MRSP $1310 without case (carved neck was also extra). I was fortunate enough to visit the Needham factory (actually a cement-block garage-like building) in the mid-late 1960s and saw some early VIPs under construction. Marc- Thanks much for the prompt and telling photos. I will pass this along to my uncle. What A great and informative site .. 9 Tubaphone Tenor Banjo. $1,935. Vega serial #s between 99369 and 99686, when the switch from the Vega stamp to printed yellow labels seems to have occured. The ebony fingerboard was on a mahogany neck, and a butterfly adorns the back of the resonator. Ironically, C.F. very carefully, I did and it’s four digits # 1450. it looks very good to me as far as the condition, it’s just old and kind of dirty. I am cross-posting this from the regular instrument ID forum. The Vega No.2 is a banjo made of top grade curly maple stained light amber and buffed to a high gloss. Any information will be appreciated. The rhinestones on the flanges, tension bolts, and peghead differ from Peabody’s prototype and the later Martin production Vox V models. The banjo is featuring an interesting mix of particulars: The connecting rods are of the (much earlier?) I bought a Vega Martin 5 string some time in 2000. Again, thanks for your query and photos. Nice find! No M130280 Model VIP-5.” There is not a Martin decal on the back of the peghead. Very rare. My other theory is that the pot, which bears a C.F. In general, the Boston made Pete Seeger long neck banjos seem to command a greater collectors` interest than the ones manufactured in Pennsylvania. The C.F. Of note, banjo SN 136 manufactured in 1972 was a Vega Vox I plectrum and not a 5-stringer like yours. Both are in wonderful condition. I’m trying to decide wether to keep it as a memento, keep it and take some lessons, or possibly sell it because it’s a shame to have it sit in storage. banjo is put together with good materials and should be a very playable instrument. The last Martin-made Vega banjo, although likely assembled in Ontario, Canada, was serial number 1969, a Vega Vox IV plectrum delivered in May 1979. £10.00 postage. This fascinating collection of vintage stringed instruments chronicles luthier C.F. £49.00. I have had the opportunity to do this only once for a friend who traded some vintage parts with me for an old flange that I had by serendipity on my workshop shelf. As you know, in periods of transition, record-keeping becomes imperfect. I can’t remember exactly when I bought it but I think it was around the early 70s. It will work fine for the neck I plan to use on it. Galaxy marketed its 4 and 5 stringers in the USA via a remarkably unimaginative TMC catalog in which each banjo was identified only with an Item number but no model moniker to give it personality like the “Pro-5” or “Wonder” banjos named by the earlier corporate owners. The banjo shown here (serial number M130316) was the second Ultra Vox V built in 1971, shortly after C.F. It’s been with me everywhere from on stage with Bob Hope to a PBS broadcast with Mitch Miller. Excellent. Someone took a Vega pot and put a 5 string neck on it keeping the original dowel (points for the dowel). United States. Meet other eBay community members who share your passions. Martin built only 31 of the V-41 instruments: 28 of the V-41-5 model like yours, 1 plectrum and 2 tenor 4-stringers. When C.F. Rob- Thank you for your kind comments about the BRC website, You are a lucky guy to have two Vega Martin 5-stringers, both made in Nazareth, PA. By the mid 1960`s, it was usually manufactured with a connecting rod. Typically, the number would be preceded with an “A” (indicating an adjustable truss rod) followed by a six-digit number. The Vega Vox model was a 4 string gem that featured a brass tone ring. Although C.F. The evolution of the “Professional” model dates back to the Boston 1963 Vega catalogue that featured the first “Pro” model banjo that looked like an inexpensive version of the “Earl Scruggs” model that Vega offered at that time. If you need photos I can take a few and send them to you on a subsequent time. 2 Tu-Ba-Phone XL long neck. In the TMC catalogue, your banjo is identified only as “No. Any model F-V or Vega banjo with serial #s between 52669 and 52684 (a 15 number range), when the switch from "Fairbanks Banjo, Made by Vega" stamp to the "Made by Vega" stamp seems to have occurred. Curly Maple 2-Ply Banjo Rim USD $ 105.00 View Product Details. It has no rod in the drum. C.F. The Pro II model was advertised in the 1966 Vega catalogue with an up-graded and fancy mother of pearl inlay pattern as seen on your banjo. After a loooong wait I finally got it in 1971 . It looks like the banjo is in ok/decent condition. Vega Little Wonder. These were followed by banjos #9-14 which were Vega Vox-4-P plectrums per Shop Order 2088. On the inner rim of the back cover is another Martin logo and the (embossed in white) number 887. I live near Portland, Oregon. Vega was eventually sold to the Martin Guitar company in the 1960s. Like my dad, I am a musician and physician and treasure his professional and avocational memorabilia. My uncle told me it was the kinda banjo played in churches and studios cause it didn’t bark like his Mastertone sort of more mellow. By history, C.F. Barry. In May of that year, the newly transferred Vega line was then marketed in the USA by Targ & Dinner 20 Century Music Company. Vintage Vega 1964 SS-5 Folklore Banjo Banjo 2 Color Sunburst Open Back . Give it a try and good luck. Vega Martin banjo SN 324 was manufactured in Nazareth, PA, in early 1973. I recently took my Dad’s 4 string banjo out of storage after approximately 25 years since his passing. Your banjo may be a hybrid from that era. Your Vega Martin instrument SN 231 is a “Wonder” model VW-P (plectrum ) 4 stringer made in Nazareth in late 1972 per Shop Order #2121 just after production was transferred from Boston to the re-tooled Pennsylvania factory. All the best pickin`, and thanks for your kind words about my website. Maple 2-Ply Banjo Rim USD $ 85.00. It’s always inspiring to see someone so dedicated to their craft! What a wealth of banjo information you have.I have a VV IV T tenor SN: M130298 which I purchase used about twenty-five years ago for $2,000. With a body made from a gourd, the banjo was first reported in 1620 by the captain of a ship on the Gambia River. Search online for “Earl Scruggs Vega Banjo Images”, and you will see a photo of him with his endorsed Vega instrument bearing the signature square inlays on the neck that offered its “distinctive stage appearance.” Your Vega Martin VIP-5 with SN 845 was made in Nazareth, PA, in 1974 as one of four manufactured per Shop Order #2193, and it sold for $556 without case in the 1971 price list (after which VM did not publish recommended retail prices). Retail price was $1300.00 ; I paid $900.00 . I also have two other friends who have the two last Ultra Vox V plectrums in the serial number 1964-1965 range–the last one Martin produced specifically for a NAMM show in 1979 (yes, still marketing to the very end). William- Thanks for your post. Thanks for the great information on this page. $6495.00 with HS case. It retailed for $775 and was probably assembled from parts left over from Nazareth, PA. Martin workshop log book, your V-45-5 serial number 327 banjo was manufactured in Nazareth, PA, in early 1973 per Shop Order 2138. The long neck banjo is less popular nowadays with the surge in Bluegrass music, but I have two of them and value their mellow wife-friendly tone. In some cases, teachers would purchase these instruments and put their own names on them, but in many other cases they carry no … The long-neck No. Martin made 101 of the PS-5 instruments which listed for $488 without case in the final V/M price list in 1971. Your banjo SN A-127556 was manufactured by Vega in 1966. In the 1960`s, the PS-5 featured a 3 piece ebony fingerboard and a “Tube-a-phone” tone ring of bell brass and a 5 ply maple rim. C.F. The Pro-5 does not appear in the 1976 Vega Martin catalogue. We can work with you and the banjo maker to get exactly what you want and at the best price. Fast & Free shipping on many items! Eric- Thanks for your kind comments about the website and prompt photos. Galaxy apparently went bankrupt around 1984 and vanished from the financial scene. From the BRC, Barry, Barry, i have an extended neck (25 fretts) Vega/Martin banjo with a serial number of 80. Martin decals on the inner rim and back of the peghead. Data from these logbooks are available per e-mail request from the BRC founder. Barry. $689. It look and plays great. There is a star on the 5th fret. He could always check the stamp on the bottomthe tone ring to see if it’s a match to the rim (it should say V916). 22 frets. The Vega name on the head is not with the usual letters and there is no “star” there either. Hope your friend enjoys this well-crafted instrument. Thanks from the BRC, Barry, Hi Barry! P.S. As you have observed, the VIP tonering has holes grouped in threes, so maybe yours might be a lucky survivor from the early days of the VIP line when the model first appeared in the 1970 Vega Martin catalogue. Vega marketed this 5-stringer emphasizing its unique “audio-sonic tone ring” made of bell brass- not unlike the Masterone. The Vega franchise was sold overseas in 1979 but reacquired in the US by Deering in 1989. Vintage Vega 11 7/16 nickel banjo tention hoop- flat hook style PARTS L@K Vintage 11 7/16 inch Banjo tension hoop Here I have an vintage flat hook banjo tension hoop. The tiny screws adjacent to it are an adaptation by the Vega franchise to afford fine-tuning of the side-to-side alignment of the neck. The family sold the Vega brand line to C.F. Dave- Thank you for your kind words about the website and the narrative about your Vega Vox IV tenor banjo. The first SN#720 I know is a VW-5 because it has the original hang tag. Here’s my curiosity. Barry. Known Problems with Gretsch’s Serial Number System: Due to the various renumbering schemes, there are Gretsch-built Bacons and B&D’s with 3 digit, 4 digit and 5 digit serial numbers, which confuses identification of instruments made between 1910 and 1940. I appreciate it. C.F. Serial # 1795. For sale is a vintage Vega Vegaphone Soloist Model Tenor Banjo (1929), made in Boston in good playing condition.Has the usual play wear for a 90 year old instrument.$1050.00 OBO.Shaded maple finish, laminated maple rim, neck and resonator, original hard shell case. I love the funky old-time sound, it fits the music I play which is probably closest in style to piedmont blues. Try tensioning your banjo head to an A or G on the piano. $5000 would be a reasonable number if in good condition—it could have brought $7500 a few years ago. VT2NRC in its 1979 catalogue, and Galaxy went bankrupt in a few years. It is in excellent condition but missing a resonator thumbscrew with the threaded washer. Thanks! Machine Rim and Fit Tone Ring USD $ 50.00 View Product Details. The Vega Company reportedly introduced the first wooden sectioned “pie” resonator in mid 1923 for their Vega Professional 4-stringer. I lived in Needham MA for 20+ years, and I’m wondering if that tone ring possibly came from Vega’s final days in Needham. C.F. By early 1971, Martin began to assemble banjos from Boston-made parts in Nazareth using the Vega six digit serial number system prefixed with the letter “M” for Martin and beginning with Shop Order 2001. I appreciate having some of the history around my banjo and will cherish it even more knowing it is somewhat rare. Gibson banjos carry decals, serial numbers and other physical features that can help you learn more about your banjo. My estimate is that your VIP-T would likely fetch in the $700-1100 range these days, and maybe a little more, depending on condition and special appointments. The C.F. When C. F. Martin Co. bought the Vega banjo line in May of 1970, hundreds of parts were inherited from the Needham Heights factory near Boston. Between 1971 and 1976, my count is that 17 Vega Vox I plectrums were manufactured, and your banjo was the last of about four VV-1-P banjos made in 1976. The banjo was one such gadget. Your banjo neck is from a Martin Tu-Ba-Phone 5-string banjo as advertised in a Martin flyer circa 1978, and the pot also looks like a left-over rim inherited from the Nazareth, PA, company. They are perfect for those who can’t decide between an older, vintage banjo, or brand new model. Having read the posts above I see that this is most likely not the case! Thanks again. Martin began shipping parts overseas for assembly. but it has been copied by about every maker since. This design of banjo retailed for $285 back then, and it was popularized by Erik Darling and Pete Seegar (who had his own Vega endorsed model for awhile). Maybe, this was a post production embellishment. Martin in the 1970’s (I have sent you the title page illustrating your instrument). The last SN from Boston was probably #130049, and the Vega Martin logbook in Nazareth starts with SN 130248. It is a somewhat rare bird, as C.F. However, I would like to know more about it. Hit a few licks on the tenor- you might find that you like it. 1916 Vega Tubaphone "Garber Special" Banjo.