I have a few questions for you folks that already own a Vega or similar banjo...
1) My banjo came with several sets of vintage Vega strings... have you ever used them? What did you think?
2) Have you ever tried to add a strap to your banjo? How did you attach it, given that Vega's top tension system doesn't really offer anything to hook it onto?
3) Everything about this banjo's styling is superlative.... except I can't help but compare it to my Sultana, which has a lovely decoration on the back of the peghead, a feature the VegaVox IV lacks. I was thinking about having one made and added to this banjo... naturally, it would have to match the existing stylings... what do you think?
Using vintage strings probably isn't a good idea. They may simply be too old and corroded. The new Vega strings (Martin-Vega) are fine, but you might wish to experiment with several brands to decide which ones work best for you and for this banjo.
As far as adding more bling to this: it's your banjo so do what you want. Were it my choice, I wouldn't do it, though. If you ever decide to re-sell it, any modifications will hurt the value. Besides, to me, it looks perfectly fine the way the designers imagined it.
Nice banjo, I have linked this post to the Vega Banjos group, you may get some feedback there. I'm in agreement about not modifying the banjo at all cosmetically. As far as the Vega strings, yeah, probably corroded , but free strings are free strings.
Congratulations on your new baby. As you play and learn its characteristics you’ll probably love it more and more. I offer my opinions in the order of the questions:
Strings: Vega strings come with an oily anti-rust coating, if there’s no visible rust you’re good to go! Strings are cheap, change them often.
Strap: I use leather loops that pass through the flange holes and anchor to a nearby tension bolt. Perhaps you have an old belt you can cut up. Make the visible parts long enough that a snap from the strap cannot touch any part of the instrument. Carefully choose which flange holes your loops exit. My strap fits such that the banjo is positioned the same whether sitting or standing.
Peghead: Prewar high end Vegas had rosette inlays on the backs of the pegheads, but not production postwars.
Misc: The Vega Vox is a unique design and setup is critical. One unique characteristic is that the resonator attaches to the flange which connects to the tension hoop. This means that adjusting head tension also changes the resonant distance between the head and resonator. Over time you will discover where that “sweet spot” is. If your banjo sounds good to you now, measure the distance from the head to the top of the tension hoop and write that number down for future reference.
You might check the tailpiece for a crack where it bends over the tension hoop. Postwar Vegas often crack there which affects the down force and tone.
The Vox seems to be one of those ”cult” banjos that are either hated or loved passionately. I’m one of the latter.