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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Mystery "bump" on #9 Vega plectrum neck


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/360626

mainejohn - Posted - 01/25/2020:  15:02:37


This has me befuddled. The #9 Vega plectrum neck appears to have been seldom played as it has the original finish, frets, and binding, all in excellent condition. Yet there is a curious "bump" at the fourth fret, and if you enlarge the photo, you'll see a vague image of what might have been a filled hole in the upper left hand corner below the third fret, where a 5th string "pip" might have been. One is tempted to speculate that a previous owner may have experimented with a conversion from a 4 string to a 5 string, but there is no evidence of a 5th string tuner ever being installed, either on the normal location where one might expect to find it, or on the peghead. The width of the neck is within the specs of an original Vega plectrum neck, not a 5 string neck that might have been modified many years ago.


Edited by - mainejohn on 01/25/2020 15:07:07



 

5strings3picks1banjo - Posted - 01/25/2020:  15:35:29


It may just have been a knock it received during it's journey through life. I am not convinced the frets are original from picture.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 01/25/2020:  15:57:44


Show a detailed pic of the full length of the fingerboard and back of the neck.

Should be able to tell from the alignment of the inlays and the veneer on the back of the neck.

mainejohn - Posted - 01/25/2020:  17:34:43


This is not my banjo. I don't have a photo of the back of the neck, but I've seen enough vintage Vegas to know this is not a 5 string neck that was modified. It looks more like an original plectrum neck that someone may have experimented with converting to a 5 string, then decided it wasn't a good idea to do so. Obviously the pot is not original to the neck. The "bump" sparked my curiosity and I'm just seeking some opinions as to why its there.



 

Andy FitzGibbon - Posted - 01/25/2020:  17:47:34


Maybe the binding just came loose, and someone filled the gap in... based on the fact that the fret doesn't extend all the way to the binding. Vega installed their frets first, then filed them flush with the binding channels before gluing binding on.

bungalow - Posted - 01/25/2020:  20:36:00


That's very curious. The easiest explanation would be that the binding came loose and the gap was filled with black filler. I think Andy has it right.
The inlays appear to positioned properly for a Plectrum neck.
I have a 1913 #9 , original 5 string that had been converted to a 5 string Plectrum, by adding wood to the neck and drilling an extra hole in the peghead to use 5 full length strings.
This was a long time ago and has since been restored back to original.
The big clue from looking at photos before examining this banjo in person was that the first few inlays were not centered on the "plectrum" fingerboard due to the added width of the modified neck.

Vegas are often a mystery. I recently bought an ebay #3 Plectrum that has an extra peg hole in the peghead, and 5 string tailpiece.
But the nut and bridge have 4 slots....go figure.
Chris

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 01/26/2020:  06:04:31


I'd like to see the back of the neck. If the binding had come loose and the gap filled, it would be pretty obvious from the back, as the neck wood itself wouldn't bulge and there would probably be a ridge present.

Without more and better photos, we're all just speculating.

mainejohn - Posted - 01/26/2020:  06:17:31


Thanks for your comments, and I think believe that Andy has the correct assessment. I won't be able to provide any more photos for a while, as the banjo isn't in my possession. I did look closely at the wood on the back and side, right where the bump is, and saw nothing to indicate that the wood had ever been disturbed, nor does the original French polish show any indication being touched up.

Alec Cramsie - Posted - 01/26/2020:  06:39:35


Could have been a hole and doweling for lining up the fretboard when glueing it on?

mainejohn - Posted - 01/26/2020:  06:53:41


quote:

Originally posted by Alec Cramsie

Could have been a hole and doweling for lining up the fretboard when glueing it on?






Yes...I have since come to that conclusion.



 

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 01/26/2020:  14:04:10


quote:

Originally posted by mainejohn

quote:

Originally posted by Alec Cramsie

Could have been a hole and doweling for lining up the fretboard when glueing it on?






Yes...I have since come to that conclusion.



 






I doubt that for the simple reason that if holes and dowels were used for aligning fretboards, this "bump" would appear on many more Vega banjos, perhaps even all of them..


Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 01/26/2020 14:04:53

mainejohn - Posted - 01/26/2020:  18:13:01


quote:

Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

quote:

Originally posted by mainejohn

quote:

Originally posted by Alec Cramsie

Could have been a hole and doweling for lining up the fretboard when glueing it on?






Yes...I have since come to that conclusion.



 






I doubt that for the simple reason that if holes and dowels were used for aligning fretboards, this "bump" would appear on many more Vega banjos, perhaps even all of them.




We've concluded that the holes and dowels had nothing to do with the bump. Thanks for your comments. End of discussion.





mikehalloran - Posted - 01/27/2020:  14:51:21


quote:

Originally posted by bungalow




Vegas are often a mystery. I recently bought an ebay #3 Plectrum that has an extra peg hole in the peghead, and 5 string tailpiece.

But the nut and bridge have 4 slots....go figure.

Chris


No mystery on that one. The 5 string plectrum was a rare but not unusual variation. NO 3 and NO 9 plectrums exist. A new nut and bridge makes these a 4 string. There are a few threads on these.



 



Back to the topic.



A number of vaudevillians played plectrums with dummy 5th pegs and no bump. 



If the neck below the fretboard has a similar bump that matches the fretboard, I would think this was done on purpose to give a performer a reference point. None of my vintage Vegas had side dots.



My 2¢



 

Brett - Posted - 01/28/2020:  14:20:06


What’s going on with the flanges and tension hoop in the photo? I see bracket shoes, I see brackets, I see flange and or tension hoop?

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 01/28/2020:  15:56:57


As the original poster stated earlier, "Obviously the pot is not original to the neck."

mainejohn - Posted - 01/28/2020:  16:51:46


quote:

Originally posted by Brett

What’s going on with the flanges and tension hoop in the photo? I see bracket shoes, I see brackets, I see flange and or tension hoop?






The owner (not me) has temporally mated the neck to a pot that he had on hand while he awaits the arrival of the original pot assembly.

mikehalloran - Posted - 01/29/2020:  13:34:53


Is that an early Vox pot?

Mmmmm... the possibilities...

mainejohn - Posted - 02/06/2020:  11:51:43


quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

Is that an early Vox pot?



Mmmmm... the possibilities...






Yes, but it's a temporary "marriage" as the owner is contemplating the possibilities.



 


Edited by - mainejohn on 02/06/2020 11:54:03

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