Today I picked up what I think is a Martin Vega Tu-Ba-Phone. Except for the Vega logo on the headstock and the number 2160 (serial?) on the pot there are no other markings. Plays and sounds terrific though. Any help? Value?
Yes, that's what I've read concerning these banjos. Thanks!
They were just doing it the way Bill Nelson at Vega did it. The 1960s at Vega were a time to find every way they could lower manufacturing costs. I have friends who knew Bill Nelson at that time and banjos could as well been washing machines to him, they were just product.
I'm sure using a fake bracket band was somehow cheaper. Even the rims were just some kind of plywood pipe or column tubing that they just cut off pieces of.
I've played one of these Galaxy Vegas and they are much better banjos than anything Bill Nelson made. The parts might mostly be the same, but the fit and finish was much better.
The guts look like real Vega (or Vega/Martin) parts. Only the "font" of the Vega logo on the peghead look Asian/Galaxy. Probably a mix of parts that Galaxy ended up with. Probably a fine banjo if it's put together well.
The original pre-Martin Vega Pete Seeger had a pot with the bracket band and shoe bolts going all the way through. I believe the VOX and VIP models were the same.
Yes, I've seen it before. It just always struck me as over-engineering.
It was probably cheaper somehow. Perhaps it took less labor to assemble and fit? All I know is that Bill Nelson was mostly concerned with making the product cost less to produce. From the neck heels that were not fitted to the rim, to the two in one stain and varnish that wears off the back of the neck, it was all about saving money in production and not about quality.
These Galaxy banjos were put together properly and finished better.