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banjo head for 1962 Vega Pete Seeger model long neck

Posted by phdm on Saturday, April 30, 2011

I am looking for a new white, top- coated 10 15/16 ,  low 3/8" collar/crown or medium 7/16 collar/crown head for my 1962 Vega Pete Seeger long-neck banjo.  I have just spent an hour looking at Elderly, Stewart-McDonald, First Quality Music Supplies, Janet Davis - all to no avail - they do not carry these heads.  Remo makes such an item (Part numbers BJ-1015-L1 (low collar) or BJ-1015-M1 (medium collar), but I can't find anyone who carries them.  I will call Remo directly on Monday, but I couldn't see that I can order it directly from them.  Any suggestions?

Thank you for any suggestions as to where I can order such a head.

Peter



4 comments on “banjo head for 1962 Vega Pete Seeger model long neck”

mainejohn Says:
Sunday, January 22, 2012 @6:06:32 AM

Hi Peter: Did you ever pose this question in the forum under "shopping advice?" If you didn't, and are still looking for a source for the 10 15/16" head, you might try Bernunzio in Rochester NY. I bought two from them a couple of years ago and they fit my 20's Vega pots to my satisfaction.

I just read the post you left on the "Xcel" thread and I couldn't have stated my own thoughts on the subject anywhere nearly to the effect and clarity that you have.

John

phdm Says:
Sunday, January 22, 2012 @4:03:30 PM

John - thanks for your note. I did find a source for my banjo head which I put on my Vega PS model. Works great. And thanks for your kind note regarding my post on Pete. I guess we "longneckers" are a group unto ourselves. Take care,

Peter McKee - Seattle

phdm Says:
Sunday, January 22, 2012 @4:38:28 PM

John - And I just noticed that it was you who in 2008 led me to the two great sources for a tone ring and a re-milling of my Vega Folklore model pot to accept the fantastic tone ring. (This was before I got the Pete Seeger model last April). I posted a thank you back then, but thought I would note it again:

________________________________

phdm - Posted - 06/10/2009: 21:52:02

I felt I just had to post to let folks know that because of this listserve, my Vega long neck dream has finally come true. I have owned a Folklore model Vega, circa 1964, since the early 1970's. It is a great long neck, but lacks the tubaphone tone ring that made the higher priced Pete Seeger model what is was. I played my Folklore model as my only banjo until the early 1990's, when I purchase a bluegrass Gibson RB 250, standard neck. Hearing the amazing tone from the Gibson made me realize what my Folklore didn't have - great tone and projection due to its lack of tone ring. Ah well. But about a year ago, when I realized that a Seeger model Vega long neck would cost $3000-$4000 if I could find one, (and that price would not be happening in my house hold), I began to wonder, would it be possible to retro fit a Folklore model with a tone ring. Everyone I took it to said no...until I found this listserve and learned of the work of Dan Pennington and the fabulous Rickard tubaphone tone rings that Dan had actually retrofitted to a Folklore longneck. In short order, Dan agreed to do such a job on my rim, the Rickard tone ring was shipped directly to Dan and in very short order it was all back to me in Seattle. I had my banjo reassembled by Stuart, the longtime owner and skilled instrument worker of Seattle's Folkstore and played my "new" Folklore for the first time last night. It is GREAT!! - great projection, rich bass sustains and a real wonderful sound overall.

Thank you Mr. Rickard for your great tone rings, Dan for his great lathing work and this list serve for making this all happen. And the best part is, 10 years ago, I got Pete to sign my long neck and now it sounds as good as it looks.

Thanks again,

Peter McKee - Seattle

_________________________

Finding a source for a tone ring for the Folklore changed my playing. And then last April, when I found the mythical Seeger model for sale, it was a dream come true. One hears about these discoveries, but it actually happened: I was buying my wife a new guitar for our 30th wedding anniversary at Dusty Strings here in Seattle. I looked on the wall of the shop and saw a Deering replica Seeger model Vega. I wandered over to look at it. As expected - immaculate and untouched, given that it was new. I turned it over and was completely confused - there was the original yellow Vega label with "Pete Seeger Model" hand written on it. I turned to the sales guy I knew and said, "Wait a minute - this isn't a Deering replica, is this really a 1962 Vega Seeger model?? How could this be - it is in completely unused, mint condition??" Indeed it was! The story, later confirmed, was that it was purchased by a high school young woman here in Seattle in 1962 (All the original purchase documents were in the original mint condition case). She used it for a brief time, then moved on and it sat in its case for 50 years , until she died. It was being sold by her surviving brother. I couldn't believe it! After some dickering, I did buy it (for possibly more than I should have, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, given its amazing condition.

It needed some set-up. And while I did keep the original tuners for 6 months of playing, I finally decided that I wanted it to be a playing instrument, not a museum piece - so I hand period looking Waverly tuners installed. The guy who put them in acknowledged that there has been much improvement in tuners in the last 50 years, and I noticed the difference immediately when I got it back. With some more set-up and adjustments, it now sings! I love it.

Thanks again John for all your guidance.

Peter

mainejohn Says:
Sunday, January 29, 2012 @5:52:15 PM

What a great story. Longneck Vegas have a special meaning to those of us who were fortunate enough to experience first hand the magic of the emergence of folk music in the urban north back in the late 50's and early 60's. Pete Seeger...Dave Guard...Alex Hassilev...Bob Gibson...Billy Faier...I wouldn't be a banjo player if it had not been for you guys.

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