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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

6627 reviews in the archive.

Vega  Earl Scruggs Model SR-5 Banjo Reviews

Submitted by dupreejan (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2014

Where Purchased: Private Party

Year Purchased: 1973
Price Paid: 400 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

Has a unique sound. Halfway between a flathead and archtop. Not real loud, but can hold with any type of band. Lightweight. Has good chimes. Tone changes a lot as you pick between brindge and fingerboard. Action was not real good past 12th fret, was too stiff, and a little high. Came with Keith tuners.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Had a 1/2 in. bridge. I recently changed to a 5/8 SS which required a set up. Neck is now maxed out. Started using GHS Sonny Osbourne lights. Sounds a lot better, crisp, with more punch. Also action is better. My biggest complaint is the fat, U shaped neck which is not comfortable to play up the neck. That is the main reason a bought a new banjo with a thin neck.

Setup Rating: 7

Appearance

Has maple neck, rim and resonator. Nickel plating long since wore off bracketts, now shows rust. Frets have held up well. Came with adjustible tail piece.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Banjo is just above mediocre at best, Makes a good 2nd. banjo, or for a beginner who does'nt want something cheap.

Reliability Rating: 7

Customer Service

Company does not exist.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Was an average affordable banjo for it's time. That's about the best I can describe it. I would like to upgrade to a more modern thinner, wider neck, but don't know if it is worth it.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Overall Rating: 7

Submitted by ky5string (see all reviews from this person) on 12/7/2012

Where Purchased: Craigslist

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: Don't Remember (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Has great tone and a strong full sound... one of the best Vega's I've heard.... Earl must have watched them close

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

Setup by Terry Strange of Elizabethtown KY (taught by Frank Neat) had been sitting a while when I purchased it and was in dire need of some TLC once it got right it really came alive

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Lots of pearl! neck looks like alot of oysters got plucked out of the sea for this one.... some belt wear and neck wear bought from a road musician from GA and he's had it as his primary banjo since he bought it in 65

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Looks great for a almost 50 yr banjo love all the "character" and history it has plays like a champ!

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Original "Scruggs" Keith Tuners, New Remo Head, and New JD spacing bridge!

Components Rating: 9

Overall Comments

Love this Banjo! Have a Gibson Scruggs model and prob wouldn't do much gig'n with it but would def pull out for a Jam every now and then

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Ronnie (see all reviews from this person) on 2/29/2004

Where Purchased: Paul Craft

Year Purchased: 1965
Price Paid: Don't Remember historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

Bright. Enough volume to hold its own in a bluegrass band.

Sound Rating: 10

Setup

Well set up when purchased. Have been careful not to modify anything. Has 5 star head at the present time. Have spikes at 7th 9th and 12th frets.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

8-ply maple rim. 3 piece maple neck. Crown and bow-tie inlays on neck. Tortoise MOTS resonator wall. Back of resonator sunburst bird's-ey maple. Earl's signature on truss rod cover.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

A faithful companion for almost 40 years. The armrest was my only problem. The oringinal was mounted on 2 posts fastened to the flange by the omission of 2 j-bolts. It broke off shortly after purchased and was replaced with a Gibson armrest. The Nashville tailpiece cracked last year. Not bad. Replaced with like tailpiece.

Reliability Rating: 9

Customer Service

Out of business since 1970.

Customer Service: not rated

Components

Modified tub-a-phone tone ring. 4 piece flange. Dual-coordinator rods.All metal parts made of bell brass.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

Like it better than any banjo I have ever played. If anything should happen to it, I would try to find another identical banjo.

Overall Rating: 10

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