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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!

7189 reviews in the archive.

Schattl Conversion: Vega Little Wonder Conversion

Submitted by Kimerer on 7/31/2017

Where Purchased: Direct Purchase from Gary Schattl

Year Purchased: 2017
Price Paid: 899 ($US)


The sound is bright but full. It is loud enough that I can play with less force on the strings than I am used to. It has a very nice sound. I play frailing style and finger style with no picks. Even without picks it is plenty loud.

Sound Rating: 10


The banjo is strung with steel strings. The action is low for easy playing, and there is no fret buzz. It plays in tune all the way up the neck. The third string might benefit from some gentle compensation, but that is not unusual on a banjo. I have made no changes to the setup. It arrived completely playable.

Setup Rating: 10


Gary made a maple neck with a walnut stringer, heel cap, and peghead overlay. The neck is maple and stained perfectly to match the color of the mahogany pot. The hardware is in excellent shape. I have found no flaws with the banjo.

Appearance Rating: 10


I have just received the banjo, so I have very little time on it so far. However, the construction appears to be rock solid, and I anticipate having no problems with it.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Gary shipped the banjo very quickly. It arrived in perfect order in just a few days. Excellent experience.

Customer Service: 10


The pot is in surprisingly good shape given its age (about 92 years). The new neck that Gary built fits in perfectly with the pot and is very solid and well made. The neck is bound, with side dots. The inlay is excellent. The tuning machines are smooth and solid. Very nicely done.

Components Rating: 10

Overall Comments

This banjo is a Vega Little Wonder pot from circa 1925 combined with a new 5 string neck. The hardware on the pot is original and in excellent condition. The banjo has a Little Wonder tone ring in it and a new head. The sound is wonderful. The neck is new by Gary, and fits seamlessly with the old pot both visually and mechanically. It is a short scale neck that is 23 1/2" from bridge to nut, which is what I was looking for since it helps me reach the more complex chord positions. I have it tuned to standard G tuning, and it plays just fine at that tuning. The banjo plays in tune all the way up the neck. The third string might benefit from some gentle compensation, but I have not made any changes because there is no noticeable intonation problem when playing. Gary put a truss rod in the neck, so it is strung with steel strings. It feels very solid.

Overall Rating: 10

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