I'd say it's a Vega Folk Ranger.....early '60's model
Thanks Scott. The time frame is right.
Yes, Vega folk ranger-Scott nailed it.
Cool! Any idea where the banjo is today?
This was dads first banjo bought in the early 60s. Story my mom tells, one day a UPS delivery driver was dropping off a package and saw it hanging on the wall. Asked mom if it was for sale. She called dad at work and he told her what he’d take for it. Apparently the guy wanted it because he came back latter and bought it. Dad had 2 other banjos after this, a 1979s era Fender Leo and a late 70s OME Juggernaut. He sold the Fender when he bought the OME in the early 90s from Janet Davis music. He gave me the OME a day or 2 before his passing a few years ago.
That’s really special...hang on to that Ome, family connection and all! Thanks for sharing.
Mark, if you're looking for a Folk Ranger for sentimental reasons, they pop up frequently on ebay and in the classifieds here and usually sell for less than $500. They're nice basic banjos. I've had one for more than 40 years, and I still play it regularly. Just remember that the Folk Ranger is the open-back version, and the Ranger has a resonator.
Dow, the OME isn’t going anywhere. It’s a display piece in my living room. I consider it a piece of art. Joe I’ve played with the idea of getting a lighter 5 string to learn on, that OME gets heavy after awhile. Was thinking of maybe a used good time but may make the Vega an option too.
There's a resonator Vega Ranger in the BHO Classifieds right now at roughly the same price as a new Goodtime resonator (I think).
Standard disclaimer, I have nothing to do with this offering.
At this time I’m not in the market (no dinero). When I am in the market would the Vega be a better banjo than the Goodtime?
It's tough to compare because the Goodtime is also a nice banjo, but I would prefer a Ranger. The Folk Ranger (no resonator) is a really nice clawhammer banjo. It's a solidly built no-frills banjo and sounds good. I bought mine used nearly 50 years ago, and all I've had to do is change the head.
I'm curious how a Ranger (with resonator) would sound for Scruggs-style playing.
I disagree, this is not a folk ranger, this is likely a higher end folk wonder fw-5, note the larger hoop and the tail peice and arm rest, folk rangers lacked a tone ring, had sa thin band and hooks and lacked an arm rest, this one likely had a little wonder tone ring in it it has the higher end thick hoop and higher end tail piece. I have a folk wonder from this era, its a dead ringer
Edited by - kyleb on 03/19/2019 04:49:17
The Folk Wonder (I owned one a few years ago) had white binding on the fretboard. The Ranger did not. The Wonder had the style tuners as pictured in Kyle's link, while the Ranger had the cheaper guitar style tuners as shown in the OP. I'd say by the photos provided, that the banjo in the OP is a Ranger, with an upgraded t/p and armrest.
mine has no binding and guitar style tuners, its a 1963 by date. when martin bought them i think is when they bound the necks. but i dont know, its hard to say. I just cant find any examples of a ranger with the large tension hoop.
My Wonder was a 60's "pre-Martin" with the white binding and conventional, "offset" banjo tuners. Quite likely there was some mixing and matching going on at the factory.
Look at the attached brochure from 1963 (courtesy of Mike Halloran). The Wonder had banjo-style tuners and had two-dot inlays on the 7th, 12th and 23rd (?) frets. I'm looking at my Ranger right now and like the original post, it has the guitar-style tuners and single-dot inlays. My tailpiece is also the same as in the original post.
Does anyone know if Vega in the '60s was noted for mixing and matching and using whatever was available?
Edited by - Joe Connor on 03/19/2019 12:34:59
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