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Jul 19, 2019 - 2:47:32 PM
524 posts since 5/31/2004

A few months ago, I was fortunate to have obtained a 1920 Fairbanks-Vega Electric tenor (sn 48304) from Mark Ralston. It's got an Electric tone ring but, unlike the Whyte Laydie, has no bracket band.

As many here know, the Electric (and Imperial Electric) was a standard, cataloged Vega 5-string model. But the Electric tenor would had to have been custom ordered in the tenor form.

I don't know of any other example of this model. Does anyone else here have one?

Edited by - vintagetenor on 07/19/2019 18:09:51

Jul 20, 2019 - 3:19:45 AM
likes this

1533 posts since 1/13/2012

Hi Mike, I don't recall having seen an Electric tenor in the past. I'll check my serial number cards to see if I recorded any. A 48k number is fairly late for an Electric of any style. I've seen one or two Electric plectrums... I can't recall if they were a catalog item or not.

Andy

Jul 20, 2019 - 7:17:31 AM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, Andy!

Jul 21, 2019 - 5:28:17 AM

1515 posts since 12/26/2007

For what it's worth, here are pics of Mike's banjo from a few years ago.










 

Jul 21, 2019 - 1:10:55 PM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, Mark. I set it up with a Renaissance head, the correct tailpiece and a period arm rest. It's one of the best sounding banjos I've ever played.




Jul 21, 2019 - 5:46:10 PM

1533 posts since 1/13/2012

Interesting that it's a Maple neck (unless the photos are fooling me). By that time, the five string Electric was mahogany, as have been all the plectrums I've seen. Looks like they just took a Style R tenor and pulled it off the line before the rim got turned for the bracket band.

Andy

Jul 22, 2019 - 8:11:16 AM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

Yes, it's a maple neck, but it has the scale and dimensions of a Little Wonder neck, oddly enough, not that of a Whyte Laydie.

So a WL rim, unturned for a bracket band and drilled for shoes, was coupled with w LW neck.

I don't think the choice of a LW neck was a haphazard one. I'm guessing the buyer wanted the shorter scale, approx. 19.75" as opposed to approx. 21".

Jul 22, 2019 - 8:24:03 AM

1533 posts since 1/13/2012

Style R (Whyte Laydie) tenors were also made with the shorter scale.

Andy

Jul 22, 2019 - 8:35:55 AM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

Interesting. Did the shorter scale necks also have the slightly slimmer neck profile, as this one does? I would think so.

Jul 23, 2019 - 6:04:11 PM

DSmoke

USA

726 posts since 11/30/2015

I'm glad I got to see and hear this banjo, it's amazing! Hopefully, some more info pops up about it. It's fun trying to figure these things out.

Jul 24, 2019 - 4:18:34 AM

1533 posts since 1/13/2012

quote:
Originally posted by vintagetenor

Interesting. Did the shorter scale necks also have the slightly slimmer neck profile, as this one does? I would think so.


Since I dont play tenor, I honestly haven't paid close enough attention to the neck profiles to say.

Andy

Jul 24, 2019 - 6:17:12 AM

524 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, Andy and Dan!

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