Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

373
Banjo Lovers Online


Will a 30s resonator for a Vega Little Wonder likely fit a 30s Vega Regent?

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Aug 23, 2019 - 11:24:18 AM
263 posts since 9/27/2006

I recently acquired a 1932-1935 Vega Regent plectrum banjo. I saw someone on eBay listing a "pie-plate" single bolt resonator they are listing as from a Vega Little Wonder tenor (year unknown, but looks like 30's). According to the Vega catalog from the 30's, all of these line of banjos were shown/listed as "open back" and had optional bolt on "Magnatone" resonators that were ordered by specifying the size of the head/pot. In the catalog, it appears that both the Little Wonder and the Regent have the same size head/pot (11").

The dimensions given for this resonator are 13 1/2" diameter by 1 1/8' deep. What do you think are the chances that this resonator for the tenor will fit the plectrum? Do you think the size of the heel cap will be an issue? I could get this for a pretty sweet deal if I act fast.

Aug 23, 2019 - 11:42:03 AM
likes this

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22217 posts since 6/25/2005

If you measure again, you’ll likely find the banjos are 10 15/16” diameter, not 11”. The resonator will likely fit. Be sure it has the attachment hardware. Are the flange plates included?

Aug 23, 2019 - 11:47:48 AM
likes this

2675 posts since 5/29/2011

If it's the one from Memphis TN then it will probably fit just fine. If not, for the bid price, you would have little trouble reselling it.

Aug 23, 2019 - 12:48:06 PM

263 posts since 9/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

If you measure again, you’ll likely find the banjos are 10 15/16” diameter, not 11”. The resonator will likely fit. Be sure it has the attachment hardware. Are the flange plates included?

I'm not sure if these resonators from the 30s always had flange plates. It appears they are the "bolt on" type attachments and most are not pictured with flange- catalog doesn't mention or discuss flanges, although older models (pre-1930 do). I figured the pots are not precisely 11" (although the Vega catalog lists both the Little Wonder tenor and the Regent plectrums as "standard eleven inch head"). I suppose it will depend on what the precise vintage of the resonator itself is. Looking at the pics, it does look kind of like there may have been flanges used previously (some wear in the finish of the resonator). No hardware is included, but it is a pretty inexpensive asking price too. 

Aug 23, 2019 - 12:49:50 PM

263 posts since 9/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

If it's the one from Memphis TN then it will probably fit just fine. If not, for the bid price, you would have little trouble reselling it.


That's kind of what I'm thinking. If it stays cheap, it's worth rolling the dice. I would have to buy some a dowel stick mounting bolt, which are a little spendy, even in reproduction. 

Aug 23, 2019 - 1:10:57 PM

12104 posts since 10/30/2008

If your banjo has no flanges, it will probably fit one way or another. Many of the after market resonators were "close fit" to the flange-less banjos. Meaning the resonator walls just clear the tension hooks and bracket shoes. Try to get a diameter from outer edge of a bracket shoes to the outer edge of its mate 180 deg. away. As long as the inner diameter of the resonator is big enough to just barely clear the bracket shoes, you'll be all right.

I had a 1920s Tu Ba Phone No 3 with a close fit resonator and it worked fine.


Edited by - The Old Timer on 08/23/2019 13:18:16

Aug 23, 2019 - 3:01:52 PM

263 posts since 9/27/2006

The Old Timer, those pics are exactly what I am hoping for. Maybe I will go ahead and roll those dice.

Aug 26, 2019 - 9:35:15 AM

10373 posts since 10/27/2006

The Regent and Little Wonder are the same banjo except that the Regent has a 5-string or plectrum neck. A LW can be anything else including a mandolin, short or long scale tenor or guitar banjo.

The lower end Vegas such as the Style N had the close fit resonator. I have one on my '20s Tubaphone NO 3 plectrum. It was originally open backed and the close-fit resonator allows it to fit the case. Depending on the situation, I have had the 28-piece and 4-piece flange with one of my pie-plate resonators on that banjo.

Early 1930s resonators have 2-piece backs. When they went to a 1-piece back, I don't know. The pie-plate was gone by the '30s though you could probably still buy one from dealers who had NOS.

Likewise, the 28 individual flanges were replaced by a 4-piece Waverly made flange that lasted till Vega went to 24 brackets in the 1960s. They are interchangeable on any 28 bracket Vega with the 10 15/16" "Professional" sized pot as are the resonators.

No one knows exactly when this happened but 1929 is usually considered the transition year. Will a 28-piece and pie-plate fit a '32-35 plectrum? Yes. Is it correct? Absolutely not. Will anyone really care? I doubt it.

Why the question on the year? Vega serial numbers are known from 1933 on.

I have a 4-piece flange set in excellent condition if anyone is interested. I've sold my other surplus resonators and flange sets except those that I will keep with the banjos.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 08/26/2019 09:39:27

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.625