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Sep 23, 2020 - 11:11:30 AM
2667 posts since 10/11/2005

First instrument I ever learned to play was my dad's tenor banjo. I play mostly 5 string now but came across this at Elderly.

It's a Vega Style R from the teens (1900). It's a Whyte Laydie with a 17 fret neck - matching serial numbers on the dowel and rim. I didn't need to do much to get it up and running.  I replaced the replacement friction tuners with a set of small shaft planets from Bob Smakula. Who knows what kind of tuners have been on it. I ditched the Grover non-tip for a 5/8" German bridge from Bob as well. I like the Kershner tailpieces so I left it alone.  The last owner had used ball end strings and one of the posts had split but for some reason there are 5 posts on this one.

The neck is odd - a previous owner had scalloped out 4 indents in the neck.  Elderly claimed they were from a capo but that would have been one strong capo! After playing it for a while, my guess is they were put there so the player switch to a different position without having to look at the neck.

It has a Rogers XXX head in very good shape.  Eldery listed it as 10 3/4 but from my knowledge of Vega is it actually 10 13/16 or 10 11/16? Anyone know for sure if I ever have to replace it?

Anyway, I've been having a lot of fun with it. Trying to get used to the CGDA tuning again and re-learning all the fiddle tunes I know - maybe someday I'll turn it into an Irish tenor but I really like higher sound of CGDA

Rex


Edited by - rexhunt on 09/23/2020 12:01:37

Sep 23, 2020 - 11:28:02 AM
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55717 posts since 12/14/2005

On the UP side, when one applies the TUCKER industrial strength TENOR capo to the neck, there is absolutely NO side-slip to the strings!

 

Anyway, nice to see you got such a NICE banjo to enjoy.

Sep 23, 2020 - 11:37:20 AM
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2345 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by rexhunt

posts on this one.

It has a Rogers XXX head in very good shape.  Eldery listed it as 10 3/4 but from my knowledge of Vega is it actually 10 13/16 or 10 11/16? Anyone know for sure if I ever have to replace it?


I have owned Whyte Laydies with all 3 of those sizes, with 10-3/4" being the most common.

 

Bob Smakula

Sep 23, 2020 - 12:04:49 PM

rexhunt

USA

2667 posts since 10/11/2005

Thanks Bob.  All the measurements I took did look more like 10-3/4. BTW, I just edited my original post to fix the spelling of your last name. Just can't seem to get it right.

Rex

Sep 27, 2020 - 12:26:10 PM

984 posts since 12/8/2006

Check with Vinnie at Banjo Haven for a period neck if you want to get rid of the 'dents'. Paul

Sep 27, 2020 - 12:46:42 PM
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rexhunt

USA

2667 posts since 10/11/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Shop the Folk

Check with Vinnie at Banjo Haven for a period neck if you want to get rid of the 'dents'. Paul


If I ever get another neck, it will be a 5 string with it's own dowel.  The "dents" don't really bother me at all. They are quite smooth - I really think they were done on purpose to help as a guide to higher neck positions. I can't imagine any capo doing that to the neck.

Rex

Sep 27, 2020 - 4:26:27 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11021 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula
quote:
Originally posted by rexhunt

posts on this one.

It has a Rogers XXX head in very good shape.  Eldery listed it as 10 3/4 but from my knowledge of Vega is it actually 10 13/16 or 10 11/16? Anyone know for sure if I ever have to replace it?


I have owned Whyte Laydies with all 3 of those sizes, with 10-3/4" being the most common.

 

Bob Smakula


I thought it was only Slingerland that made 10 3/4" rims

Sep 28, 2020 - 4:13:54 AM

1629 posts since 1/13/2012

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz
 

I thought it was only Slingerland that made 10 3/4" rims


 

Fairbanks, and subsequently Vega, made thousands of them.

Sep 28, 2020 - 6:05:08 AM

7737 posts since 8/28/2013
Online Now

Ludwig also used a 10 3/4 inch rim.

Sep 28, 2020 - 6:20:20 AM

Helix

USA

12938 posts since 8/30/2006

This looks very nice, having done a few reclaims lately
You can reclaim the sound

Sep 28, 2020 - 7:02:18 AM
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1096 posts since 5/19/2018

I am a five string banjo player from day one many years ago.

One thing that I have learned from being on the Hangout and watching a number of member videos, there is really a lot of very fine tenor banjo music out there. It’s definitely an instrument that very much needs to be respected by us five string purists out there.

Enjoy the instrument and the journey.

Sep 28, 2020 - 7:19:24 AM
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55717 posts since 12/14/2005

As Mr. Conder says: Enjoy the tenor.

It is an instrument of amazing range and style.

For starts, watch our Outhanger known as "Greenmeat" (Eddy Davis) on tenor.

https://www.banjohangout.org/my/Greenmeat#

Sep 28, 2020 - 7:37:51 AM

rexhunt

USA

2667 posts since 10/11/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

I am a five string banjo player from day one many years ago.

One thing that I have learned from being on the Hangout and watching a number of member videos, there is really a lot of very fine tenor banjo music out there. It’s definitely an instrument that very much needs to be respected by us five string purists out there.

Enjoy the instrument and the journey.


My dad was an excellent player. He would amaze me by picking up a piece of tenor banjo sheet music and just let it rip. He was equally amazed at my ability to play by ear. He gave me the only real music lessons I ever had. When my next door neighbor and I got a spot on my Junior High School's talent show, my dad gave me his walnut TB-4 that he had received from his folks as a High School graduation present in 1935. I played Washington Square. When I first heard Pete Seeger and then Earl Scruggs, I knew I had to have a 5 string which turned out to be a $25 Japanese open back that was a huge step down from the Mastertone.

Rex

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