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Sep 24, 2020 - 1:53:46 PM
86 posts since 3/17/2010

Today I picked up what I think is a Martin Vega Tu-Ba-Phone. Except for the Vega logo on the headstock and the number 2160 (serial?) on the pot there are no other markings. Plays and sounds terrific though. Any help? Value?


Edited by - OdeOwner on 09/26/2020 11:42:21

Sep 24, 2020 - 1:56:27 PM

beegee

USA

21897 posts since 7/6/2005

You may have a post-Martin Galaxy Trading Corporation Vega, made in Korea, or possibly made here using surplus parts. The timeline is slightly fuzzy.

Sep 24, 2020 - 2:01:37 PM

86 posts since 3/17/2010

Yes, that's what I've read concerning these banjos. Thanks!

Sep 24, 2020 - 3:15 PM

Tweelo

USA

177 posts since 4/14/2014

I always wondered about these with the bracket band with the bolts going through. It's like the designer was real worried aboutsomething.

Sep 24, 2020 - 5:06:32 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

840 posts since 10/15/2019

Looks like a nice banjo to me!

Sep 24, 2020 - 6:29:47 PM

86 posts since 3/17/2010

Here's a few more photos...


Sep 24, 2020 - 6:58:27 PM

5605 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by OdeOwner

Yes, that's what I've read concerning these banjos. Thanks!


They were just doing it the way Bill Nelson at Vega did it.  The 1960s at Vega were a time to find every way they could lower manufacturing costs.  I have friends who knew Bill Nelson at that time and banjos could as well been washing machines to him, they were just product.

I'm sure using a fake bracket band was somehow cheaper.  Even the rims were just some kind of plywood pipe or column tubing that they just cut off pieces of.  
 

I've played one of these Galaxy Vegas and they are much better banjos than anything Bill Nelson made.  The parts might mostly be the same, but the fit and finish was much better.

Sep 24, 2020 - 8:00:01 PM
likes this

13352 posts since 10/30/2008
Online Now

The guts look like real Vega (or Vega/Martin) parts. Only the "font" of the Vega logo on the peghead look Asian/Galaxy. Probably a mix of parts that Galaxy ended up with. Probably a fine banjo if it's put together well.

Sep 25, 2020 - 5:48 AM

rexhunt

USA

2667 posts since 10/11/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Tweelo

I always wondered about these with the bracket band with the bolts going through. It's like the designer was real worried aboutsomething.


The original pre-Martin Vega Pete Seeger had a pot with the bracket band and shoe bolts going all the way through.  I believe the VOX and VIP models were the same.

Rex

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:00:54 AM

Tweelo

USA

177 posts since 4/14/2014

quote:
Originally posted by rexhunt

The original pre-Martin Vega Pete Seeger had a pot with the bracket band and shoe bolts going all the way through.  I believe the VOX and VIP models were the same.

Rex


Yes, I've seen it before. It just always struck me as over-engineering. 

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:21:05 AM

5605 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Tweelo
quote:
Originally posted by rexhunt

The original pre-Martin Vega Pete Seeger had a pot with the bracket band and shoe bolts going all the way through.  I believe the VOX and VIP models were the same.

Rex


Yes, I've seen it before. It just always struck me as over-engineering. 


It was probably cheaper somehow.  Perhaps it took less labor to assemble and fit?  All I know is that Bill Nelson was mostly concerned with making the product cost less to produce.  From the neck heels that were not fitted to the rim, to the two in one stain and varnish that wears off the back of the neck, it was all about saving money in production and not about quality.

These Galaxy banjos were put together properly and finished better.  

Sep 26, 2020 - 11:44:05 AM

86 posts since 3/17/2010

It's really made well and at $400 it seemed like a good deal.

Sep 26, 2020 - 3:35:01 PM

Brett

USA

2344 posts since 11/29/2005

Great buy, looks fun and well built.

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