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Oct 25, 2020 - 8:36:05 PM
2 posts since 11/12/2008

I just acquired a mint 70’s or 80’s Vega with nothing to identify it. The strange thing is it’s a raised head so am I way off on my guess for years?

Oct 25, 2020 - 9:36:35 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24101 posts since 6/25/2005

Not a Vega. You need to post pix so we can ID it. Include pix of banjo inside and closeups of peghead,

Oct 26, 2020 - 8:06 AM

3406 posts since 5/29/2011

A Vega banjo from the seventies would be made by C.F. Martin until 1979 when they sold the Vega name to Galaxy Trading Co. in Korea. Lots of Galaxy made banjos look nothing like traditional Vega designs. But, I don't recall seeing a Galaxy, or any other Vega, with an archtop tone ring. I have to go along with Bill on this one. Maybe a Vega neck on a different pot. Pictures would give us a better idea.

Oct 26, 2020 - 8:13:11 AM
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774 posts since 5/31/2004

I once had a Galaxy Vega tenor with an aluminum rim and an "integral archtop tone ring", Stew-Mac style.

Oct 26, 2020 - 10:39:43 AM
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7877 posts since 8/28/2013

I have never encountered a Galaxy arch top Vega in person, but I have seen pictures of them, so they do exist.

Oct 26, 2020 - 12:27:59 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24101 posts since 6/25/2005

Those banjos, of course, are Vinos—Vega in name only.

Oct 26, 2020 - 12:31:41 PM

774 posts since 5/31/2004

Agreed, Bill!

Oct 26, 2020 - 1:10:44 PM

5719 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Those banjos, of course, are Vinos—Vega in name only.


Would the "Vega" banjos offered by Deering fall into this category as well?

I mean, some of the Galaxy banjo did use parts from the Nelson era.

I agree with you... I just don't see a difference (other than quality, but some of the Galaxy banjos were better than the 60s Nelson banjos).

Oct 26, 2020 - 1:39:59 PM

774 posts since 5/31/2004

I will say that the aluminum-rimmed Galaxy Vega tenor (that I had very briefly) was a pretty decent player in the price range. It was attractive, loud and bright and would make an acceptable rhythm and solo instrument in a small band - really.

I didn't mean to disparage it at all and hope I corrected that here. But it was not in the same class of quality as even the lower end Vega banjos of the 1910s and '20s, in my opinion. So, from that perspective, "Vega in name only" certainly applies.

Oct 26, 2020 - 1:41:43 PM

774 posts since 5/31/2004

...And sometimes I wish I had kept it.

Oct 26, 2020 - 10:43:10 PM

10877 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Those banjos, of course, are Vinos—Vega in name only.


Would the "Vega" banjos offered by Deering fall into this category as well?

I mean, some of the Galaxy banjo did use parts from the Nelson era.

I agree with you... I just don't see a difference (other than quality, but some of the Galaxy banjos were better than the 60s Nelson banjos).


The early Deering Vegas used up the Waverly hardware from the Nelson era. Only a few Galaxy Vegas did, mostly as NAMM displays for models never produced outside the prototypes. There are some one-off Vega of California frankenVegas made of parts from Boston as well, a few with fancy necks from the 1920s.

Greg Deering acquired that hardware along with tools after he bought he name. It's a long story and quite interesting. He's told it to me a couple of times.

In 1997 or '98 (I no longer remember), as the last of the 10 15/16" Waverly tension hoops were being used, I was asked my opinion on whether Deering should stay with the older size and re-tool or go to 11". I was glad to be asked even though I knew there was little chance  they would keep both sizes in production just to keep vintage Vega freaks like me happy.

If you run across a vintage Deering Vega long neck, it's really easy to tell if it has Nelson era Waverly hardware and a Greg Deering hand made Tubaphone ring. The head size will be 10 15/16". I don't know when Greg finally let someone else make the Tubaphone rings but it was after the change to 11".

Likewise, the very few Galaxy Vegas made in California will have the Waverly hardware as well.

Here's the twist. There are 10 Martin Vegas made with Gibson style, Galaxy hardware from Japan—CF Martin carved the necks and made the rims in Bethlehem, PA. Waverly was out of business and hardware was running low. These prototypes were made for the 1979 Winter NAMM. When the expected orders did not materialize, the decision was made to sell Vega to Galaxy Trading of California except for the string division. Many still believe that these banjos were put into production in Japan and sold by Martin but they never made it past the prototype stage.

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