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Mar 5, 2021 - 3:55:07 PM
9 posts since 3/1/2019

I have a mid to late 1960's Vega Vox I tenor banjo with a broken silver plated tailpiece. The tailpiece attaches to the rim with two screws.

Spent the last several days in the Banjo Hangout archives and Googling for information. Noticed most of the threads about broken Vega Vox tailpieces were around the year 2012. So please forgive me for bringing this topic up again. If it's any consolation, I'll be punished for any offense I may have given, by already kinda, sorta knowing the likely tragic answers.

To my current knowledge, there are only two and a half answers to replacing the tailpiece:

1. Have the tailpiece silver soldered back together, with attendant damage to the nickle finish.

2. Buy one of the two or so remaining TBM "Tensionator" tailpieces, (But both are gold plated on the Rickard or Smakula sites.)

2.5 Take the banjo to a local machine shop and permanently cut away a portion of the flange and bottom rim. This would allow fitting of any end bolt style tailpiece.

Am I correct in my assumptions?

Or has anyone ever reproduced Vega Vox I tailpieces for sale? If so, who and where? Otherwise does anyone know of any additional TBM Tensionator tailpieces with nickle plating for sale somewhere?

Mar 6, 2021 - 4:46:19 AM
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1313 posts since 5/19/2018

Or you can buy a gold plated tailpiece, buff it down and get it replated in nickel.

My last option would be the machine shop option.

I would also call/email Intermountain Guitar and banjo. Every time I call Lou for the most arcane of original parts, he seems to have it. Give him a shot and see what happens.

Mar 6, 2021 - 5:11:38 AM
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2563 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Aristophon




2. Buy one of the two or so remaining TBM "Tensionator" tailpieces, (But both are gold plated on the Rickard or Smakula sites.)

 Otherwise does anyone know of any additional TBM Tensionator tailpieces with nickle plating for sale somewhere?


I do have nickel plated ABM Tensionator 4-string banjo tailpieces for sale. In December I found a distributor that purchased some about 12 years ago and never advertised they had them in stock. When I found out they were available, I bought them all. Only 10 or so, but glad to have them.

Bob Smakula

Smakula.com

Mar 6, 2021 - 8:11:05 AM

9 posts since 3/1/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula
quote:
Originally posted by Aristophon




2. Buy one of the two or so remaining TBM "Tensionator" tailpieces, (But both are gold plated on the Rickard or Smakula sites.)

 Otherwise does anyone know of any additional TBM Tensionator tailpieces with nickle plating for sale somewhere?


I do have nickel plated ABM Tensionator 4-string banjo tailpieces for sale. In December I found a distributor that purchased some about 12 years ago and never advertised they had them in stock. When I found out they were available, I bought them all. Only 10 or so, but glad to have them.

Bob Smakula

Smakula.com


Thanks, Bob!  I'm sending to your website to get one. Will send you an e-mail.

Mar 6, 2021 - 10:42:11 AM

9 posts since 3/1/2019

Thanks to all who replied to my thread!

I was mistaken concerning reproduction Ottinger style tailpieces. The tailpiece listed on the
Jim Rickard site wouldn't work because the Flanges on my Vega Vox are up near the top of the banjo. Would have still had to machine part of the flanges out to fit it. He's already sold the one example I'd looked anyway.

Thanks to Mr. Smakula for discussing this with me (I'd thought the Ottinger reproductions had a model that bolted to the rim) I was mistaken. They're all end bolt style except for a Mike Rowe reproduction that Jim Rickard had had listed on his site.

Mark Ralston made an interesting correspondence with me concerning reproduction of the original tailpiece - but with a slight improvement in the hinge. The cost would be at least 300 dollars. I'm throwing this information out there for consideration by other Vega Vox owners as well. I haven't decided quite yet what to do, so I'll "sleep on it" over the weekend.

Have gotten an offer an offer to sell me a spare tailpiece, am waiting for a pic of it. Will likely buy that for now. As for the broken tailpiece I'll either splurge on Mark's quote or just have the tailpiece re-soldered.

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