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Oct 28, 2021 - 7:52:27 AM
881 posts since 5/31/2004

I have friend who's considering purchasing a Vega Style X mandolin banjo.
The tailpiece on the instrument he's considering is a replacement. I don't remember the tailpiece on the one or two examples of this model I have seen, but believe the correct tailpiece cover should be engraved.

Does anyone here have one of these tailpieces?

Oct 28, 2021 - 9:16:54 AM

hbick2

USA

466 posts since 6/26/2004

Here's a copy of the 1923 Vega Catalog. It shows the Style X mandolin banjo:

acousticmusic.org/wp-content/u...talog.pdf

Here is a photo of what I believe is the correct tailpiece:


 

Oct 28, 2021 - 2:41:20 PM

2793 posts since 4/7/2010

The tailpiece itself should be riveted on. Are you talking about the tailpiece cover?

Bob Smakula

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:49:08 PM

881 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, Harry, that will help.

Yes, Bob, the cover, not the tailpiece itself. I was thinking that it was screwed into the rim through the bracket band and easily removeable.

It must be the cover that is not original to the banjo.

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:50:19 PM

9 posts since 9/11/2016

Here are a couple of shots of a Vega X with 10-3/4” pot that was in Kevin Enoch’s shop a few years ago. I think all the Vega MB’s with the smaller pots (usually 10-1/8” ) have the tailpiece attached to the tension hoop with rivets and solder, this one and one Style X in my collection use a bolt. Bob is the expert here so maybe riveting is more common.




 

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:57:31 PM

881 posts since 5/31/2004

Interesting. Thanks, Mark.

(From the land of Steve Shapiro!)

Oct 28, 2021 - 6:19:20 PM

9 posts since 9/11/2016

The Vega Style S Tubaphone MB and maybe the Style L as well have a less elaborately engraved tailpiece cover. Pictured is one from a Style S in the collection. Also pictured is an optional MB tailpiece that uses a single bolt but I don’t know where it might have been used. Notice the small holes adjacent to the string hooks, they would be used when the tailpiece was attached with rivets.




Edited by - markelynch on 10/28/2021 18:24:35

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:09:14 AM

36 posts since 11/7/2019
Online Now

I have two vintage Whyte Laydie banjos. First is a style L mandolin banjo # 33304 ( circa 1915-16). - 9 3/4 rim, Fairbanks by Vega. Tailpiece is riveted , but cover is too narrow for tailpiece - Second one is Whyte Laydie pot- no neck . # 58592 ( circa 1923-24, I think. - 10 5/8 rim , style 2, I guess . - Need to find a neck for this one -

Oct 29, 2021 - 5:37:29 AM

9093 posts since 8/28/2013

The rivets holding those mando-banjo taipieces had a tendency to break loose (I once had a Style K that did that) and many times were replaced with something more conventional that used attached through the end bolt of the dowelstick. Some were the same sort of tailpiece used on mandolins that could use the same cover.

Oct 29, 2021 - 2:47:22 PM

881 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, all!

Oct 30, 2021 - 8:08:54 AM

9 posts since 9/11/2016

After some more thought and research I realize that the Style X tailpiece has the fancy engravings as in the photo I posted earlier but it is also gold plated. Most of the gold is worn off with just a hint left. This matches the catalog description and it also makes sense that the tailpiece would match the engraved and gold plated tuning machine cover. If anyone finds a second cover I’d be pleased to know.




 

Oct 30, 2021 - 5:27:17 PM

9 posts since 9/11/2016

quote:
Originally posted by markelynch

After some more thought and research I realize that the Style X tailpiece has the fancy engravings as in the photo I posted earlier but it is also gold plated. Most of the gold is worn off with just a hint left. This matches the catalog description and it also makes sense that the tailpiece would match the engraved and gold plated tuning machine cover. If anyone finds a second tailpiece cover I’d be pleased to know.


Oct 31, 2021 - 11:49:35 AM

36 posts since 11/7/2019
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by markelynch

After some more thought and research I realize that the Style X tailpiece has the fancy engravings as in the photo I posted earlier but it is also gold plated. Most of the gold is worn off with just a hint left. This matches the catalog description and it also makes sense that the tailpiece would match the engraved and gold plated tuning machine cover. If anyone finds a second cover I’d be pleased to know.


Oct 31, 2021 - 12:00:59 PM

36 posts since 11/7/2019
Online Now

My Style L MB has the same tuner cover, but with engraving around the edge only, and not gold plated. Anyone have a tail piece cover for a Style L - The one I have must be a replacement -

Nov 1, 2021 - 7:41:12 PM

11816 posts since 10/27/2006

The mandolin tailpiece and cover were made by Waverly. Gibson, Martin and many others used that same tailpiece. It's stamped metal and came bent into a number of shapes depending on how it was to be mounted. Gibson used a version on low end banjos in the '20s and '390s — If you took a grind wheel to a Kalamazoo 'piece I have, the holes on the remainder line right up with the rivets on the Vega.

Good news is that the covers are interchangeable and unengraved units are easy to find. Bad news is that trying to find one with the correct engraving… Well, good luck with that.

Nov 1, 2021 - 8:20:07 PM

36 posts since 11/7/2019
Online Now

Thank for the info, Mike -

Nov 3, 2021 - 9:10:54 AM
likes this

staceyz

Canada

147 posts since 5/30/2010

I have a complete engraved Waverly "Cloud" tailpiece, I could sell... you can contact me at: staceyz (at) telus (dot) net




 

Nov 3, 2021 - 9:36:06 AM

881 posts since 5/31/2004

Thanks, Stacey, pm sent to you.

Nov 3, 2021 - 11:15:31 AM

11816 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by staceyz

I have a complete engraved Waverly "Cloud" tailpiece, I could sell... you can contact me at: staceyz (at) telus (dot) net


Damn! Is this a great place or what?

Nov 5, 2021 - 8:49:48 AM

9 posts since 9/11/2016

Congratulations, that is the correct engraving and plating for a Vega Style S and Style L MB. Finding a gold plated and engraved example for the Style X will be more difficult but maybe some are out there. Leftovers from a 5-string conversion perhaps. I could use two of them!

I had to use the Style S cover on this 4-String Style X. BTW the 4-string MB’s have a shorter scale length than the 8-string version. They use a 13” scale as opposed to 13-7/8”. The 4-String model was apparently aimed at violin players who wanted to double on a banjo so it uses a violin length scale.


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