I have a Vega 5 string 'Electric' banjo with the electric tone ring and stamped dowel stick (that at one point may have held a resonator based on the scarring on the wood) that dates from 1923 (both dowel and pot are stamped 63533). There is some question if the mahogany neck is original, as it has a Fairbanks-style gryphon inlaid on it below the ornate star. The neck is certainly old and well made, with checking in the finish that makes me think it is nitro-cellulose. No finish checking on the pot.
Any ideas? Does anyone know what model this might be if it is original?
The neck does not appear to be original. Could you please upload a photo of the back of the neck so I can confirm that it's a repro and not an original neck with a new fingerboard?
From the 3 pictures, I think the neck is original, but most of the inlay is caricature quality. More pictures will help confirm.
Those Imperial Electric banjos are some of my favorites to play.
And, the gryphon in question... compared to a Whyte Laydie inlay on the left
The additional pictures has not changed my initial assessment. Likely the original neck, but modified with amateurish "upgrades".
That said, I am sure it is a good sounding banjo.
I concur, original neck with poorly executed "upgrades."
Thank you Bob and John
I have owned a couple '23–'25 Imperial Electrics. I can see that 10th fretboard inlay is original—at least it's correct, probably the dots, too. No way the backstrap is. Neither had a headstock inlay.
I'm not believing that the neck is original but could be. What is the scale and the fretboard wood?
Edited by - mikehalloran on 10/05/2023 18:49:06
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