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Feb 22, 2024 - 12:06:57 PM
586 posts since 1/8/2005

Both apparently had Tubaphone tone rings and similar fretboard inlay, what was the difference between the two?

Feb 22, 2024 - 12:59:23 PM
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13062 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by frankabr.

Both apparently had Tubaphone tone rings and similar fretboard inlay, what was the difference between the two?


Originally, the Style M was a mahogany tenor banjo that had a 19–21" scale on a 10 3/4", 11" or 12" pot with 15, 16 or 17 frets clear and plain (uncarved) heels. These are not exact measurements. The 5 string and Plectrum versions were known as the Tu-Ba-Phone NO 3 and those necks had carved heels. All 4 strings were equipped with NoKnot tailpieces while the 5 string version had cams (not remembering that tailpiece but others know it). The M tenors had wire strings while the NO 3 had gut.

In late 1923, the Vegaphone Professional line came out. All of the tenors were 11" (actually 10 15/16") pots with 19 frets clear on a 23" scale on maple necks. In addition, the full resonator with flanges made its first appearance as did the new Grover Presto with an engraved tailpiece cover. At least one, perhaps two 5 strings were made and the plectrums used surplus NO 3 necks for the first few years till Vega finally ran out and switched to maple on these, too.

The M kept its specs for awhile but eventually incorporated the features of the Vegaphone including the maple neck and the 10 3/4" and 12" (actually 11 13/16") pots faded into history. By the mid '30s, the M was gone. 

I have a scan of the late 1923 Vegaphone catalog. Send me a message and I can reply with a copy.

Edited by - mikehalloran on 02/22/2024 13:00:45

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