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Apr 13, 2024 - 1:52:07 PM

PennyPenny

Canada

3 posts since 3/25/2024

Hi there,

Some time lurker, first time poster.  No idea why i can't see the text, all i see is the photos, lol.  :)    (Edit: i can see it now.  Just ignore my thrashing about.)

I've recently (re)started my banjo journey with a really lovely openback from Billybilt Banjo, picked up in the BHO classifieds a few weeks ago.  I'm still pretty new to the banjo, and now my instrument geekery/OCD has a new target, lol.  

Bill says the pot is 1920's era Vega Fairbanks, and now i'm really curious what model it might have started life as.  

It's got a ~ 10 3/4" head.  The rim looks to be 5 ply, with birdseye inside and out, 2" tall and 9/16" thick.  Little Wonder tone ring with a steel rod inside.  I can't find any evidence of a serial number inside the rim.  (I don't know how deeply they were stamped; could it have been sanded away during a refinish?)  

The thing that has me confused is the 22 brackets.  The only model mentioned with 22 brackets i've found in my reading up so far has been the Style K, which i think would have a smaller pot and no LW tone ring...?

Was there another model with the regular 10 3/4" pot, LW tone ring, and only 22 brackets?  Or is it something else altogether?  Or impossible to know?

(photos are also in my BHO homepage .)

Thanks!!

Penny


Edited by - PennyPenny on 04/13/2024 14:00:08

Apr 13, 2024 - 3:27:36 PM
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13132 posts since 10/27/2006

You are measuring the wooden rim to get the measurement and not the stretcher, correct? 

I don't know of any 10 3/4" Vega pot with 22 brackets. There were other makers who used a similar half-spun ring. This does not look like a Vega pot to me.

The K and other mandolin banjos had a pot that normally measured 10 1/8".

Apr 13, 2024 - 3:55:40 PM

PennyPenny

Canada

3 posts since 3/25/2024

Hi Mike,

Ok, it looks more like 10 5/8" inside the stretcher band. The wood rim measured across the back is 10 1/2" or so (a little out of round.)

Penny

Apr 14, 2024 - 4:20:09 AM

39575 posts since 2/28/2006

On my 1920's Tubaphone pot, the serial number is stamped at the 11:00 position near the dowel hardware. For comparison, the link below has pics of a 1925 K Style banjo mandolin.

jakewildwood.blogspot.com/2013...olin.html

Apr 14, 2024 - 12:10:10 PM

13132 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by PennyPenny

Hi Mike,

Ok, it looks more like 10 5/8" inside the stretcher band. The wood rim measured across the back is 10 1/2" or so (a little out of round.)

Penny


That does not match any Vega that I have ever seen nor is it in any of my catalogs. Again, Vega was not the only company to use a half-length sleeve over a round rod (wire as they called it).

It looks like a cool banjo, however.

Apr 14, 2024 - 7:04:03 PM
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2036 posts since 1/13/2012

It doesn't really look like a Vega rim to me. The birdseye maple could indicate Slingerland.

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