Dating vegaphone banjo


A fine-sounding early Tu-Ba-Phone tenor; the Style M is an openback 21" scale instrument with a large rim, the more archaic style of four-string that would be eventually phased out by the mid-'20's. This Vega style would soon evolve into the Vegaphone Professional, one of the most popular tenors of the jazz age. Martin also used the Vega name for a line of strings.The Vega name was subsequently licensed to a number of American and international companies.Over a period of several years, the Vega line morphed into a uniquely featured Vega Martin instrument.The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC recently showcased an exhibit of pre-1900 Martin guitars.



The Vega Company is best known today for its banjos, such as the Vegavox model they co-developed with famous plectrum player Eddie Peabody. This included mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and a limited amount of acoustic guitars. In 1909, Vega purchased the Standard Band Instrument Company of Boston incorporating their line of horns. G Wright and Company merged with other investors to create the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactury in 1869.

This earlier Style M makes a fine Irish style banjo, and an excellent choice for anyone preferring a shorter scale instrument with a big, booming sound.

Fine, typically deep but penetrating Tu-Ba-Phone tone.

The Vega Company was a musical instrument manufacturer that started operations in Boston, Massachusetts in 1881.

The company began under Swedish-born Julius Nelson, his brother Carl, and a group of associates that included John Pahn and John Swenson. Fairbanks, then switched to Fairbanks banjo by the Vega Co., then eventually to just Vega. Day, who had been the chief acoustical designer at Fairbanks, became general manager of the Vega stringed instrument division and continued to develop innovative and successful banjo designs.

The founders had previously worked for a guitar shop run by Pehr Anderberg that made instruments for John C. Nelson had served as foreman of guitar and mandolin manufacturing at Anderberg's shop. For example, the Vega Tu-ba-Phone, which first appeared in 1909, featured a perforated metal tone ring—a ring-shaped, square-sectioned metal tube that lay between the instrument's wooden rim and calfskin head.


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