The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Vega Deluxe Electric Tenor Banjo Sunburst Restored, 1937


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Here we have a real rarity from around 1937 – a restored, refinished and replated Vega Deluxe Electric Tenor Banjo, and they meant ‘Electric’ – this has a pickup!

The Vega company was one of the older banjo builders in the USA, having started during 1881 in Boston, Massachusetts and acquiring the A C Fairbanks company assets in 1904 following a devastating fire at the Fairbanks plant. By the 1040s Vega was fading, and in the 1970s C F Martin purchased the company and held it until 1989 when Greg Deering bought it and re-created the Vega line.

This Vega Deluxe Electric Tenor banjo, built around 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts, is in good working order and excellent – but not original – condition. It has been expertly restored, including refinishing and replating the gold metal parts. While dating is not precise for these instruments, we know that there is a 1937 model with a similar serial number.

The colourfully engraved and painted celluloid fingerboard is reminiscent of a Bacon and Day Silver Bell from around 1927. Manufacturers were experimenting with new materials for fingerboards and necks – Bakelite and Celluloid were very popular. The neck also features a carved heel. The pot has a flat Maple top, the back and sides are likely also Maple but with creme – now yellowed – celluloid cladding. The back of the instrument features a Vega star in a larger circle with other decorations and the term ‘Vega Electric’. The top and back of the pot also features gold lame binding!

Most interesting is what’s in the middle of the top. A metal carrier plate holds a pair of four-pole coils – it looks very much like a modern humbucking pickup in a trim ring. Two controls are mounted on the top, and the lower one is volume. The upper control is a three-position rotary switch controlling the configuration of the two coils. The output jack is unusually mounted on the bass side – unusual but perfectly sensible for a banjo, where a ‘traditional’ guitar placement would put the cable into the player’s thigh. Placement at the tail might make the banjo hard to set down.

This is a fascinating instrument and is fully playable.

A non-original hard shell case is included.


Price: $4,995.00 CAD
  • Model: Deluxe Electrric Tenor
  • Year: 1937 | Approximate year
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 35 872
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Date Posted: 29/07/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 5.85lbs 2.66kg
  • Scale Length: 27.25in 692.15mm
  • Nut Width: 1.16in 29.5mm

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