The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Vega FW5 Folk Wonder 5-String Banjo Sunburst, 1967


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Here we have a Vega FW5 Folk Wonder, factory converted as new to a Vega Senator. At the time this banjo was built, the Vega name and facilities were owned by the C F Martin guitar company, and a few years later Martin built some higher end Vega banjos in Nazareth PA.   The Vega name is now owned by the Deering company, who manufacture excellent Vega models.  

Here’s Grant MacNeill on this Vega FW5 Folk Wonder:

“Built in the heady days of the Hootenanny era, the Vega brand was owned by Martin Guitars and were very popular.

The Vega FW5 model began as the Vega Little Wonder in the 1890s, originally with a wood-tone-ring construction whereby the wood rim was machined to the contour of a metal ring. The result was a warmer tone, lighter weight and less expensive banjo. More recently when Deering banjo gained the rights to the Vega name, one of the first models they resurrected was the Little Wonder model, complete with the same wood-tone-ring construction.

During the sixties, the Vega banjo company and the banjo playing community at large were less concerned about historical accuracy. So, Vega added a resonator and a brass, spun-over tone ring and effectively turned this Vega FW5 banjo into a Vega Senator model. The added touch of treble clarity and “snap” one gets from the Senator-style tone ring plus the resonator back makes this banjo an ideal fingerstyle banjo and crosses over into Bluegrass, And at only 8.2 pounds it is far more manageable than most full-blown Bluegrass banjos which average at 11 pounds weight.

I have lightly dressed the frets, recut and respaced the bone nut and reset the neck angle. Action is currently low at 5/64 and the banjo plays beautifully. All hardware is original; Tuners are 1:1 panhead planetary, original tailpiece. The only change some would have me make is converting to a 12:1 geared 5th string tuner ( cost of $42 parts and labour). But purists would prefer to stick with the original 1:1 friction tuner.” ~ Grant MacNeill, Banjo Specialist

Sold with a non-original, 1980’s era hard shell case.


Price: $1,289.99 CAD
  • Model: FW-5 Folk Wonder
  • Year: 1967
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: A1128063, built during 1967 in Boston MA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 21/06/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 8.2lbs 3.727kg
  • Scale Length: 26.25in 666.75mm
  • Nut Width: 1.228in 31.21mm

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