The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Vega Pete Seeger ‘Earl Robinson’ Longneck Banjo, 1966


Instrument Categories:

This Vega Pete Seeger banjo was purchased by American composer Earl Robinson in 1966 while he was writing his ‘Concerto for Five String Banjo’. This was first performed by the Boston Pops orchestra under Arthur Fiedler.

From the late 1930’s into the 1960’s, Earl Robinson composed a number of well known, largely topical pieces including ‘Joe Hill’ ‘Ballad for Americans’, ‘Black and White’ and ‘Lonesome Train’, performed by many top artists. His work took him into Hollywood, but as a member of the Communist Party, he was blacklisted during the 1940’s and 1950’s and took work teaching high school. In 1991 he died at age 81 in Seattle, Washington.

This historic Vega Pete Seeger was built during 1966 in Boston, and is in excellent working order. In 2009, it was restored by The Twelfth Fret Repair Shop at the request of Robinson’s family. An appraisal and history by Grant MacNeill is included.

The Vega Pete Seeger Longneck banjo was built from 1958 to 1970, following Seeger’s influence on the popularity of the banjo and his need to play in lower keys without retuning.

In 1944, Seeger had John D’Angelico modify the neck of his Vega Whyte Laydie banjo, removing the head and adding a two-fret extension. This allowed performance of songs in C – which were a bit high for Seeger’s voice – in B Flat. Getting back to ‘Standard’ tuning just required a capo at the second fret. That particular banjo was stolen in 1949, and subsequent replacements added another fret, allowing G tuning being dropped to E.

This arrangement worked well, and for 1958 the Vega company of Boston Massachusetts contacted Seeger for permission to use his name on a banjo – the Vega Pete Seeger Longneck model. These sold fairly well and eventually, they sent him one.

The Vega company’s fortunes were tied fairly closely to the banjo, and as the folk boom faded and guitar amps got louder, the company declined. In 1970, its name was purchased by the C F Martin company, who continued to make Vega banjos, but at Seeger’s request, without his name. In 1989, Greg Deering purchased the Vega trademarks.

Price: $5,250.00 CAD
  • Model: Pete Seeger Longneck
  • Year: 1966
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: A102313, built during 1966 in Boston MA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 15/12/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.92lbs 3.6kg
  • Scale Length: 32in 812.8mm
  • Nut Width: 1.188in 29.93mm
Vega Website

Contact The Twelfth Fret Regarding This Item


Guitarists’ Pro Shop
2132 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, Ontario  M4C 1J9 CANADA
○ Sales: +416•423•2132
○ Service: +416•423•1554