Vega (used, 1930) Tubaphone 5-string Open Back

Tag No 32-4144 Used

#90686, in very good plus condition with a newer black tolex-covered hard shell case.

This (probably) previously four-string has had a conversion to 5-string banjo by way of some ecumenical counseling and also the addition of a newer 5-string neck by Providence Guitar & Banjo.   Said legendary banjo and neck maker was formerly of Rhode Island, and they stamped their logo on the back of the newer wood square dowel; we’d have preferred if they had left the original dowel.     Its headstock tuners have large pearloid buttons.   It has a mahogany-ebony-mahogany three-piece neck with an ebony heel cap and a Shubb sliding fifth string capo on the bass side of the fingerboard. 

 

The fifth string peg, with pearloid button is essentially of Kroll design.  Its multi-cut, scalloped and pointy peghead bears an ebony overlay with the word “VEGA” in a bookmatched fern, or perhaps they are twin lizards balancing ferns on their rounded little heads, and a squiggle of pearl at the top that could be an impressionist crown or it could be a frog imbedded in the pavement on the highway of old time instrumental frivolity. There is an acorn facing upward above the nut, then the nut and, at the top of the first fret, an acorn facing down.  On the third fret there is a dot, on the fifth a large 5-point star, and then the rest of the way down are 8 more dots, none of them engraved.  On the original prewar Vega neck they would have been delicately engraved and blackened, but hey, the dots will do just fine.

 

The 28-bracket pot has the nickel-plated bracket band so that the inside of the rim need not be penetrated 28 times by shoes and nuts, just like the sign about “no service” at the Turkish Bath.   The tone ring inside is the revered and ferry tisirable 32-hole bell brass Tu-ba-phone, known the world over for its purity, brassy panache and church-bell-like chiming, clanging, ringing, singing, jingling and jangling that constitutes the sound of a professional quality banjo.

 

This instrument shows normal signs of use and wear including dings, scuffs, scrapes, nicks, scratches, chips and finish checking.  There is an area measuring around 2 ½” in height and 1” in width between frets 12 and 17 where the metal device connected to a strap passed over the finish so many times it eroded the finish right off the wood; there is a very small incipient crack in the veneer that comprises the ebony heel cap, finish worn of the back of the rim, some overspray on the inside of the rim, finish missing where the screw on the internal tensioner was tightened and loosened, wear on the edges of the fretboard, especially near the binding which is crème ivoroid with a layer of black beneath.  There is just the suggestion of normal skin oils on the Remo Weatherking “Made in USA” Mylar head.  

 

If one is seeking access to the induplicable sound of a prewar Vega Tubaphone No. 3 but without having to spend the nearly four thousand dollars required to gain entrance to the emporium of ecstasy-effulgent 5-string euphoria, this would unquestionably be the banjo of choice.

Our Price is $2,065.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
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Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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