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For Sale: Vega DeLuxe 5 String Banjo ORIGINAL
Almost 100 years old! Very rare original five string banjo, a Vega or Vegaphone, #9, “Deluxe” circa 1928..At this time, the rage was Jazz and the tenor banjo and not the venerable old five string whose heyday was in the classic banjo era which was by 1928 fading, making way for big bands needing more of a rhythm instrument. That’s why original five string banjos from this period are hard to find. And, to find one that was top of the line for time is pretty special. The #9 Deluxe was the most expensive model pictured in their catalog at that time at the time for Vega company, one of the highest regarded makers of fine instruments and whose name is still carried on today under the Deering Banjo Co.
In a 1972 article in Esquire magazine and most recently referred to in the wonderful book by Jim Mills, book, Gibson “Mastertone”, Esquire, in its article on collecting musical instruments as investments, was pretty spot on. They gave the Vega Deluxe a two page spread and said it was one of the rarest banjos out there. This banjo came out of the Harry West collection as did the DeLuxe featured in the Esquire article.
Gold plated with some parts engraved. Hand carved heel is even fancier than the regular #9 which is pretty darn profuse. Among savvy collectors and banjo makers, it is agreed that the quality of inlays, engraving and heel carving seen in the Vegas of this period are much better the other brands including the Gibsons.
Fingerboard Scale is 27 in. Neck is straight with no warping or twists.. Fancy engraved mother of pearl inlays in the fingerboard. Head is 10 & 15/16th. Removable resonator and flanges so one can play it as a true open back or not. Inside the rim is capped in the highest quality highly figured abalone shell. Case is a newer hard-shell showing some wear.
* I may consider selling without the resonator and individual flanges.
* A new head is now installed on this banjo
* banjo is apart now being set up.
* The bracket band on Vega DeLuxe Banjos ordered with the individual flanges and removable resonator was NOT engraved because the individual flanges were and covered the bracket band. They didn’t see the need. I’ve chosen to have this bracket band engraved to match the tension hoop and flanges. I did this for my own tastes and on the occasion when I wanted to play it as and open back the bracket bands engraving would be seen. Band is still at the engravers. It will probably not be re-gold plated but remain in its raw brass. More pictures to be uploaded. Texting me is the best way to reach me as I’m not on PC a lot.