Vega Style K Tango/Melody Banjo (1926)

Vega  Style K Tango/Melody Banjo  (1926)

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Item # 4265
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Vega Style K Model Tango/Melody Banjo (1926), made in Boston, Mass., brown varnish finish, laminated mahogany rim; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, soft shell case.

This small Vega is one of the more unusual 1920's banjo configurations -- a 4-string Melody, Mandolin, or Tango Banjo, depending on how one defines those terms. Essentially it is a 10" pot with a short 13" scale neck, the same as the standard 8-string mandolin banjo but with only 4 tuners (this was a Vega catalog option). These were originally intended to be strung with 4 mandolin strings for melody playing ("solo or with orchestra") but equally adaptable to being played in ukulele tuning with either gut or steel strings. In either configuration, it is one loud and sweet-sounding little banjo, and quite capable of making itself heard!

The rim is the standard mahogany Vega Style K, bound with tortoise celluloid on the bottom rim. The neck is mahogany with an unbound ebony board and pearl dot inlay, headstock plain rosewood veneered. Original banjo-style friction tuners with ivoroid buttons. The Style K was a lower grade Fairbanks/Vega but still built to an unsurpassed standard of quality, for the quality-minded but lower budgeted banjoist! The 4-string variant of any mandolin-sized banjo is far rarer than the 8-string version, and more useful to most players! This one includes a period English (John Grey and Sons) shaped soft-shell case which includes an insert with "Helpful hints" for banjo maintenance.
 
Overall length is 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm.), 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm.) diameter head, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 13 in. (330 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

All original; missing tailpiece cover. There is a repair to one corner of the headstock through one tuner, solid but not as neat as we'd like; no other damage or repair, general light play wear. A nice playing example of this fairly rare piece. Very Good + Condition.