Fairbanks/Vega Whyte Laydie Style R Conversion 5 String Banjo (1920)

Fairbanks/Vega  Whyte Laydie Style R Conversion 5 String Banjo  (1920)
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Item # 11600
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Fairbanks/Vega Whyte Laydie Style R Conversion Model 5 String Banjo (1920), made in Boscawen, NH, serial # 44339, natural varnish finish, laminated maple neck and rim, ebony fingerboard, tweed hard shell case.

This banjo is a plain but very nicely done Fairbanks/Vega Whyte Laydie 5-string conversion from an original Style R tenor. The modern neck is very well made in the correct style; the clear finish is a bit heavier than 1920 Vega varnish but well done. The rim itself is an original 1920 large-head (just under 12") Whyte Laydie, with the original hooks and nuts, bracket band and Electric style tone ring. The tailpiece is a newer repro no-knot, the tuners geared Planets including the 5th string. This instrument is a fine player with a wonderful tone; absolutely the classic old-time Fairbanks/Vega sound.
Overall length is 37 1/4 in. (94.6 cm.), 11 15/16 in. (30.3 cm.) diameter head, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 26 1/2 in. (673 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.).
This is a great sounding and playing Whyte Laydie large-rim conversion banjo, with a more recent neck and the pot and dowel remaining original except for a modern armrest, tailpiece and head. There is some general wear to the pot overall, with finish rubbed off the bottom of the rim in spots and some plating loss mostly on the hooks. The dowel has some wear marks from old resonator fittings and a couple of small screw holes from some old plate once mounted on it. The newer neck is quite clean and does not look to have been played much, the frets show virtually no wear. There is a hidden truss rod adjusted from the heel.

The banjo is set up with an older Remo plastic head, a bit worn but solid and offers quite a powerful sound for any old-time style. There are railroad spikes in the fretboard at the 7th, 9th and 10th frets. The large nearly 12" head imparts a deeper tone than many similar banjos, a reason this Style R rim is generally considered a prime candidate for this type of conversion to 5-string. It resides in a nice newer tweed HSC. Excellent - Condition.