Fairbanks Little Wonder Mandolin Banjo, made by Vega (1917)

 Fairbanks Little Wonder Mandolin Banjo, made by Vega  (1917)
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Item # 11645
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fairbanks Little Wonder Model Mandolin Banjo, made by Vega (1917), made in Boston, Mass., serial # 36720, natural varnish finish, laminated maple neck and rim, ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a super nice and fairly early example of a Vega Little Wonder 8-string Mandolin Banjo. This plain but sturdily built instrument consists of a 10 3/16" maple pot mounting a short 13 3/4" scale neck, strung with mandolin strings for melody playing "solo or with orchestra." Although one of the less fancy offerings in the 1910s Vega line, the Little Wonder is still a robust high-quality instrument, built to the same standard but lacking the fancier tone rings and bracket band of the expensive White Lady and Tubaphone.

This banjo features a heavy laminated maple rim with a simple sheathed brass wire tone ring and standard brackets mounted thru the rim. The 3-piece laminated maple neck has a dyed wood heelcap and headstock facing, bone nut, and bound ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlay. Although not a fancy instrument this is an excellent player and one of the loudest little banjos you are likely to hear, quite capable of making itself heard in any jug or string band, or even in a jazz/dance combo setting!
Overall length is 24 in. (61 cm.), 10 3/16 in. (25.9 cm.) diameter head, and 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/8 in. (29 mm.).

This is a very nice original piece, showing very little wear for its over 105 years on Earth and still in excellent playing condition. This banjo is completely original including the Vega carved bridge and oft-missing tailpiece cover. The head is the original Jos. Rogers, somewhat dirty with a couple of tiny wormholes but still sounding great. They really don't ten 'em like that anymore.

The instrument shows very little plating or finish wear, just some light divoting to the frets in the lower positions. The neck is in excellent shape, straighter than most with no slippage at the dowel joint. This Little Wonder is a trip back in time; it plays and sounds excellent...or at least exactly as intended. A nice OHSC is included with some period string wrappers in the pocket. Excellent - Condition.