Vega Little Wonder Guitar Banjo 1926 |
Vega Little Wonder Guitar Banjo 1926 | $1350 |
Through the era of musical instrument production when banjo reigned king, companies produced scads of five, and later, four string banjos. As banjo popularity waned, many banjo makers began to offer a six-string 'banjo guitar' to attract guitar players to the instrument. The Little Wonder guitar banjo was Vegas contribution, and it has remained a popular and dependable instrument for many decades.
This example was made in the Vega factory in Boston, Mass., in 1926 based on the serial number stamped on the stick and hoop (71865). The hoop is a maple laminate, with a natural varnish finish and bound on the bottom with faux tortoise and black paint. The neck is laminated maple with an ebony fingerboard. The heel cap and headstock overlay appear to be black-painted walnut. The friction tuners are original.
The pot is the larger of those offered by Vega and measures 11 13/15" with a replacement Rogers head of some age. Scale length is 25 1/8". The neck is a comfortable 'C' shape, and measures 1 3/4" at the nut, and 2 1/8" across at the bridge/saddle.
Evident repairs/changes are the head and bridge. Also, it appears that years ago a prior owner switched the first three and last three frets, hence the 'short' frets at the end of the board .. likely because of playing wear. Two shoes/brackets are missing in the rim. There is some finish wear on the back of the neck due to play wear. Overall, the banjo guitar presents well but shows its age through patina and some scruff on the finish, and a hint of oxidation on some of the metal parts. Not all the hook hardware matches. With some spit and polish it would likely clean up.
Action is set at 5/64" at the high 'E' string and the the instrument plays easily and comfortably. The Little Wonder is popular for a reason, and this one fits the bill for old time or ragtime music. Comes with its original, if not rustic, hard case.
Be sure to check the sound clip!