Sometimes big things come in small packages -- like this fiesty, tasteful Vega banjo-mando. Serial places it as a 1926 build. It features the "Little Wonder" tone ring, which is essentially half a spunover rim with thicker round ring mounted over a thicker maple rim. Everything is original to it, save one hook, nut, and shoe and the tuners -- which are replacements c.1930 or so, and are (surprise!) Waverlys. Nice touch!
After the usual overhaul: taking it all apart, thorough cleaning, fret polishing, and rebuild and setup, this thing plays great, looks great, and is quite loud without being harsh or overbearing. It has that nice plunky clop-clop sound that banjo-mandos (when setup right) are known for, with the typical Vega clarity (and quality) that is often lacking in lesser instruments.
It's a plain instrument but nonetheless has a grooved tension hoop, MOP dots on an ebony board, and binding along the board. The pot has tortoise binding on its bottom edge, to boot.
Nice extension gives you plenty of notes. That's the original skin head, too!
Typical mando-player's rubber grommets below the tailpiece are a necessity on banjo-mandos, as the super-sensitive head can give really, really ugly overtones via that extra vibrating length when played hard.
This Vega has great "composure" -- it's not bulky or awkward in the lap despite the big rim-to-neck ratio.
...hardware's in great shape.
Maple neck with "skunk stripe" lamination for strength (and class). Note 1930s-style Waverly tuners.
Cool 3-ply heel cap.
Pertinent model info.
Good quality neck brace.
Serial (matches the pot serial, too).
Definitely a great alternative instrument for your mando herd.