9/26/2016

1950s Vega E-50 Hollowbody Electric Guitar





Vega guitars are always tres cool, though sometimes their later products (60s, mostly) can be of the questionable sort as they often join Vega necks (good quality) to fancier Harmony bodies (so-so to decent quality). This one appears to be entirely a Vega product and it has an off-kilter all-laminate body design that's a bit thinner and has a flatter-than-normal back. Acoustically it actually sounds pretty good, but of course its best attribute is that it makes a great electric jazz box (though the owner puts it to fingerstyle, country-blues use). It's mostly original though the original pickup was replaced with a neck-mounted humbucker and the bridge and one tuner are replacement parts (all of that was done before I got my hands on it).

I worked on this as a bit of a rush fix because the owner's going on tour this week, from what I gathered. It needed a neck reset as the fretboard extension was ramping-up and the joint was a bit loose. I did that and then gave it a fret level/dress, setup, and tidied-up the electronics and knobs. The owner strings it with something like 54w-12 with a wound G and that sounds great with the jazzy humbucker. It's got a good, smooth, full sound to it.



The nut is bone and 1 11/16" in width. There's a light radius to the board and the scale is 25" on-the-dot. It's got a sort-of Gibson-meets-Martin feel, overall, to the neck profile.


The board is ebony and bound.


The owner said the pickup fix was a bit of a rush (he was on tour at the time) and I suggested that maybe in the future he'd like to put something in or on the top like a P90 or full humbucker for tastiness' sake.


The replacement bridge was well-conceived but needed some dialing-in intonation-wise. It's nice to have plenty of adjustment room post-neck-reset, too.





The figured maple veneer on the back looks pretty good to me.




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