In memory of Walter Scott,
always in search for the Truths on Fairbanks Vega.
Any real facts other than the excerpts from other experts, that i am about to list, would be greatly appreciated.
It may well be a turning point in banjo history,and needs further research.
ALTHOUGH THIS HAS NO NAME SHOWING, THIS IS A 17-FRET TENOR BANJO MADE BY SCHMICK OF CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY (ca. 1920) SCHMICK'S NECKS HOWEVER APPEAR TO MADE AT VEGA CO. IN BOSTON, AND THE RIM IS SCHMICK'S IDEA. NOTICE IT PRE-DATES THE VEGA CO. "VEGA-VOX" MODELS OF LATER YEARS. IT HAS A MAPLE NECK AND RESONATOR
I have already sanded it down,and
sealed those cracks.
Its an inherent issue,as my other, that Don Wiseman owns now, has them too.
I am hoping the other tenor an five strings are OK, but its no big deal.
If they get too dry, this will happen.
Neck has dowel, and two screws hold it thru resonator,as shown
Signed in 1926, by a ___ Harper. it appears.
3 ply rolled rim, maple, with
outside head bearing
Heavy metal lower flange thats thru threaded.
Very simple and very effective.
No tension nuts needed.
Nice inlays, on Vega style peghead.
2 holes must be filled.
Guess it was on a wall somewhere.
Friction tuners, it will stay.
Rim is about 11/2" deep
Tension hoop is heavy !
With the lower flange and hoop, and head bearing, it weighs out over 2 lbs.
Its got a 9" head
More Luthier graffiti
A true "Flange"
Held onto rim underside, with 3 screws
All Hardware polished
See how dirty head is?
First head sanding, with 320
Calfskin can be sanded easily, no different than using the ol "loofah" on the wifes scaly back!
Take the dead layer off,and most of the dirt too.
Ill sand it once more with 600, then burnish it with 1200
Looks so "spartan"
I love the simple designs.
Bolts glided into the flange, perfect alignment
much cleaner and smoother as well.
Just a quick look, then back out
Man thats what i call simple.
Just like in cars, the later on ones had way more parts.
Put some real expensive jewels over the holes!
Will do the same on the backside soon.
Nice fresh bindings
All lacquered up...lets Ride!
That hole in the top of the dowel,
is where one of the tension bolts goes into it, for securing the rim into
You push down of the rim to make the bolt slide down into it.
On the front,a set screw comes in, pushing against it.
Its kinda neat, and works very well.
I bound the front of the board,and will add side dots..someday.
The Emerson Power Bridge, once
again at work.
They are very good on skin heads
I do not call this restored,
but well freshened up,and big issues dealt with.
I used no stain, and only clear lacquer, so that future refinishes will be a simple affair.
But I have it where I want it to be for now, and its a playable instrument again,and preserved for many more years, even at this level of restoration.
Thats 7 coats of new lacquer, to protect it.
Left to Right:
Tyler Jackson's, Mine, Don Wiseman's
And Tyler's Vox 3 in the foreground
Sticker in resonator
Well, it came in, with many small
issues, so I dealt with it, and put a little fancier paint on her, and
she looks good to me.
I like the tone,and its a 10" head diameter as well.
Its definitely the fanciest Lyric I have had as of yet, but has inlays on the fingerboard that are non original, and very poorly done.
But headstock overlay is original,and bound, and looks real nice.
Inlays should be left to those who can do em!
Pics of Don Wiseman's Six String
Don got this banjitar, in very poor condition
I got it all sealed back up,and leveled the frets to match the twist in the neck, reset the rim assembly, to where it belonged, cleaned it up, new nut,Strings and bridge,and threw some lacquer at it, to seal the wood.
Not a full restoration, only making it playable,and playable it is.
Even on a fairly low action, it sounds OK.
Better than I thought, as far as tone goes.
I'll take some outside pics of them all together
Stains cleaned up almost all the way
Pretty cool aftermarket tailpiece, that works just fine
Same rim dia (10") as the 5 stringer
The 4 stringers are 9"
I have heard that they made a plectrum,and a banjolin as well, so if you see one, holler.
I had to put the case in there, as the 4 stringer is the only one that came with one, thats original.