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Thread: Vega CB's and Volume

  1. #1

    Default Vega CB's and Volume

    Reading the forum posts, and Googling the topic, seems people have mixed feelings about the volume the Vega CB is able to put out. Some say they have good volume, others report less so. I get the impression that it varies a good deal from individual CB to CB.

    Do any Vega CB owners here have any impressions for volume and/or projection of the instrument? I play in a Celtic session group, all acoustic traditional instruments, none super loud. The loudest would be the wooden flutes and fiddles.

    I ask because I am driving to see several in 2 weeks, and the drive is over 3 hours. But it's not worth the trip if the instrument cannot be heard in a traditional music, all acoustic session.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    I had one way back decades ago, in fact it was a 202 similar to the one you are considering. I was playing in a 5 piece old time with two fiddlers, one who also played banjo, guitar and bass. We did use a sound system when necessary however I should be clear that with a sounds system you should be able to be heard. The problem I had back then was hearing myself. I ended up trading up for a Gibson and cold hear myself much better than with the Vega CB.

    The ideal would be for you to try this one out with your band and see how it goes. I don't know if that is possible. BTW since this Vega is 3 hours away, do you really have to drive the 6 hours in order to see it? Is the seller (a friend you mention) unwilling to ship it to you to try it out? I do this with people who are not even my friends -- dealers and even rank strangers. Never had a problem with postal or carrier services. Unless it is different in Canada?
    Jim

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    I have played several over the years, and own a maple one. I don’t think of them as particularly quiet. Perhaps louder, or more focused or cutting in general, than most Martin cant-top instruments? I once heard a mahogany one played by a BG picker that cut through nicely, I think as well as most Gibson oval A models would have if not better.
    BradKlein
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    BTW since this Vega is 3 hours away, do you really have to drive the 6 hours in order to see it? Is the seller (a friend you mention) unwilling to ship it to you to try it out? I do this with people who are not even my friends -- dealers and even rank strangers. Never had a problem with postal or carrier services. Unless it is different in Canada?
    I want to see and try all three. I am hoping one might work out. I really like the Vegas in concept. So I figured if some were louder, others quieter, then at least one should be good. And at $60 to ship one one way, It's more than worth driving there if there is even a fair chance one might work.

    He's told me the 207 (maple back) is the loudest, but not quite as loud as his snakehead. Next up for volume is the 202 (mahogany). The quietist of the 3, he said, is the one with a rosewood back.

  5. #5
    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    I have only owned one CB (and currently still have it) a 1916 204 with a rosewood body. Its plenty loud, and is my go-to mandolin for irish session playing. It also has quite a bit of bottom end, as some participants have remarked it almost sounds like a mandola. I use regular gauge strings on it. I also have a '27 A4, and an L and H Professional A, but the Vega is louder than any of them.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Seruntine View Post
    Reading the forum posts, and Googling the topic, seems people have mixed feelings about the volume the Vega CB is able to put out. ...
    I'm sorry, I'm confused... Are you referring to CB as Cittern/Bouzouki or CB as Cello Banjo? Vega made both.

    Or are you meaning something else entirely?

    (Yes, this does reveal my ignorance about CBOMs. )
    -- Don

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  7. #7
    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    It was understanding from the thread that we were discussing Vega " cylinder back"
    mandolins, hence the CB shorthand.

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  9. #8

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by zookster View Post
    I have only owned one CB (and currently still have it) a 1916 204 with a rosewood body. Its plenty loud, and is my go-to mandolin for irish session playing. It also has quite a bit of bottom end, as some participants have remarked it almost sounds like a mandola. I use regular gauge strings on it. I also have a '27 A4, and an L and H Professional A, but the Vega is louder than any of them.
    I love rosewood as a side and back. It always seems to produce rich tone with a good spruce top.

  10. #9
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Don't want to burst your bubble, but...

    I have a maple-backed CB that I adore playing in my nice woody basement. Beautiful tone. I take it to a Celtic session w/4 fiddles, two mandolins, guitar, cittern, etc. The sound I got from mine sounded tinny and weak. Next week I take a Gibson A-2 snakehead and get an entirely different sound. Loud, piercing, and I can really lay into it as hard as I want without breaking it down.

    Horses for courses...
    Jim Sims

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Does anybody currently make a modern CB mandolin?

  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpost View Post
    Does anybody currently make a modern CB mandolin?
    I believe that Peter Langdell at Rigel Instruments has made at least one custom cylinder back mandolin. Considering the amlount of work required to make one, I believe that he charges considerably more than a vintage Vega would cost. OTOH I think he carved the back cylinder vs. steam-pressed it like I believe that Vega did.

    I don't see any reference to a Vega copy, tho, on his site. Maybe I was just dreaming it. I know he made at least one Lyon & Healy copy.
    Jim

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    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

  13. #12

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpost View Post
    Does anybody currently make a modern CB mandolin?
    A new cylinder back would be considerably more expensive than a vintage one, if made to the same quality.
    BradKlein
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  14. #13

    Default Re: Vega CB's and Volume

    Thanks for the info. I had brief custody of a Vega Mandolin with this design but was tasked with selling it. I am now interested in taking up the Mandolin and this style appeals to me but I would like a newer instrument, at least until I become more knowledgable about maintenance and find a style I like. But I guess this style won't be it.

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