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Thread: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

  1. #1
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    And, to be fair, I haven't. After all, this tenor lute looks nothing like a guitar:

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    I'm interested in Vega stringed instruments in general: guitars, banjos, mandolins and even amplifiers. I've always wanted a cylinder-back mandolin - and I still do - but didn't expect to find one of these rare hybrids. I was worried that the small body would produce a thin, quiet sound, but it's actually louder than many tenor guitars I've played and the low string gives out some pretty strong bass frequencies. This may be in part to the non-original bridge; I've ordered a banjo-style bridge which is more period-correct and I'll see how the sound changes. Aside from the bridge and the tailpiece cover, everything appears to be original. There's a top crack from where the pickguard pulled open the grain and a filled hole in the headstock (probably to attach a strap), but generally it's pretty clean for its age.

    I've been doing a bit of research and came across an article from March of 1926 announcing this particular model, plus a catalog page from (probably) 1928:

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    I'm not sure how long Vega kept producing tenor lutes, but I assume that it wasn't long since so few of them have popped up.

    The body is 12.5" wide; does anyone know if that's the same as Vega's mandolas or mandocellos?
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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  3. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    Looks nice, I love any four string with banjo pegs

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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    Very nice!! What is the scale length??

  5. #4
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    It's a 23" scale.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    The Mound City Blue Blowers used these, although I think at least one of theirs was a plectrum.
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    It's a disease I tell ya! I just got my third. Since September.

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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars


  10. #8
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    I gave it a shot with a banjo bridge. I deliberately went with a 2-foot style to maximize the bass, but not surprisingly, it transmitted a lot less bass than the big guitar-style bridge. The instrument actually sounded quite a lot like a banjo, with a nasal tone on the high strings. I also had a bit of trouble keeping it from sliding around; I now realize that a banjo bridge is held in place partly by string tension and partly because it forms its own dimples in a skin or plastic head. I prefer the sound of the big bridge in the photos, so I've put that back on. It stays in place much better due to friction from the larger footprint.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

  11. #9
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: I said I wasn't going to buy any more tenor guitars

    Here are the Mound City Blue Breakers with two Vegas, one being played by Eddie Condon......


    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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