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Thread: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

  1. #1
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Default Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Vega mandolins were mentioned by a few folks in this great article. I've always liked the instruments that this Boston company produced, and my friend owns a few of their mandolins, including a couple model 201's.

    Having recently acquired a Vega model 201 from a CafeMember I thought I would share some thoughts.

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    This Vega mandolin was built in 1920, and is a really simple lower-end model, the 201. While everyone seems to know about Vega's wonderful cylinder-backs, few seem to discuss the model 201. 201's feature a flat back, cant-top, and oval soundhole. They are remarkably light compared to other mandolins (almost like a uke).

    Mine has seen playing over the years, but is in decent condition, with a repaired top crack. Otherwise in good shape, it plays perfectly and easily up the neck, sounds warm and wonderful, and seems particularly suited to old rags and blues, as well as choro and classical pieces.

    Being a MA native I feel especially connected to the idea that this instrument was produced in Boston about 92 years ago, and is still around making music.

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    Larry

  2. #2
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Here are a few more pictures of the Vega:

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  4. #3
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    If anyone has any scans of a Vega catalog for 1920 I would be interested to learn more about this model.

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    Otherwise if you're looking for a nice bargain I think the Vega 201 is undervalued for the high-quality, ease of playing, and beautiful tone it produces. You can easily buy a case or a set of tuners for more than the price of this instrument. No, it's not a bluegrass instrument, and is not an archtop. But it is a sweet little gem of a mandolin.

    Larry

  5. #4

    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Nice mando!

    Without a doubt, Vegas compete easily with other higher-end instruments from the time. They may not be the bluegrass staple in tone, but when you compare them to Martin flats & higher-end Lyon & Healy flats, they're quite good instruments. The build quality is really high, too and they tend to be very stable.

    I was recently very tempted by a 20s Vega of similar style to yours but I went with a 40s Martin flat instead because I needed the wider nut.

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  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry S Sherman View Post
    If anyone has any scans of a Vega catalog for 1920 I would be interested to learn more about this model.
    Your wish is my command, sire. I don't know how much info is here but this is from a circa 1920 catalog.

    I am a big fan of Vega instruments. In addition to the cylinder backs (I also have a Vega guitar with cylinder top and back) I really like their bowlbacks as well.
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    Jim

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  8. #6
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    That's great Jim...thanks!

    Very interesting.

    Larry

  9. #7
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    I really like the simple elegance....maybe a nod towards Greek bouzoukis?
    IMHO, much nicer without all those scrolls and pointy bits stuck on the outside .......

  10. #8
    Brentrup Evangelist Larry S Sherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Another nice Cafe member has provided a catalog scan:

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    Larry

  11. #9
    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    I really like the early Vega mandolins. They have a very sweet tone and are well-built instruments. I often find that I prefer the tone of the mahogany to the rosewood examples, actually, despite the latter usually being the "higher grade" models.
    Bob DeVellis

  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Here is a later 1920 sunburst model 201 at Mandolin Brothers. I may get there next weekend and I will report back if I play it.
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    Jim

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  13. #11
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Here is a later 1920 sunburst model 201 at Mandolin Brothers. I may get there next weekend and I will report back if I play it.
    That looks like one nice mandolin.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    love it!

  15. #13
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vega Model 201 - Sweet sounding mandolin

    I bought a Vega bowlback from Jim many years ago, also a sweet sounding instrument. Love Vegas but have never played a flat back like the 201.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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