Vegaphone Artist Plectrum

Repair as needed to make playable
Strip and Refinish wood
Buff and lacquer all brass
Clean and wax all plated hardware
Pull inlay and frets, level board
Heat press neck for slight up bow
re-slot for Stew mac 147 fret wire
re-build all bad fret slots
Install new binding with side makers
Re-install inlay
Install new Frets
Install old tailpiece cover on new Gold Presto tailpiece


Wrong neck hardware, that is universal, will find correct hardware
Older closed end nuts, vestige of the open back era, and still bins full of them afterwards.
You must use a head, that when tightened will still have room to age and tighten without bottoming out the nuts.
When a nut feels tight, it may just be bottomed out.
This is why later they opened the tips up.

Dowel is tight and at a good angle, not sure why it was shimmed, as the plane of the neck is fairly straight

Inlay is good but some are loose.
That's OK, they are all coming out for a board level.
Previous fretwork tore some of the slots up, I will repair them

Peg head inlay good
These are transitional banjos, the predecessor was the  Vegaphone #9, which in tenor, was Style X No 9
They do not say Artist in the peghead yet and implement #9 inlay.

As you can see, they carry both the Tubaphone and Vegaphone brands, as well as the Artist

Missing the star, always distressing
I can get a re-pro, but the engraving is never close to original look
I will see if any pals have a conversion neck leftover with one.

I will clean all the metal, some is lacquered brass, some is lightly gold plated, some nickel
Also common on transitional

Soldered the lug back on one of  the resonator centering flanges.
The oldest ones always have the big lugs on them

All the shoes pulled, no breakage on screws

That is just lacquered brass, lacquer is degraded

Steel wool, and then I will buff on machine.


With another Vegaphone plectrum, taking on new finish

Big hardware is cleaned up and buffed
The irony is that nickel tailpiece for the other banjo is also broken.
Its cover will be re-purposed in the same manner

My hands are black from buffing brass

I have never seen a Presto cover riveted on, and they are factory rivets

Ground down and popped from old base, now to get them from cover

Ready to fit
The new one has "nubs" that hold it in pace, not as good a method, but the more common method of retention.

Both parts are fine wooled, to give the new tailpiece a closer look to the old cover

Cleaning the small parts with wool before buffing/lacquering

Preparing to assemble, hardware is buffed lightly so as not to remove the remaining gold, and waxed

The armrest has been lacquered with Nikolas
Head is Remo Renaissance, furnished by


After  heat press and binding removal, frets were pulled
Now for the inlay

Heat press was effective
Ready to rebuild fret slots and level board
Then re-cut the cavities and prep for inlay re-install

The decision was made to negate the purchase or creation of a Star for the peghead reverse, so I have filled the cavity with pear wood dust and hardened it with #10 CA
Now to block it with 220

I repaired the other small divots as well, now for some dye

That is now all dark, the flash makes it look light in the center
When this dries, Ill seal it, then get to work on the fingerboard again.

Filled the cracks in the front, adding some sealer

Dyed the back again, now going on with lacquer (wet)

Teflon dams, #10 CA, re-building slots and small break - outs from prior fret work

Last few break-outs

Now to smooth, and slot to proper depth and reinstall inlay

Inlay re-installed
Installing new bindings

Frets dressed, sice markers installed

Ready to take on final finish coats

Tint added, sealer on (wet)
Resonator going right alongside
Vintage Maple, light Fade

Now for final clear coats



After a day, the banjo is holding its own, neck is nice, right amount of reflief
Frets feel good, plays well with a low action.
Buffing completed on resonator, ready to wax

I will allow it to settle a couple more days, then do final adjustments and get it shipped home.

Thanks for watching