John Gill's
Vega Tubaphone Guitar Banjo

Read about John here

Initial pics

John wants me to name this machine Gig ready and belting out notes like there is no tomorrow so lets get to it
It is a tired old  60 bracket resonatored Tubaphone, 11-13/16" rim assembly, that has alot of potential once you see thru the patina.

They have alot of projection when a modern setup is placed upon them

It already has geared tuners, that's a start
We will pull those ugly plastic buttons and opt for some nice faux amber plastic buttons

We will "Fancify" the finish in a nice color and sunburst with fades at the heel and headstock
Alot of sweat and body oil has permeated the maple up top and I can only remove so much , we do not wish to lose wood in this area.

I'll go with a Down force 6 string tailing, no the "No Knot" low tension
I plan on a steeper neck angle and a higher bridge to project the tone that will rival  or pass modern GB's
It will have a low action as well, so that it has ease of play.

Lets get it apart

I will most likely overlay this back, and have a nice contrast for the tuners and buttons

Neck is straight flat book matched maple, perfect to build upon but with alot of wear in the first 3 positions

It was a rhythm chunker no doubt, the bindings show just how much wear is on the fingerboard sides but only up here.
I have a battle plan

That is a rolled over wear spot, not from capo
Maybe from "Pull offs"??
Nice and sweaty :)

All is as it should be in here

This band is so tight that I may not remove it and with only that 1/8" wood bead showing on this style rim, I will buff and wax it all together, no refinish.
It is in fine condition, so it will be good to go with normal cleaning

There is some deflection in the rim, the table is flat steel. and that's .050 shim under one side
It is round in the centric however.

All frets to here were refret, these are orig wire

Sealing the dry slots to be recut  after some leveling and before binding

Binding off and some semi aggressive leveling but not enough to take out all of the divots and the inlay.

My "Plan" is to refret and rebind from here, leaving this divoting...but when I add the new binding I will have "Dams" created that I can add filler and fill the low spots and level them before the refret.
I will "Slick the board" by machine buffing it to a high shine and get frets in it
I will use the new "EVO" fret wire

Finish and old stain off the pear wood which is actually a pinkish colored wood.

New dye applied

This is as far as I want to go removing old stains on the peghead and the new fade will hide all that is remaining

A coat of sealer to protect what is done while I prep for frets

Reslotting to depth for new wire

New binding installed

Trimmed to profile and side markers added

Compression fretting with EVO wire

Sealing with thin cyano as I go

Starting to filling the divots, pooling up the cyano onto the binding and scraping flat until I get them all level

All full and level, ready to dye

Fiebig's is the choice for this

Ready to buff the board but first 'Ill add the tints

A nice fade over the stained area by the peghead and onto the heel in a traditional Vega color scheme

Adding some clear coats until I get six

Prepping Resonator for refinish
There is some scarification around the sidewall that I will hide with the fade job instead of removing wood

3 color fade
Now to get some clear coats

The third tint now added to the neck and both taking on clear

Rim assembly cleaned , hardware machine buffed and all is waxed
I see I am out of 11-13/16" heads so I must make an order to Elderly  so I will add finish until it arrives

Heads arrived and I chose the Cloudy 1113 H REMO, the medium crown will not work on older Tubaphone
Gold Tone Downforce tailpiece installed

Neck buffed and polished with Tuners reinstalled

Leveling frets

All leveled and ready to recrown and polish


Oiling board 3 times, then I will buff it

Resonator Buffed and Polished
Ready to string up

I beefed up the bottom of the bridge to gain both height and volume
Im sure some experimentation is in order to find a bridge that would suit it best but this one works well and carries a good tone

The downforce is very good and there is a strong footprint of the bridge into the head

Little Brother is coming right along by it

Now I will let it settle in and tweak it on out.

Its a spicy little number with plenty of bark and a real playable action
Pretty soon Mr. Gill can give it a good wringing out and see if she hauls the mail.
Its a big machine and has it has been a pleasure to work on it with John.
Thanks for looking,

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