John Mumford's
"Skip De Vol"
Vega Artist 5 sting banjo

Initial pics





I will not be re-installing the electric pickup

Standard ply rim of the day, with brass external shoe band and regular shoes

Everything inside is loose, or knocked loose

Another oddball Vega tone ring, a variant of Little Wonder and Tubaphone
The holes actually go nowhere on this model

Little Wonder style spun over ring

Instead of a tube, there is a solid piece of bar stock rolled up in it

And it bottoms out against the skirt so......just for weight, and the look of the Tubaphone
To me it looks like a banjo company in its death throes
And the stamping is interesting, like this was meant for Vox 3

Just floor sweep parts, made into a banjo, I do it daily but not at a factory level.
I have the production numbers for these transitional years and they are bleak

Typical allen adjusters to get the neck straight

Needham Heights is the first place they went to after closing at Columbus Ave.
Where I come from the "Heights" are never a good place.
Hand marked for the particulars, as is normal


The crack is not repairable, so I must get glue into it and clamp it down
One of the bad things is the truss was so TIGHT, I could barely break it loose and this pulled the neck into a backbow that got even worse after the break.
My work is cut out to make this neck play in a normal fashion

The frets are shot and were leveled to nothing trying to make it play at all, Skip was definitely in a bind on this one come gig time.
I'll bet they thought it couldn't be adjusted out, I have seen several from these years  that take all a truss wrench can give to get them loose.
Banjos slung together by disgruntled factory workers?
We will never know.


All glue injections completed and dry and finish smoothed in the repair area

Pronounced backbow can still be seen

Right up at the 1-2 fret is where it just drops away, look at the black line, easier to see the drop
I can only HOPE..........the neck , with the truss now loosened, will pull up and with a little help from heat, pull at least to level

I will fret the first 5-6 wires, relevel and set this thing up to see how it reacts


Going with REMO 1015L, Milky, no frosting
More of a trad look, with all the brightness of clear.
Replaced all hooksets with matching set
Vega thread are crappy on some of the others and many were nickel oddballs

Rods all cleaned up

Action adjusted, starting with Allen Screws
Do not change these after setting, the rest can be setup on the Rods and topside

New Bone nut.
Frets. top 4 wires replaced and left high but leveled, so that they had altitude to compensate for the drift in the peghead .
Fingerboard cracks sealed, bindings sealed

Strung to pitch and playing well on those frets as well as down the neck on the low leveled frets.

My suggestion is to play it in this fashion, and later down the line replace them all doing a fancy fret job to regain this compensation.
It wound consist of varying height wires, and they would be leveled in a Cascading fashion
Tyler was here today playing on it and it sounded just fine, very BRIGHT, like a Bluegrass banjo.

The neck needs to regain a new memory without all that truss pressure and may lift a little over time and then, it could be fretted and adjusted back out.
If the banjo is planned for serious gigging,  it should be good for a few years as is.

That Hatfield bridge was my setup bridge, I will use a Sullivan Lost Timber Bridge on it unless another is specified, the old one is no longer sufficient for this setup

Sullivan bridge is hard maple with wide top and no inserts

Tailpiece is utilitarian in function and places downforce on each string differently, and works very well for this banjo
Allen head adjusters, recessed and out of the way, strings load easily


This banjo is playable now in spite of its issues
I have added no finish to the repair area, its already worn off here.
If this banjo is like Skip's other banjos, It would require quite a treatment to seal off the Silicone intrusion caused by String cleaners and such.
If that is to be done, it should be when the next fret job is due.

Thanks for watching