19 fret custom banjo
Yet another Barry / Vinnie project

Late Model Vega Vox 11" rim ,by FQMS
 Inlaid "Eagle" resonator
NOS Vega "Ultravox 5" Resonator Side Overlay
from  Dave Saleh
Neck is from Tyler Jackson's 56 Vox 3 tenor
Custom Vega#9 fingerboard (Being created)
Gold plating by Barry Grant
Engraved Flanges by Steve Caddick

Banjo as it was when Dave owned it.
We got it with no neck, and the sidewall still white
He did a great job, installing it.

Now, to create another crazy tenor banjo for my even crazier friend Barry Grant.(On the Stromberg)

Dave had gotten this very late model Vox, and had a nice rim made for it at First quality, and then he stuck a NOS Vega Ultravox 5 side binding on, just like the other one we put on BG's other Vox 3, which has a Riverboat scene on the back, and I painted up the side bindings to give it flash for his casino playouts.

After Dissasembly

Here I am trying to burn the fingerboard off of Tyler's old Vox 3 neck, since he got another one while he was here.

Starting to give way

This is as far as I can get it up, and I have hit a snag.Glue will not release, no matter how hot it gets
So it will come off in pieces, not one piece.

I did manage to save all but one of the old inlays, and that one was no good anyway. 
All of the hardware ,and the engraved flanges has been sent off to be replated, at BGPS, so I will continue on with the neckwork for now.

  Resonator finish

I am using a "Golden Oak", for my base coat, as I am trying to match that light wood, on the backside.
I have left it light in the middle, for highlighting.
Kinda "Vox like" that way

Now I will start the detail painting, and after that, it will all be coated in clear.
The transparent tinted lacquer, was thin enough to not hide the detail line on this one, which in the end, should look very nice.

Here, I am injecting a small amount of glue, under some veneer on the edge, that has a little bubble in it.
I will press it flat until the glue kicks.

I have begun the detail painting, and will do all of the leaves first.
That green s a little darker, than the pic shows

Adding a second coat, before I move to another color

Here we are, a little further along

Coming on around the horn

Here I have removed the dowelstick, since this neck wll be on Co rods from here on out, and I have placed it on my "wall of fame"
#99307 shall live in infamy

Resonator detail completed (whew), and first coats of clear going on.

Alright, it is time to stiffen up the "spine" on this baby.
This neck is good and flat, but soft, so I will add a little "rebar", to make sure it stays this way, to the tune of a 3/16" square bar stock, and a cover stick.
Here is my holding device, and a "buck" to go under the neck.

I have lightly super glued to guide sticks, so i can rout out he channel for the rod.

Checking once more, for proper clearances

Clamped to rout.
I will do the clamped area  last

Routing with a carbide router bit, that cus flat on the bottomside.
I am reducing in 1/32 increments

Finishing the other end, by reversing the clamping area

Clean channel, no probs.

Checking the fit of the rod......

........Then the cover stick

Glue in under the rod, and then on the top

Cover stick tapped into place

And clamped for 12 hrs, under light heat.
She should be steady after this operation, for years to come.

Fingerboard arrives!
And splendid work it is.
When a master inlay craftsman, world renown, happens to be a good buddy of yours, it tends to help out projects like these!
This reproduction of a #9 Vega represents well, some of the fineries of pearl engraving, an art that is on the verge of extinction, so for those looking to keep the"old styles" alive, it feels great to be able to take this type of work forward.


As you can see, my pal can hang in there with the best of the best of the engravers of old.
And we even got ol Barry's name in lights, at the 15th, where it should be.
This was my buddy's idea, not mine!
B.Grant already has an ego so big, that it needs no "fueling" !!

Well cut to the chase.........
Shes all glued and clamped, so lets all sit and watch it dry.
Gotta deadline to meet!

Now we know where this neck came from.
Dad gum you Barry!

Now, its starting to look like it is alive once more.
We will get down to the side markers, and frets now.
I am still contemplating the choice of finish for it.

OK,I got the stain I wanted, which is a medium brown center, with some dark walnut edges
I even put the VEGA RACOON effect, around the peghead!

Now for a few dots.

Adding in the side marker pearl dots

I stripped the fqms rim, and dyed it to a closer match.

Pressing in the fret wires

All wire in, ends finished, and I will check level after it is installed on the rim.

The plating and engraved flanges have returned, and rim assembly begins. and I must say that Steve Caddick KNOWS what he is doing, as the gravings are sharp as a tack, and just a welcome addition, to this project.

All assembled.
Flanges were precisely cut, and fit well.
Typical troublesome late model tension bolts, as always, screwy thread, but I didn't break any!
getting better eh BG?

Just a look with the TP and Armrest sitting on it, and the Winged Beauty, that I may "Mount" in the center
When I take outside pics, the gravings will be more visible.

Now, to get the coordinator rods figured out, and the neck will be going on real soon.
It is starting to excite me finally !

Heel lags are set in.
I will be using the Vox coordinator rods

Just a tiny bit of leveling was needed, a good sign.

..And I decided to go with the Klusons.
8:1 is hard to pass up.
Looks more correct as well

All attached very well, with neck set darn near perfect.
Thats just good luck, to get it on the first try.

Tried the 1/2" Farquhar...too low, and I am out of 9/16", so you can get one at the show.
I have an Emerson Power Bridge on it, with perfect action for BG!

I think it may be the loudest Vox I have ever heard!

Neck is arrow straight now.

Ready to head out to Eureka Springs.
I work well under pressure eh?
Now, if only the boss likes it.
And I will see him in Eureka Springs, in 2 days!
No time for outside glam shots.
We will take the final pics with this one in ol BEEGEE"S hands, in Arkansas.
Another hairbrained project nears completion.

Delivery in Eureka

Well, at least he is smiling (weird for a banjo player)
Maybe he will find it playable, besides looking snappy!

Since this pic was taken, she has been out on the Riverboat circuit, and BG finds it to be a good player, albeit a tad heavier than his other RiverVox, but he says it did just fine.
Darned good way to end up, after this kind of a run!