Style X# 9 Vega Tenor
Restore to customers specifications

Nice example of X9 with some older repairs and resto work, that included plating.
Plating is fair to Average and 2 colors

Board is good, needs dressing, new frets, new binding, side markers, refinish

Normal buckle rash needs refinish

Resonator is dimpled in the center, needs heating and pulled back out if possible

Modern tuners with MOP buttons

All normal on the inside

Marketed by Wurlitzer


Ready to pull frets, protected the board from chipping around slots

All pulled OK

all old binding removed

Slots repaired where I saw breakage

Darkening inlay

reslotting for 147 wire

Heat press in center for forward warp


Plating is still fair, but rubs off easily, only a light hand cleaning and wax was applied
Rim edge was blackened with Fiebigs oil dye

New REMO Renaissance medium crown head, courtesy of Bedfordbanjoshop.com
When it is a closed ball end Tubaphone, a high crown will work but you will bottom out in the tension nuts before you reach the full life of the head.

The medium will pull down far enough to clear the neck joint. that's what matters

Now to protect it from dust for a while


Here is my jig for pulling the concavity from the pic section resonator
 I use a sidewall from a Gibson banjo for my frame / jig

Then a 3" wood screw and washer, screwed directly to my work bench and a slight pull for now.
The outside edge is tightly held so when I wet it the glue in that area cannot release
All the inside is cleaned of any varnish so it can absorb water

I have 1000 Watts of heat applied at close range, and I am wetting the inside over and over with my sprayer.
It is very hot and steam rises when I spray the wood
I keep pulling the center downward and have reached a point I want to stop and dry it 3 days and remove the pressure to give it a look.
I will glue all the seams before I release  pressure.

I now have a nice dome, that will make for better tone.

Shown on another Tubaphone that's on the bench.


Tint coat

heating inlays to remove for board leveling, 2 Vega's at once

No broken inlay (on one)

Edge fade and clear coats going on resonator
I'll level the neck next while I wait on binding

Adding color to the other Tphone 9, 61000 series (on rt) and BD#2  (Lft)

Planing the neck
That is a metal table  not wood.
Made from industrial fire door

Ready to deepen cavities for inlay, and then rebind with ivoroid binding

Deepening fret slots

Resetting the MOP to level depth

Inlay complete , ready to bind

Adding markers

Compression fretting with 147 Stewmac Wire

Heel cap popped off while hammering in over the heel a common occurrence
Its either the whole cap, or just the inlay, its a toss up!

Sealing the frets first, #10 Stewmac

Heel back on in quick time

Ready to   level, recrown, end dressing and polish

Board ready for oiling one final time, then some new finish

Finish stripped and sealed with Mohawk
Overlays blackened with Fiebig's

I will add a little vintage amber to make a more golden center, only a little.

That's all the clear on the back for now, I will fix the inside

These are dams made from teflon strips, Im recycling them from fretwork and they are perfect for stopping the glue on resonator rim repair, and nothing sticks to them

I will go all the way around fixing the breakage

All repaired and sanded flat

Glue was scraped from the seam repairs on the inside pie sections.
All the top is dyed with Fiebigs and sides are scuffed, ready for final clear coats inside and out

Possible Elevation Issues

I have the neck attached and the angle is VG
But the neck set itself is SUPER low, much too low, even for factory standard, and I feel something needs to be done.

This is with head at full tension
 Tension hoop is already below the plane of the tone ring and even with the neck, easily seen here
Tone ring is 3/32" above plane of neck.
This is a perfect example of why Vegaphone (And a multitude of others) play "Slappy" down the neck when you are having to dig into them .
The neckset must at LEAST be level with playing surface, if not 1/16 elevated

This banjo needs to show 3/32 of fingerboard over the hoop to give it 1/16 elevation over the head at the heel.
This way when you play from 17-19 fret, you can bear down and get power and cut, without all that slap.


Cutting out the mortise

Cutting down the heel cap


Neck is now rising, I have to trim the heel where the head is touching

This much will allow a medium crown head to be the next selection when this high crown head is worn out.

Pushed up to the top

This is the original piece I cut from the top

Now at full elevation
I do not need to cut the front of the dowel, I have a good angle
The high crown head is now pulled tight and it is at the bottom of the notch
When a new medium crown is installed it will not bottom as the high crown.


Tuned to pitch and playing very well
GHS strings courtesy of www.bedfordbanjoshop.com

I used another attachment and part of the original
What was on it was not good, the U bolt did not fit the top piece

Good action on 9/16 Farquhar
Fingerboard  is MUCH more level now.

Final wetsanding on resonator

Buffing with 2 compounds

Waxed, ready to install

new felt strip

NOT TOO TIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!  :)

MOP buttons buffed to high shine

It has settled in and I have done final adjustments
There always has to be a stopping point, T Bone can take it from here

Proper paperwork with invoice going in the case

I want no movement , protecting resonator lip.
It got broken a little on the way here and i fixed it

More paperwork for the outside of the box.