Tom's Vega Soloist Conversion


Used 5 string neck
Repair as needed and graft onto new dowel for 10-15/16" Vega Soloist 4 string

Initial Pics

Used neck will require Pegged overlay Inlay, normal repairs and retrofitting

The rosewood fingerboard is good, the neck is level it is a start
Dots are plastic and will be MOP
New Black pegged overlay will have a star and there will be a star at the 5 fret

Remove Dowel

This is a long dowel and is not mounted correctly

Cut , ready to drill out

Indexed, now to forstner it on out

new dowel ready to go

fit ....and proper angle added

gluing on peg head overlay

Going on with inlay additions


Will try to match conversion neck to rim and resonator (Vintage Amber), not the Mission brown refinish that is on the tenor neck

I stripped the old finish and darkened the back of  the peg head to emulate more the Artist style.

First is a light amber wash

Now that is with the fade on both ends and up the sides, like a 40-50s Vega refinish... and a coat of sealer, shown with resonator for contrast. that's closer of a match.
I will fabricate the dowel next ,and set it.
That is a paint stick in it now :)

Making a new dowel

In the topside where no one can see, I stamped an ID into it, this is good if it ever goes missing

Adding marker dots and ran out at the 12th, more on the way!

Board taking on oil, star added at 5

Replacing missing flange plate with pure brass, to match what's on it

All missing hardware replaced neck attached well for the first dry run

Schaller 4:1 modern geared tuners installed, I'll make a new nut and 5th string pip
This peg head was already drilled for Schaller so it was an easy choice.

star geared  5th peg
All matching ivoroid buttons

Next to an open back Whyte Laydie that I am converting at the same time

Now that everything is fitted it will come back apart and take on final marker dots and finish for the neck and a new gold plated Prucha 5 string Presto tailpiece has been ordered for it

Im using 0000 fine wool to take off the shine of the new finish, to better match the old worn finish of the rim

New custom nut, Ebony with Bone inserts


New Presto mounted, I wooled it a bit as well to give it a start on patina

All tuned to pitch and some adjustments being made
Farquhar non inserted bridge makes for nice look and tone

I will let it settle in and do the last bit of tweaking
Action is very good, it should do a good job.

I like to let the Presto ride up above and off the tension hoop when a head is pulled this far
 If you being it down to the hoop, it is too much down force and kills tone

I also like a neckset that is over the plane of the head, not even with.
I've always felt this steals tone from standard Vegaphones.
Also it allows for more than a 1/2 bridge while maintaining a good playing action


The banjo plays with a nice warm tone but is not dull or tubby in any way
The vintage skin head  is doing a fine job.
Now to get it back to Tom so he can get going on his way to mastering the 5 string.
Thanks for watching

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