A Vega Tubaphone No. 3, in the typical style, but with a Whyte Laydie tone ring that's apparently all original? Yep, and the head is an odd size (11 7/16") and the string scale is also unusual at 27 15/16". What gives? Our Vega experts agree it's highly unusual, but also agree that this same combination has been seen before, but only rarely.

Regardless of its oddities, this is an attractive early version of Vega's Tubaphone No. 3, with a lovely big flowerpot inlay on the headstock and artfully carved heel. The neck is quite straight, original frets are plenty tall, it now has early 5-Star geared tuners for all five strings and it's fully playable. Serial number on the dowel stick matches the number on the interior rim, hooks and nuts are the correct style and while a couple of nuts have newer plating, their shapes all match, However this banjo has seen quite a lot of use so please read the description and check the photos.

Neck has lots of wear to the back and several significant dents, plus the ivoroid binding from the fifth peg to the shell has been replaced. Tailpiece is a replacement. Nickel plating on the tension hoop and bracket band is quite good but shows the usual tarnish and "fogging" of the shine. No sign of the brass underneath, however, so with a couple of hours dedicated to taking this shell apart and plenty of elbow grease (and lots of Simichrome polish) those major metal parts would no doubt look much more impressive. And check out that armrest! Another odd piece to this banjo, but it's an impressive armrest, you have to admit. Comes with a nice TKL Deluxe hardshell case, probably from the 1980s.

If you have questions about this rare Vega banjo, call Gryphon and talk to Frank Ford or Michael Simmons.

stock no. 33941

ModelTubaphone No. 3 (Whyte Laydie TR)
Scale length27 15/16"
Fretboard Materialebony
Neck materialMahogany
Tone ringTubaphone
Total frets22
Serial No29899
Diameter11 7/16"