Retrofret Stock # 4225. Vega "Whyte Laydie" Special Model 5 String Banjo (1930), made in Boston, Mass., serial # 93164, natural varnish finish, laminated maple rim, laminated maple neck with Macassar ebony fingerboard. An interesting and very late example of an original pre-war Vega Whyte Laydie, one of the ultimate in old-time banjos. By 1930 Vega was making very few 5-string banjos, and even the tenor and plectrum business was in a tailspin from the effects of the Depression. By this point the venerable Whyte Laydie was offered only in this one fairly plain style, with a removable pie-section resonator at $100.00 and without at $80.00. This banjo has an over-stamped serial # on the dowel to match the rim; we can't be sure this is factory original but older-style Vega 5's from this particular time often have odd mixes of features and parts, as if they were assembled from whatever was available (which is highly likely!). The laminated maple neck has a bound fingerboard with dot and single star inlay, with an engraved Vega-logo pearl star on the headstock. The tailpiece is an original No-Knot and the tuners are newer planets, with an older non-geared 5th string shaft. There appears to have been a resonator mounted at some point; the faint marks are visible on the heel and dowel. The sound is typically Vega, crisp but with the depth and character always associated with these instruments. A very fine playing banjo for the frailer and old-time banjo stylist.Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 27 in. (686 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.). Neck very lightly over-finished in varnish; rim appears original. Dowel has been set back slightly in rim; all hardware (except tuners and possibly tailpiece mounting shoe) appears original. Set up with an older skin head and steel strings; a very good player. Generally Very Good + Condition.
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