Dating fairbanks banjos


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In an article about Peggy Seeger published in the book "Artists of American Folk Music," the author says: "One of the ideas gleaned from her half-brother [Pete] was that of playing a long-neck banjo. Based on that information alone it is safe to assume that her banjo was not an official Pete Seeger model but an earlier, custom instrument.

The earliest Vega literature I have found that mentions the Pete Seeger model is a company price list dated March 1, 1958, which lists the following available models: "Ranger, Tenor or 5-string; Ranger, special, with heavy notched hoop and gear pegs; Little Wonder, with gear pegs; Professional; Vega-Vox I; Vega-Vox III; Vega-Vox IV; Pete Seeger Model, 5 string, extra long neck, 3 extra frets, no resonator, on special order...295.00" This seems to indicate that the Pete Seeger Model was not a standard production model as of that date.

Similarly, I have seen photos of Peggy Seeger playing a long-neck Vega with the same inlay pattern (eg. Later, however, she switched and acquired the first long-neck Vega Pete Seeger model."Given their peghead shape and inlay pattern, which differ considerably from those commonly associated with the Pete Seeger model, I believe that these were custom and not official "Pete Seeger Model" instruments.

in Pete Seeger's book, "How to Play the 5-String Banjo," Third Edition Revised, 1962, pg. So the question is: Were Bob Gibson's and Peggy Seeger's banjos official "Pete Seeger" models or custom instruments made by Vega before the company secured Pete Seeger's permission to use his name on a long-neck model? (According to Walter Scott, Peggy Seeger's banjo utilized a high-end Tubaphone pot with ornate abalone rim trim.

" magazine, to use as a prize during a subscription drive.) If his recollection is correct, Vega probably started working on the Pete Seeger model in 1955 or 1956.On Bob Gibson's second and third LPs, "I Come For To Sing" and "Carnegie Concert," both released in 1957, the cover photos show him with a long neck Vega open-back banjo with a squared-off peghead, side tuners and "block and dot" inlays on the fingerboard.


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