Skip to main content

Smithsonian Institution Collections

Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo

  • Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo
  • Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo
Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Description
This Tu-ba-phone model banjo was made by the Vega Company in Boston, Massachusetts around 1922. It has 28 brackets, a carved mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard with inlaid pearl position marks, and a patented brass top hoop and bracket band over a 7 lap sectional maple hoop. The banjo and is stamped with the serial number 50232.

The Vega Company purchased the A. C. Fairbanks Company in 1904 and produced banjos of high quality largely based on earlier designs of Fairbanks. This Tu-ba-phone model incorporated a heavy “tone ring” originally patented by Fairbanks in 1890, a feature still favored by modern banjo players for the quality of tone it produced.
Location
Currently not on view
Maker
Vega Company
Date Made
1909-1925
ca 1922
Credit Line
Gift of Adam Gallan
Measurements
overall: 37 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; 95.25 cm x 29.21 cm x 6.35 cm
Object Type
banjo