Smithsonian Collections

Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo

Image 1 for Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo
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Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of American History
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.
Currently not on view
Vega Company
Date Made
ca 1922
Credit Line
Gift of Adam Gallan
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