1960s Vega FT-90 000-Size Flattop Guitar

I worked on one of these years ago, but this one has the very cool extra of having a '50s-style Vega celluloid pickguard extant, too. At the point this was made, Vega had stopped making guitar bodies in-house and so they were getting bodies for their electric and acoustic archtops and flattops from Harmony. This guitar is a Harmony H1203 Sovereign body with a Vega-made neck, bridge, and pickguard installed. H1203s are a great-sounding model to begin with (especially for fingerpickers), but the higher-quality Vega neck with slightly-shorter 25" scale length give a much more "professional" feel to the instrument.

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, slight widening of the saddle slot, a new compensated bone saddle, and a good setup. It plays with perfect 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret and has a nice, tall saddle. The neck is straight and the truss can adjust a little more if needed. Strings are gauged 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12.

Specs are: 25" scale, 1 13/16" nut width (nice and wide for a fingerpicker), 1 9/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/4" spacing at the bridge, 15 1/8" lower bout, 11 3/8" upper bout, and 3 7/8" depth at the endblock. The board has something like a 12" radius to it and the back of the neck is a medium-depth, round-C profile.

Materials are: solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and bridge, synthetic nut, and bone saddle. Everything is original on the guitar except for the new bone saddle and all of the oversized pearl dots (most were missing so I replaced them).

Wear and tear notes: there's heavy finish-cracking on the neck and the body shows finish weather-check throughout. There's a little handling-wear on the top and the back and sides of the guitar show a number of mild scuffs and scratches. There are no cracks, however, and structurally the guitar is in excellent condition.

It's pretty cute how Vega cut-out their pickguard to fit around the bridge.

As you can see, there's no lack of saddle to come down if need-be.

The guitar comes with a period, presumably-original, hard case.


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