1910 Vega Whyte Laydie 5-String Openback banjo

Talk about your beautiful banjos, right?

This Vega was owned by the owner's granfather who got it new. It then lived with him happily for quite a while. It's completely original save for (period) replacement pegs, a 1920-installed skin head, and various replacement (period) bridges that it wears in different seasons. The one I fit is an old 1910s-era Grover 2-foot.

The owner keeps it strung with nylon per the suggestion of Abigail Washburn herself -- thanks for that! -- and I've restrung it with Nylgut (all plain set) after a level/dress of the frets and a bit of glorified setup work. It's now playing spot-on, feels great, and sounds the business.

Did I mention the original case...? ...with its MIT banjo band sticker on the outside that's mostly rubbed-off? Such lovely history, there...

Like most Vega 5-strings, it has a 27" scale which is fairly long for modern tastes, but imparts a nice "snap" to the sound that you don't get from other brands. The engraving in the pearl work is gorgeous, of course, and when you have one of these in hand you understand why so many folks copycat these instruments. They feel lush and steady.