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Pete Seeger longneck banjo



Vega (used, 1967) Pete Seeger Long-Neck 5-String Open Back Banjo

Tag No 39-2558 Used


#A127336, in excellent condition with original hard shell case.

 This banjo is cleaner than most – the sunburst finish on the back of the three piece maple and possibly walnut (stripe) neck is largely un-faded and only minimally worn.  That wear takes the form of noticeable capo marks (horizontal impressions) in the back of the neck up to around the 8th fret, and other small nicks and dings on the neck, edges of the headstock, and on the stained maple rim (inside and out) but, to repeat, the overall banjo is in far cleaner condition than many we have seen.   It retains, for example, its original “Vegalon Weatherproof” logo Mylar head, frosted on the outside and translucent on the inside – and the head doesn’t show the extent of finger oils that most original heads do. It has its five original Grover “Pat. Pend. U.S.A.” legend tuners including four geared guitar tuners on the headstock and one matching non-geared Grover chrome plated tuner at the fifth string extension.   The black ebony fingerboard has 24 frets; the fifth string on this model doesn’t flare out from the four string portion of the neck until the 7th fret.   It comes with a sliding fifth string capo on the bass side of the fingerboard – its last owner says it came from the Vega factory this way --   perhaps it was special ordered with the feature, perhaps it was added -- but, the good news is that it has a sliding fifth string capo which can come in handy when playing in higher keys. 


If you would like to read our extensive discussion of the history of the Vega Pete Seeger model long neck 5-string banjo please click this link:


This banjo has the twin nickel-plated adjustable coordinator rods, the 24 nickel-plated brackets, the 24 large Phillips head screws and washers on the inside of the rim that hold the 24 shoes in place; it has the 31 hole Tubaphone tone ring that sets this model apart when it comes to tone and timber.   The 11” diameter head shows a small amount of skin oils but is, again, cleaner than most.  The banjo is equipped with a Gibson style chrome-plated armrest and a flip-open unsigned five-string chrome-plated tailpiece, both of which we’re going to state appear original.  The ivoroid bound ebony fingerboard hosts 10 mother of pearl dotmarkers in 7 fret positions.  The headstock is uniquely scalloped with a large central point facing to the heavens at the top; below that is the “VEGA” name in mother of pearl block letters; below that is a five-pointed star and below that is a plastic spear-point truss rod cover held in place held in place by three screws – to make sure that it doesn’t get up in the middle of the night and run off with the sliding fifth string capo for an evening of flirty frivolity.   The nickel plating on the pot shows normal light dullness from time and exposure to the atmosphere.   


On the interior of the rim is the standard yellow rectangular label that reads “The VEGA Co., Boston 15, Mass. Patented U.S.A.; No. A-127336, Model ‘Pete Seeger’” [the model name is hand-written but not in Pete’s own hand –it was done by a Vega employee].  Then it says:  “To remove neck:  Loosen large nut and rod nuts.  Do not change small socket screws in rim as these are set for proper string action.”   We’d just like to say “Kids, do not try this at home.  Leave the adjustment of this banjo to an experienced banjo repairperson.  We will have set it up to perfection.”    On the inside of the case pocket are some picks, capos, bracket wrench and instructional materials left there by the banjo’s original owner and these are shown in an accompanying photo on our website listing for this piece.    


With this banjo you can own a piece of folk history.  This instrument was the weapon of choice for The Kingston Trio, Bob Gibson, of course for Pete Seeger, and for many of the acoustic folk groups of the 1960s.    Stan’s old friend, Erik Darling, is shown with his long neck banjo hanging from a stop sign on the cover of his first (self-titled) album released on Elektra Records in the late 1950s.  Almost no other fretted instrument visually defines The Folk Revival as does a Vega Long Neck Pete Seeger banjo.    And now, this remarkably clean example can be yours.  Our Discount Price is $4,382. and Our Cash Discount Price is $4,250  *Presently on hold*

Our Discount Price is $4,382.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $4,250.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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Vega (used, 1963) Pete Seeger long neck banjo

Tag No 39-1850 Used





#A102140, in very good condition with newer black hard shell case.

This banjo, following our professional set-up, will be in very good condition.  It has a red interior, black exterior hard shell excellent condition form-fitting case that looks old but is probably newer than the instrument.   The Vega Pete Seeger model is a legendary instrument for which there really is no precise substitute (other perhaps than a new Vega Long Neck by Deering – but we’re referring to “from the original folk revival period” if you wish to revel in that early 1960s Folk Era mood.   An excellent and comprehensive discussion of this model banjo can be found at this link:

In it, the author, Pete Curry, begins with a published conversation with Pete Seeger on how this instrument was first developed.  He prefaces the Pete part by saying:  “The Vega Pete Seeger model 5-string banjo came into being during the 1950s as a result of requests that the Vega Company received for an extended-neck banjo like the one Pete Seeger played. As Seeger explains in his book, The Incompleat Folksinger: ‘Well, it was like this. It was payola. About four or five years ago the Vega banjo company of Boston called me to say they'd received several requests to make banjos with especially long necks (an idea I got in 1942 when trying to play "Viva La Qunice Brigada" in the C minor position [i.e. first position, C tuning], which was a bit too high to sing).   Vega asked, “Could we officially call it 'the Pete Seeger Model'?"   "It would be an honor," says I.’”    Anybody with serious interest in this model banjo must read that article – the author covers just about any question one can think of to ask.     Take, for example, these quotes:

“As of this writing I have been unable to determine exactly when the first official ‘Vega Pete Seeger’ models were produced. But we have some clues.  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.  In a letter he wrote to Mandolin Brothers, Dave Guard says he purchased his "Pete Seeger model Vega banjo 99836 brand new in 1959" Author William J. Bush says in his June 1984 Frets Magazine cover story about the Kingston Trio that Dave purchased this instrument in "late 1958." And while not stating his source, author Neil Rosenberg says in his book "Bluegrass--A History" that the Vega Pete Seeger model was introduced in 1958.”   “The earliest Vega catalog featuring the Pete Seeger model that I have is dated Feb. 1, 1960. According to this catalog, this model was fitted with a "5 Star calfskin head." However, it goes on to say: "Plastic head optional at same price if desired." 

Curry discusses nearly every aspect, including tone ring, coordinator rods, neck finish, tuners, other hardware, logo inlays, serial numbering, Vega prices and how many banjos Vega made in this time period.    Yes, of course we consider ourselves incorrigible banjo nerds, but we love this stuff.   

This banjo’s headstock is the traditional multi-cut that comes to a point at the center top, and has the “V E G A” logo in individual block letters with a single star inlaid below.  The original black plastic truss rod cover is spear-point in shape and held by three screws; the ebony fingerboard that’s inlaid with 10 mother of pearl dotmarkers is bound in crème ivoroid on two sides.  It has four unsigned geared tuners on its headstock with grained ivoroid buttons, and its original friction fifth string tuner with the same button.  The back of the neck is maple on the extremes with a center laminate (for strength) of what might be walnut or pearwood – and shows normal hand wear; the original nut is bone; the heel cap is apparently ebony but it is chipped; there are chips in the sunburst finish at the heel of the neck, especially near the body joint, on the headstock at around the heel cap and in other places as well.  The frets appear to be low and flat and the ebony fretboard shows some finger erosion, yet it plays beautifully and sounds marvelous.   The flip-open tailpiece and armrest appear to be original, although there is arm wear on the latter.

The plated metal parts (stretcher band, tone ring and bracket band) show cloudiness –we will clean it, but it will not be completely removed.  The original Mylar “Vegalon” head is dirty from skin oils and pinky contact but it remains intact.  This banjo has the one large aluminum coordinator rod and the smaller threaded rod ahead of it.  The 11” diameter 34-hole Tu-Ba-Phone tone ring that resides inside works like a charm, and most importantly it retains it’s long, rectangular yellow interior label (inside the rim) that states “The Vega Co., Boston 16, Mass, Patented U.S.A., No. A-102140, Model (hand-written but faded) ‘Pete Seeger’.”  “To remove neck:  loosen large nut and rod nuts. Do not change socket screws in rim as these are set for proper string action.” 

We present to you an original example of a Vega Pete Seeger long neck banjo from 1963, with a proper but newer hard shell case, that has been set-up and made ready for another 50 years of professional use (“Join me kids!”) in the hands of an inveterate folkie, Peter Seegerite, or Kingston Trio Re-Enactor.   

Please call or email for more information..

This instrument cannot be purchased online at this time. Please call or email for more information, or submit a purchase inquiry now by clicking the button below.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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  Vega Long Neck 5-String Banjo

Vega Long Neck 5-String Banjo
Vega Long Neck 5-string banjo

List Price: $5,039.00
Our Price: $3,995.00
You save $1,044.00!

Availability:: Usually Ships in 24 to 72 Hours
Product Code: 1881

Newly reissued from the Deering Banjo Company!  Made in USA.

Pete Seeger invented the long neck banjo when he decided to have a luthier cut his neck and insert 3 additional frets into the length of it. Instead of tuning the newly revised banjo in G, he was able to tune it to an E (Tuned E,B,E,G#,B) which allowed him to sing in that lower key. A capo can be put on at the third fret and the banjo can be played in standard G tuning. With 3 extra frets, this low tuned (E) banjo not only sounds beautiful as a solo instrument, but it accompanies the voice with a deep, full and sparkling sound. The Vega Long Neck is made with Deering's hand made, classic Tubaphone tone-ring. The solid brass bracket band is hand fitted to the violin grade three-ply rim. This pot design gives the Vega Long Neck Banjo a round full tone that sustains with a pure and clear sparkle.

Whether you want to re-create the folk music of the 1960's or musically travel into unexplored banjo territory or simply have a superb instrument to accompany vocals, the Vega Long Neck banjo will provide the versatile, sweet, beautiful banjo voice that has inspired generations of singers and players with its sparkling, deep and full sound; This banjo is one of the true classics of the 20th century and the new millennium.

Note: Our banjos are individually inspected, set up and tuned by the staff in Georgia.  We are banjo players, so we set them up the way we want to play them!  Each banjo is in tune when we carefully pack it for shipment.  Climate conditions and travel will affect the tuning, so it may need to be fine-tuned before playing.
  • Neck:
  • Walnut Stained Maple
  • Traditional Vega Neck Shape
  • Adjustable Truss Rod
  • 25 Glued in Nickel Silver Frets
  • Natural Ebony Fingerboard
  • Ivoroid Binding
  • Bone Nut
  • High Gloss Finish
  • Pot:
  • 3-ply Violin Grade Maple Rim
  • Genuine Vega Tubaphone Tone Ring
  • Brass Bracket Band & Shoes
  • Deering Brass Notched Tension Hoop
  • Frosted Top Medium Crown Head
  • 24 Round Hooks and 5/16” hex nuts
  • Nickel Plated Hardware
  • Includes a Deering Long Neck Hardshell Case
  • Tone:
  • Deep, balanced, full, round and sparkling tone with responsiveness, and power.
  • Tuned:
  • E,B,E,G#,B in standard E tuning Can be Capoed at 3rd fret for G tuning
  • Can easily be tuned in other tunings as well.
  • Dimensions:
  • Neck Width at the Nut 1 1/4”
  • Scale Length Nut to Bridge 32 7/64”
  • Diameter 12”
  • Overall Instrument Length 43 1/2”
  • Warranty:
  • The trust and pride Deering shares in their product gives them the confidence to grant every owner of a Deering banjo a Lifetime Warranty ensuring the quality of our materials and workmanship

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