VEGA
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VEGA
Instruments previously built in Boston, MA between 1881 and 1970, Nazareth, PA between 1971 and the mid-1970s, the Netherlands in the mid- to late 1970s, Japan in the late 1970s, and in Korea between 1979 and the late 1980s.
The predessor company to Vega was founded in 1881 by Swedish immigrant Julius Nelson, C.F. Sunderberg, Mr. Swenson, and several other men. Nelson was the foreman of a 20-odd man workforce (which later rose to 130 employees during the 1920s banjo boom). Nelson, and his brother Carl, gradually bought out the other partners, and incorporated in 1903 as Vega named after a star. In 1904, Vega acquired banjo maker A.C. Fairbanks & Company after Fairbanks suffered a fire, and Fairbank's David L. Day became Vega's general manager.
Vega built banjos under the Bacon trademark, named after popular banjo artist Frederick J. Bacon. Bacon set up his own production facility in Connecticut in 1921, and a year later wooed Day away from Vega to become the vice president in the newly reformed Bacon & Day company. While this company marketed several models of guitars, they had no facility for building them. It is speculated that the Bacon & Day guitars were built by the Regal company of Chicago, Illinois.
In the mid-1920s, Vega began marketing a guitar called the Vegaphone. By the early 1930s, Vega started concentrating more on guitar production, and less on banjo making. Vega debuted its Electrovox electric guitar and amplifier in 1936, and a electric volume control footpedal in 1937. Vega is reported to have built over 40,000 guitars during the 1930s.
In the 1940s, Vega continued to introduce models such as the Duo-Tron and the Supertron, and by 1949 had become both a guitar producer and a guitar wholesaler as it bought bodies built by Harmony. In 1970, the C.F. Martin company aquired Vega primarily for its banjo operations. Martin soon folded Vega's guitar production, and in 1976, Martin applied the Vega trademark to a line of acoustic guitars that were imported from the Netherlands. These guitars were built very poorly and many of them were unable to be sold because of defects. Martin also offered some Vega-branded guitars in Japan during the late 1970s. In 1979, Martin sold the Vega trademark rights to the Galaxy Trading Company in Santa Fe Springs, CA. In 1989, the Deering Banjo Company in Spring Valley, CA purchased the Vega after Galaxy let the Vega trademark lapse. Deering currently uses Vega on a line of banjos. In 1998, Martin commissioned a Deering-produced Vega banjo as part of their Kingston Trio Limited Edition set.
Sources: American Guitars by Tom Wheeler and Martin Guitars: A History by Richard Johnston, Dick Boak, and Mike Longworth.

From Blue Book Publications:


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