Vega Company Musical Instruments
Vega Company Musical Instruments are instruments manufactured by the Boston-based manufacturer The Vega Company.
History of Vega Company
The Vega Company Musical Instrument was one of the great musical instrument companies that sprouted in America in the late 1800’s. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, it was founded by brothers Julius and Carl Nelson, who both hailed from Sweden. They also had partners who supported them and this included John Pahn and John Swenson. The Nelson brothers, Pahn and Swenson all used to work for another musical instrument company where they learned the ropes of manufacturing the banjo, guitar, and mandolin.
As the years went by, the Vega company focused mainly on string products such as the guitar, comprising 60% of the business, and the rest was for producing brass instruments.
Growing the Business
Vega was so good at making stringed instruments that they even developed new products, such as 8-string hybrids that were invariably referred to as mandolin-banjos, banjo-mandolins, and even banjolins. Vega advertised these products mainly as ‘banjo mandolins.’ The goal was to get mandolin players to take up the instrument, being a mandolin first rather than a banjo instrument.
Eventually this kind of instrument went by the wayside with the introduction of longer-scale tenor banjos. Still, it was widely considered that mandolin banjos made by Vega are the best if not one of the best in the business.
Vega also manufactured other banjos as well, and focused on the tenor and five-string banjos. The most popular of these instruments are the Whyte Laydie banjo and the Tubaphone line. These were considered professional grade and was very popular.
Vega also produced a line of brass instruments purchased in 1908 from Standard Band Instrument a company that was also based in Boston. Vega manufactured these brass instruments under the Vega and Standard brand names, Standard having good popularity as a brand as well as a loyal customer base.
They also crafted guitars and in the 1930’s began producing what was then becoming quite popular, the archtop guitars which looked a lot like big violins. These instruments were widely used by jazz artists and bands. The company also soon began producing electric guitars which at that time were starting to become popular in the music circle.
Period of Decline and Return to Popularity
By the period that covered World War II, up until the end of the 50’s, sales of the company began to dip. Eventually, Vega was taken over by C.F. Martin Company in the 1970’s. It was hope at the time that C.F. Martin can continue to capitalize on the large popularity of Vega among serious banjo players. In fact, arguably the most popular Vega product at the time would be the 5-string banjo that was designed and also used by the noted folk singer Pete Seeger.
As the Vega name returned to popularity, Martin eventually used the Vega brand for a line of strings used for different musical instruments. It was also used as a brand name by other licensee companies. In 1989, Vega/Martin was bought by the Deering Banjo company which continued the storied history of Vega musical instruments.
As Vega’s name became synonymous with any other stringed instrument, Vega also began producing the highest quality brass instruments that were known to be patronized by highly regarded musical artists such as Miles Davis.
The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.
Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.
Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.