This Vegaphone Professional tenor banjo used to belong to my famous predecessor Arie Ligthart who played this banjo in the 50’s-60’s in the Dutch Swing College Band. He sold the banjo in 1964 to Jaap van Kempen, who joined the Dutch Swing College Band in 1970 and brought back this banjo in the band. In April 2022 I acquired this banjo from the widow of the late Jaap van Kempen en brought back this banjo for the third time (!) in the Dutch Swing College Band.
According to https://www.4stringbanjos.com/vega-serial-numbers serial number 95012 dates back to 1928
The 29-page Vega catalog from 1928, kindly made available by AcousticMusic.org for identification purposes, shows all Vegaphone and Vegavox types available at that time.
On the left is Nol van Iersel’s Vegaphone Professional from 1930 and on the right is mine from 1928. Due to heavy use and travelling with the Dutch Swing College Band mine is quite a bit more beaten up, but still sounds wonderful
The banjo case survived many flights abroad and obtained “some scratches” despite the leather protection cover shown on the right.
Live version of “Take your Pick” on this Vegaphone Professional during the Dutch Swing College Band concert in Amstelveen on October 1st 2022 (video courtesy: Beate Stegen)
Rambling Away is a new piece for tenorbanjo that I wrote for my solo performance during concerts of the Dutch Swing College Band (DSCB). I play this tune on the Vega Professional banjo that was owned and played by Arie Ligthart in the DSCB in the fifties and owned and played by Jaap van Kempen in the DSCB in the seventies.