Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
edited January 2007 in History Posts: 1,264
Can anyone recognise this guitar? Type? Possible date?...Or perhaps not an electric at all?


  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Teddy- I know I have seen an archtop for sale that had the pots on the tail piece like that. I can't remember exactley, but I think it was and old Kay. I work in a vintage guitar shop now and at the store I have a lot of historical resources on archtops I will look through the books and see what I can come up with, but I know for a fact I have seen one similair beofre.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    Catania put knobs on the tailpiece, but the guitar in the picture looks different -- looks better quality, almost like an ES-175.
  • Posts: 597
    Asked at some other forums. Looks like it's a Vega Duo-tron.
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Actually come to think of it I believe it was a vega I saw. So I vote for the Vega as well. I believe Buffalo Brothers had one for sale a while back.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    How about this Vega Duo-tron:


    Note the block inlays stop at the 12th fret, and there is a dot at 15. The one in your picture looks the same.


    Here's a non-cutaway:


    and one with 2 pickups and 3 knobs:


    Yours has 3 "things" on the tailpiece but the 3rd might be the cord. This one lets you see where the jack is:



    This one shows some lever-looking thing in that spot:


    I think the first one above looks like a dead match.

    When is it from? This one is dated to 1947. I think "yours" is a cutaway and the pickguard looks more modern, so maybe 1950 give/take a few years?

    This one is dated to 1953 and looks the same, though you can only see a thumbnail at this point.

    Now tell us: who is it?

    EDIT: Man, beaten to the punch while composing my long-winded response!
  • Posts: 597
    sockeye wrote:
    EDIT: Man, beaten to the punch while composing my long-winded response!

    Not long-winded: thorough! :wink:

    Nice post.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,264
    Most impressive guys. Thanks. The one below looks exactly like it to me. Do we have a date on that particular model?
  • nwilkinsnwilkins New
    Posts: 431
    I don't know the year, but you could ask Mandolin Bros as the photo looks to have come from there.
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    Here, found an archive of the Mandolin Brothers page:
    48-3804 Vega (used, c. 1946) ?Duo-Tron? electric archtop guitar, Model C171, Serial Number 5416X, blonde, in very good plus condition with original hard shell case.
    Vega brand archtop guitars are always interesting, always original, we sometimes wonder if any two were exactly alike. This guitar is an all blonde, spruce and maple, single soft cutaway, full-depth acoustic-electric, jazz f-hole archtop. It has a type of right-angle trapeze-style tailpiece utilized, as far as we can tell, only on Vega guitars, that has two white corrugated knobs with black diamond-shaped pointers, one that says ?Volume,? one that says ?Tone,? and an uncapped push-button that may be a tone control, and it had a late ?40s microphone type jack ? but our team of repairpersons has replaced that unusable jack with a standard phone jack and now it plays beautifully, amplified. The guitar exhibits normal signs of wear ? the usual light scratches, dings, mars, scrapes. It shows some incipient cracks in the plastic neck binding but the binding is neither loose nor deteriorating. The bound rosewood fretboard shows some light pitting from playing, and is inlaid with six block inlays starting from first fret and one dot inlaid at the 15th fret. Cr譥 bound headstock is inlaid ?VEGA? in block letters with a large star inlaid there under, and a coffin-shaped truss rod cover bordered in white that reads ?Duo-Tron Pat?d.? Tuners are Kluson Deluxe brand with metal buttons with the oil-hole ?O?. It has an eye-hook strap pin attachment mounted to the bass side of the neck heel, just as many John D?Angelico guitars have. The back of the neck is missing finish as one would see on any well-played guitar. This guitar has a single gold-colored metal covered pickup depending from the end of the fretboard, one corner of which is chipped away, leaving a small hole. It has a rosewood two-piece adjustable bridge which is likely original.
    A red-white-red bordered interior paper label reads ?Vega, the Artist?s Choice as the Finest of All Instruments, Model C171, Serial No. 5416 (X below), Vega Company, Inc, Boston 16, Mass, USA.? Our initial thought was that Vega, a banjo company, may not have made this guitar in their own factory but instead subcontracted it from a company such as Gretsch or maybe Epiphone, but the guitar?s owner says: ?I have some original hard written documents concerning this instrument. It corresponds with two other online references I found for very similar models: or this: Both suggest that Bill Nelson [the then president of Vega] was the manufacturer of this guitar and not a larger company as you suggest. The guitar [writes the owner ? we have no proof of any of this, no documentation whatsoever ? you, the reader, should consider it simply anecdotal] was originally sold by Bill Nelson of the (then) Vega-Nelson company to Brazilian classical guitarist Laurindo Almeida. My father-in-law bought it directly from Bill Nelson in late 1948 when Laurindo Almeida received a new guitar from Nelson. In turn my father-in-law played this guitar for the past 50+ years -- many of which with small trios in the New England area around Boston. So the guitar has been well used over the ensuing years. It was his pride and joy throughout the years. One additional piece of trivia is the pickguard (for all Vegas in this time period) were made from a type of polymer that my father-in-law designed and sold while he was with Monsanto Plastics. That's how he met Bill Nelson and subsequently came to own the guitar.? This is a handsome, interesting instrument and, with its original brown ?Bull?s Head?? whose slogans are: ?The Standard of Musicians for Over Sixty Years? and ?Protection of the Instrument is Paramount? hard shell case, it is quite the addition to the eclectic archtop collection at $2,159 or at our cash discount price, $2,095.

    So the one in the picture was supposedly owned by Laurindo Almeida! Teddy, he's not the guy in your picture, is he?

    My love of guitars, obsessive personality and a high-speed Internet connection make for a dangerous combination!


    EDIT: Here is a picture of a Vega ad featuring Almeida playing what appears to be the guitar in question. I think this one REALLY looks like the one in Teddy's picture -- black rather than tortoise pickguard and black pickup.


    The seller of the ad says it's from 1958. I would have thought 1950-55 would have been a more likely date for this guitar than 1946, but what do I know?

    And just because we're on the topic of Almeida, attached is a Gottlieb photo of Almeida playing a Stromberg. [Portrait of Laurindo Almeida, Richmond, Va.(?), 1947 or 1948]. There's also a high-res version of this photo without the watermark but a smaller crop here:
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,264
    This is the photo which appeared to show Django playing that guitar but it didn't look right and I had major doubts about it. Since posting my questions, I have identified it as definitely being a compilation (fake!!). The head has been taken from one of Gottlieb's Django/Ellington photos, graphically manipulated and a cigarette added. See the comparison below. It was too good to be true I'm afraid.
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