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1938 Vega C-56

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Serial #: 38 303, gold Boston label

Body size at lower bout: 16" Scale length: 25" Nut Width: 1 11/16"

Finish: Original sunburst finish, nitrocellulose type

Materials: Handcarved bookmatched solid spruce top; solid bookmatched flamed maple back and sides; five-piece Honduras mahogany neck with walnut centerstripe; solid ebony fingerboard with variegated pearl inlay; pearl "shooting star" Vega peghead logo inlay; triple-bound top, bound fingerboard and body; bone nut.

Hardware: All original hardware included bound bakelite pickguard; adjustable Vega "Acoustic Balanced" ebony bridge; nickel Grover Sta-Tite open-back tuners; Vega deco-style trapeze tailpiece.

Notes: Boston has always had a reputation for a certain conservatism. When Gibson upsized their line with the "Advanced Model" 17" body in 1934, the discontinued 16" Lloyd Loar L-5 became an instant collector's item. Ditto for the 16" Epiphone Masterbilt Deluxe, which disappeared the following year. Vega of Boston, however was the last holdout, building graceful 16" hand carved professional guitars as late as 1938, when this exquisite specimen rolled off the line. One of the last ever made, this immaculate Vega C-56 is constructed with upscale touches never seen again on this model. The back and sides are handcarved of solid bookmatched tiger flame maple. The fingerboard is a slab of solid black ebony, 1 11/16" at the nut, and inlaid with inlays of brilliant mother-of-pearl. The delicate three-point tapered peghead took its final bow that year, along with the ornate "shooting star" Vega logo in pearl. Even the pickguard is hand bound in gleaming black bakelite, the stuff Fred and Ginger danced on in the movies. By the following year, all would be history, as Vega revamped their instruments with entirely new designs.

As pretty as it is rare, this outstanding example arrived in virtually "new old stock" condition. The dark Cremona sunburst is entirely original, and shines brilliantly, without pick, buckle or thumbwear of any kind. The body shows no cracks, and just enough scattered finish checking to vouch for its originality. The hardware is similarly original and pristine, right down to the adjustable Vega "Acoustic Balanced" ebony bridge, with its abbreviated treble foot, and an original tailpiece which we were lucky enough to locate. Feather-light, the soundboard is astoundingly light and resonant, and the back is finely carved and bookmatched of solid flame maple. Accordingly, the sound is simply phenomenal, with volume and clarity surpassing instruments of far greater size. Nestled in its original Vega hardshell case, this proper Bostonian is a window into a lost world of elegant design, meticulous craftsmanship, and gorgeous full throated tone.

Setup: The frets have been precision leveled, recrowned and polished; trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridge foot contour inspected and fit to top as necessary; bridge radius inspected and recurved as necessary; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.

This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Original hardshell case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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