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The traditional Fairbanks/Vega models were much sought after for their proven design, superb workmanship, and aesthetic refinement.
In response to these different customer preferences, Vega pursued the 4-string market with two different strategies: Vega manufactured tenor banjos in essentially “old” traditional Fairbanks styles and newer Vega styles. The traditional styles retained the Tubaphone name, 17- or even 16-fret necks, and open-back construction of the earliest high-grade tenors. They were essentially tenor versions of the Fairbanks 5-strings.
Sold along side them were newer-style instruments equipped with 19-fret necks and flanged resonators. After 1923, these models were referred to as Vegaphones.
In 1927, tenor banjos departing still more from the classic specifications were added and called Vegavoxes. However, the Tubaphone, according to a history of Vega/Fairbanks written by Bollman, Kimmel, and Unger in 1978, “is considered to be the last instrument produced by Fairbanks-Vega which was still consistent with the turn of the century quality.