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1907 Vega Whyte Laydie # 7
 
Peghead Nation instructor Bill Evans demonstrates an iconic vintage banjo.
November 15, 2021
 

When it comes to classic banjo designs, the Whyte Laydie is one of the most iconic instruments. Originally designed by the A.C. Fairbanks Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, and introduced in 1901, the Whyte Laydie banjo became a popular and frequently copied instrument. Peghead Nation instructor Bill Evans owns a 1907 Whyte Laydie #7, and in this video, he demonstrates the instrument. 

Although Bill’s Whyte Laydie has a metal plate that says “The A.C. Fairbanks Co.” on its inside dowel rod, it was made by the Vega company, who purchased the rights to the design and name after the Fairbanks factory suffered a devastating fire in 1904. With its distinctive inlay in the fingerboard and on both sides of the peghead, as well as its elaborate heel carvings, the style #7 was the top-of-the-line version of the instrument, though some even fancier examples were made as custom orders. Bill’s Whyte Laydie includes Fairfank’s spun metal rim to hold its brackets (a design that Fairbanks introduced, and which eliminated the need to drill holes through the wooden rim), as well as the “electric tone ring,” which has an unusual scalloped design. Bill keeps the instrument set up with a skin head, and strings it with Aquila Nylgut strings.

Today, many players use Whyte Laydie banjos for clawhammer style playing, but originally, they were made for “classic” banjo playing, which was popular from the 1860s to the early 1900s. In this spirit, Bill demonstrates the banjo by playing English composer Joe Morley’s “Banjoland,” which was written during this period. 

To study banjo with Bill, enroll in his Beginning Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo, or Earl Scruggs: A Player’s Guide courses on Peghead Nation!

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com