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Gibson Banjo Circa 1920-1923

#1 User is offline   JohnCarl 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

Can anyone help to identify the model,style and year of mfg of this Gibson banjo? It seems to be some sort of 'transitional' model (as it seems many Gibson banjos were). Description: Gibson TB-(?) Model Tenor Banjo (but more likely MB; banjolin or soprano banjo?) (1920-1923?), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, FON # 11428-6. Sunburst finish, laminated maple neck with ebony stripe, rosewood(?) fingerboard with 15 frets. 12” drum (this seems to be an unusual combination); trapdoor (tone projector) resonator; moccasin style peg head, the tuners are nickel two-on-a-plate with amber celluloid buttons. Original calfskin Jos. Rogers Jr. head is present. Gibson Guarantee Label on inside of the rim. It has 30 j-bolts, all present. The narrow short scale neck is maple/ebony laminate with a dot-inlayed ebony fingerboard bound in grained ivoroid. The single-bound "moccasin" headstock is veneered with ebony and inlayed with a slanted "The Gibson" logo and slotted diamond and fleur-de-lys designs. The heel, rim and "trap door" resonator are ivoroid bound.It has Lloyd Loar's "ball bearing" rim. The maple trapdoor also has a ring of inlayed wood and an ivoroid bound "peephole" and is finished in a cherry sunburst. The back of the head is black with a point flared into the neck's ebony stripe. This banjo features single co-coordinator rod, mounted below the traditional wooden square dowel (embossed with FON number) and marked "Patent Applied for". Overall length is 31"., 12". diameter head, rim is 3/4" thick and 2-3/4" in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 21.5". Neck from pot to head is 12-¾". Metal is nickel-plated. No arm rest. Includes original green-lined HSC (with some condition issues) and the original key wrench and 3 unknown accessories. Much obliged.

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#2 User is offline   tpbiii 

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:07 PM

View PostJohnCarl, on 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM, said:

Can anyone help to identify the model,style and year of mfg of this Gibson banjo? It seems to be some sort of 'transitional' model (as it seems many Gibson banjos were). Description: Gibson TB-(?) Model Tenor Banjo (but more likely MB; banjolin or soprano banjo?) (1920-1923?), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, FON # 11428-6. Sunburst finish, laminated maple neck with ebony stripe, rosewood(?) fingerboard with 15 frets. 12 drum (this seems to be an unusual combination); trapdoor (tone projector) resonator; moccasin style peg head, the tuners are nickel two-on-a-plate with amber celluloid buttons. Original calfskin Jos. Rogers Jr. head is present. Gibson Guarantee Label on inside of the rim. It has 30 j-bolts, all present. The narrow short scale neck is maple/ebony laminate with a dot-inlayed ebony fingerboard bound in grained ivoroid. The single-bound "moccasin" headstock is veneered with ebony and inlayed with a slanted "The Gibson" logo and slotted diamond and fleur-de-lys designs. The heel, rim and "trap door" resonator are ivoroid bound.It has Lloyd Loar's "ball bearing" rim. The maple trapdoor also has a ring of inlayed wood and an ivoroid bound "peephole" and is finished in a cherry sunburst. The back of the head is black with a point flared into the neck's ebony stripe. This banjo features single co-coordinator rod, mounted below the traditional wooden square dowel (embossed with FON number) and marked "Patent Applied for". Overall length is 31"., 12". diameter head, rim is 3/4" thick and 2-3/4" in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 21.5". Neck from pot to head is 12-". Metal is nickel-plated. No arm rest. Includes original green-lined HSC (with some condition issues) and the original key wrench and 3 unknown accessories. Much obliged.


1921. It is a TB-4 (trapdoor). They were made up until about 1924. Here are a couple of others from that series: an RB-4 (5-sting) trapdoor and a GB-4 (guitar banjo) -- both from 1923.

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That was the beginning of the (Dixie Land) jazz era, and Gibson wanted in on the action. By about 1924, the old line heavy ring makers like Vega were eating Gibson's lunch. This led to the Mastertone in 1925 and the archtop and flattop rings soon thereafter. The rest is history.

Let's pick,

-Tom

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