Gibson MB-11 #E2923-9





The mandolin-banjo reached its peak of popularity in the 1920s, but as late as 1942 the Gibson catalog was proclaiming this odd hybrid "a necessity in every banjo band for lead or obbligato--ideal for solo playing".  Style 11, introduced in 1931, was a lower-end, non-Mastertone model which, according to one Gibson catalog, offered banjoists "a touch of color and flash" with its pearloid veneers, stenciled "inlays", and blue finish.  Besides lending "color" and "flash", the pearloid and paint provided Gibson with a way to use cosmetically flawed wood which might not have been suitable for more expensive models.

#E2923-9 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was shipped on May 23, 1941 to the New York Band Instrument Company in a #385 case by Geib.  The banjo has now been converted to five-string flathead with the addition of an RB-75-style neck by Frank Neat and a Bill Blaylock Beartracks tone ring.

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Photos courtesy of Dr. Jonathan Finder.