Gibson MB-11 #F5635-5

#F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 front    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 back    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 peghead    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 peghead back

#F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 pot    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 pot    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 pot    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator screw    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator detail    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator inside    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator bracket

#F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 pot inside    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 Gibson decal    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 peghead in #385 case    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 factory order number on peghead    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 neck heel and flange    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 bracket nut    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 top of rim    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 resonator screws

#F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 #385 case open    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 in #385 case    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 pot in #385 case    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 #385 case closed    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 #385 case handle    #F5635-5 Gibson banjo MB-11 #385 case latch

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.

Lot #F5635 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was one of the last batches of MB-11s to be produced during World War II.  Gibson's original factory shipping ledgers record the shipment of three banjos from this lot, two in 1943 and one in 1944; while #F5635-5 is not recorded in the ledgers by number, history provided by the original owner's family makes it highly likely that this is the MB-11 listed as being shipped (with no factory order number recorded) to Gibson dealer Charles B. Megarity of Beaumont, Texas on December 13, 1943.

#F5635-5 exhibits a number of features typical of wartime Gibson banjos, including a slightly taller tension hoop, smaller bracket nuts, and Phillip-head screws holding on the resonator brackets.  The scarcity of banjo components at Gibson by this point in the war is illustrated by the lack of an armrest and the presence of Phillips-head machine screws, rather than the usual thumb screws, holding on the resonator.  This MB-11 remains in excellent original condition with the exception of replaced tuners and is housed in its original "red-line" #385 case by Geib.
 


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