Gibson PB-3 Mastertone #9524-17

#9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 both necks    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 with five-string neck    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 peghead of five-string neck    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 peghead of five-string neck

#9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 pot with five-string neck    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 pot with five-string neck    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 five-string neck upper frets    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 five-string neck Mastertone block    #9524-17 Giibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 both pegheads    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 five-string neck back of peghead    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo five-string Presto tailpiece

#9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 Doehler Die Casting stamp    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 hardware    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 hardware    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 Mastertone decal    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 tone ring and rim    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 inside resonator    #9524-17 Gibson Mastertone banjo PB-3 #9465-5 inside resonator

"There is something about the plectrum Banjo that brings to the player a feeling of complete satisfaction", enthused an early 1930s Gibson catalog.  "Warm, glowing harmony--velvety chords--brilliant tones that are smooth, round and solid as the peal of an organ."  The same catalog declared the style 3 plectrum banjo to be "an outstanding value--eminently fitted for all musical purposes." 

#9524-17 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a 1930 Mastertone plectrum which is now equipped with a five-string neck by Jim Grainger of Sparta, Tennessee.  The original resonator and flange were broken at some point; the banjo is now equipped with a replacement prewar flange and a resonator from TB-3 #9465-5.  The tailpiece is an original five-string prewar Presto.  The original twenty-hole flathead tone ring weighs three pounds, two ounces.  This banjo is one of a very small number of style 3 Mastertones from this period featuring the intricate "wreath" inlay pattern which had been standard on the gold-plated, engraved style 5 Mastertone of the 1920s; style 5 had just been discontinued and Gibson used up their surplus wreath inlays on these small runs of style 3 banjos.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous owner.
 


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