Gibson PB-3 Mastertone #9524-44
"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."
#9524-44 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a 1930 Mastertone plectrum which is now equipped with a five-string neck by Frank Neat. 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.
This banjo features a first-generation pot-metal flange and corresponding "fat" rim; it remains in excellent original condition with its #522 hard-shell case by Geib and Schaefer.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.