Gibson PB-3 Mastertone #9580-5, the "B.E. Boyd"
in as-found condition:
after cleaning and installation of a replacement prewar flange and new five-string neck by Frank and Ricky Neat:
"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."
#9580-5 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a previously undocumented 1930 Mastertone plectrum which, until early in 2010, had spent its entire life in the small town of Liscomb, Iowa. 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.
I've created a separate page documenting the disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly of this banjo by luthier Mark Bramlett.
"As-found" photos courtesy of Tom