Gibson RB-75 Mastertone #DA-5055

#DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 front    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 original fifth-string peg and bridge    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 resonator side view    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 peghead    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 peghead back    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 neck back    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 #521 case side view    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 #521 case

#DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 tailpiece    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 John Bowles   

#DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 rim and tone ring    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 resonator decal    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 Mastertone decal   
#DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 serial number in resonator    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 resonator detail    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 resonator back    #DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 Mastertone block

#DA-5055 Gibson Mastetone banjo RB-75 shipping July 27, 1949

After the top-tension models were introduced in 1937, only one conventional Mastertone remained in production--style 3 underwent some slight changes, its price was lowered from $100 to $75, and it was rechristened style 75.  #DA-5055 is a beautiful example of an RB-75 and was shipped from the Gibson factory in 1939.  It conforms to standard catalog specifications for style 75 with mahogany neck and resonator, one-piece flange, high-profile twenty-hole flathead tone ring, nickel-plated hardware, double-cut peghead, and rosewood fingerboard.  A variety of inlay patterns are seen on style 75 banjos, and #DA-5055 is inlaid with the full ten-piece leaves and bows pattern; the majority of leaves-and-bows RB-75s had an abbreviated inlay set with only eight pieces.

No original shipment information for #DA-5055 appears in Gibson's shipping ledgers, although the banjo was logged on July 27, 1949 as being returned to Freeman's Jewelry (location unknown) after a repair.  There is a decal on the back of the resonator bearing the name and phone number of, High Point Music Supply in High Point, North Carolina, likely the original seller of the banjo.

#DA-5055, pictured above with owner John Bowles, is one of the best-sounding prewar banjos I have ever encountered and I was fortunate to be able to record some sound clips of it at Banjothon 2009 in Maryville, Tennessee:


Fireball Mail

Banks of the Ohio

Mama Blues

John Henry

Cora Is Gone

Careless Love

Reuben

Green Mountain Hop


Photos courtesy of John Bowles.
 


Home