Gibson TB-11 # no number




"This model is alive with flash and color and yet is not gaudy", proclaimed Gibson's Catalog X of 1936 in describing the TB-11.  Introduced in 1931, style 11 used pearloid, blue paint, and silkscreened designs to dress up what was one of the company's less-expensive banjo offerings.  Selling for $50, half the price of the least expensive Mastertone model, the style 11 proved to be quite popular and remained in production through the early 1940s.  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.

Like many style 11 banjos, this example in not marked with a factory order number or serial number; it features a rarely-seen variant of the resonator silkscreening, with the floral design being oriented as an "x" rather than a cross.  This banjo was played for many years in a Dixieland band at Blanche's Courtyard restaurant on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Years of exposure to the humid coastal Georgia environment led to some deterioration of the nickel plating and cracking of the pearloid veneers, but the banjo remains in solid structural condition and ready for many more years of music-making.