Gibson TB-1 #9719-2






This is a 1930s TB-1 with two interesting deviations from standard catalog specifications:  It has a short-scale, eighteen-fret neck, and in place of the normal style 1 fleur-de-lis inlay pattern, it has the much more elaborate pattern that had been used on the gold-plated, engraved, carved and painted top-of-the-line Bella Voce model of the late 1920s. The Bella Voce pattern has been known to show up occasionally on other Mastertone models, but its presence on this non-Mastertone banjo is extremely unusual and possibly unique.

The armrest has been replaced with an Elton type, which appears to be chrome-plated. The tailpiece is a period Kerschner. The finish is original and in excellent condition with very little wear to the resonator and only normal playing wear in the lower neck position. The pot metal flange is fully intact and shows very little pulling up; the tension hoop is somewhat flared but appears structurally stable. The rosewood fingerboard and original thin wire frets show only light playing wear. The original blue-lined hardshell case is in very good shape, and this banjo rates a solid 7.5 out of 10 on the Prewar Aroma Meter! This banjo comes from British Columbia; the “Made in U.S.A.” stamp on the back of the peghead, as well as the sticker inside the resonator, indicate that it was shipped outside the United States from the Gibson factory.

I helped broker the sale of this banjo with in late 2006.

Photos courtesy of Robb Stemp and