Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #9259-37, the "Bill Umeck"




#9259-37 dates to 1929 and is a catalog-standard example of the least-expensive banjo in Gibson's Mastertone line shortly before the model was redesigned later that year.  Style 3 remained the lowest-priced, and best-selling, Mastertone from its introduction in 1925 until it was renamed style 75 in 1937.

This TB-3 remains in original condition with the exception of replaced tuners and is housed in its original plush-lined #509 Geib and Schaefer case.  The longtime owner of #9259-37 was Bill Umeck (February 14, 1919--August 18, 2002) of Niles, Ohio.  Mr. Umeck's son reports that his father played in Slovenian polka bands in the 1930s and 1940s in Ohio and Pennsylvania; he is belived to have bought this banjo used shortly after World War II.

Photos courtesy of Anthony Sprino.