Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #9903-41

#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 front    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 logo    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 peghead    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 inlays    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 inlays    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 inlays

#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 pot with head guard    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 flange pull    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 concentric rings    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Mastertone decal and marquetry    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 rim marquetry    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 case closed    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 case open

#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 peghead and dog    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 looking down neck    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 neck view    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 in stand    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 looking down on pot    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 metal    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 resonator back

#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 resonator back    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 resonator factory order number    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 notch factory order number    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 rim binding    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 rod marquetry    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Mastertone decal and marquetry    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Mastertone decal and rim

#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Mastertone decal   
#9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 second and third tuners    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 first and fourth tuners    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Mastertone block    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 head guard bracket    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 head guard and brackets    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 Jos. Rogers head    #9903-41 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-3 resonator screws

In most respects, #9903-41 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a typical early-1930s TB-3; the imitation-tortoise head guard was available as a factory option.

This banjo deviates from catalog specifications, however, in one notable way; the bottom of the rim features white binding and multicolored wood purfling, offered as one of the trim options on Gibson's "Custom" Bella Voce and Florentine banjos of the late 1920s.  The presence of this binding and purfling indicates that this rim was originally intended for a Custom banjo, then later adapted for use in this TB-3.  The binding and purfling would originally have also been present on the outside of the rim, but reconfiguration of the rim from two-piece-flange to one-piece-flange dimensions necessitated removal of wood from the outside of the rim below the flange.  The purfling seen here would later appear in the form of the two concentric rings on the back of style 4 resonators of the 1930s. 

The rim in TB-3 Mastertone #9903-46, the "Chas. A. Clark", features "Christmas tree" binding, another Custom banjo option, on the inside bottom edge; another TB-3 from lot #9903 has been documented with checkerboard binding inside the rim.  Other unusual features have been observed in banjos from lot 9903, including the wreath inlays of TB-3 Mastertone #9903-28, suggesting that Gibson chose this lot as an opportunity to use up various leftover components.

Photos courtesy of Dave Coin.
 


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