Gibson TB-4 Mastertone #257-3
Gibson's 1930 catalog described the TB-4 as "the materialization of the dreams of the most distinguished artist", yet "not too costly." The model's specifications included what the catalog described as "beautiful, compelling Burl Walnut" and chrome (or "Chromium") plating, "the best wearing plate known to science."
#257-3 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is from the last known lot of TB-4s to be produced before the model's discontinuation in 1937; it was shipped on August 17, 1937 to "H. Wirsing", identified by researcher Joe Spann as Harry M. Wirsing, Gibson teacher-agent and proprietor of the Wirsing Music Studio in Flint, Michigan. The banjo remains in excellent original condition with replaced tuners and case. In common with some other late style 4 banjos, the resonator features two concentric rings of thin white/black/white binding as used on style 4 Mastertones in the 1920s; the white heel cap is another 1920s feature. All hardware is chrome plated with the exception of the nickel-plated tension hoop, which could well be factory original.
Photos courtesy of
an anonymous owner.