Gibson TB-75 Mastertone #416-2
1937 was a year of great change in Gibson's banjo line. Mastertone models 4, 6, Granada, Florentine, and All American were discontinued and replaced with the new top-tension styles 7, 12, and 18. Of the previous Mastertone models, only style 3 survived; its price was lowered from $100 to $75 and, in keeping with Gibson's new fashion for naming instruments after their prices, was renamed style 75.
With the introduction of the top-tension models as the “flagship” Mastertones in the Gibson line, the retention of style 75 as a budget-model Mastertone gave the company an opportunity to use up leftover components from discontinued models. #416-2 features the "flying eagle" inlay pattern, walnut neck, and burl walnut resonator with two rings of multicolored marquetry as seen on the recently-discontinued style 4; it differs from style 4 only in its plating, which is the nickel commonly associated with style 75 rather than the chrome plating of style 4. A "littermate" to this banjo, TB-75 Mastertone #416-5, features the "flying eagle" inlays of #416-2 but has a plain walnut resonator as seen on the non-Mastertone style 2, another recently-discontinued model at the time.
#416-2 was shipped on December 1, 1937 to Austin Scrivener, a Gibson teacher-agent in Hartford, Connecticut. It has now been converted to flathead five-string with an HR-30 conversion tone ring by Steve Huber and a neck by Arthur Hatfield.
Photos courtesy of an