Gibson TB-Bella Voce Mastertone #0283-84

#0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce front    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce back    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce peghead    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce inlay    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce inlay    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce inlay    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce inlay    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce neck heel and resonator    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce tailpiece

#0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce peghead logo    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce peghead inlay    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce peghead back    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce planetary tuner    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce pot    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce pot    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce pot    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce armrest    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce armrest and tailpiece    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce armrest engraving

#0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce armrest detail    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce tension hoop engraving    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce flange    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce tailpiece detail    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator detail    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator sidewall    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator back    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator back detail    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator neck notch    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce resonator bracket

#0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce heel carving    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce heel cap and rim    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce pot inside    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce factory order numbers in resonator    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce large factory order number in resonator    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce pencil factory order number in resonator    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce small factory order number in resonator    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce Mastertone label    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce factory order number in rim    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce neck heel

#0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce lot number stamp on rim    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce lot number on outside of rim    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce tone ring    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce 0211 on tone ring    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce 0 on tone ring    #0283-84 Gibson Mastertone banjo TB-Bella Voce tone ring engraving

Bella Voce is Italian for "beautiful voice"; this model was introduced in 1927 and remained in the Gibson line for only three years.   Described in Gibson's 1927 banjo catalog as "a royal member of the banjo family", the Bella Voce was one of the most ornate banjos ever produced by the company and was available with a variety of woods and trim options; this example features curly maple with multicolored "Christmas tree" binding.  Although Gibson literature described the resonator and neck ornamentation of the Bella Voce as being hand-carved, in reality only the peghead and heel decorations were carved; the designs on the back and sides of the resonator were pressed.  The tone ring is a forty-hole archtop and is stamped on the top with the number 0211; these stamped numbers have been seen on a number of banjos from the 1927-1928 period, but their significance is unknown.  The tone ring on #0283-84 also features the number 0 stamped on the top, again with unknown significance.  Another unusual feature of this example is the presence of an ink-stamped lot number on top of the rim.  The Grover "two-hump" clamshell tailpiece is engraved "Bella Voce"; the tuners are the original "Planet" pegs with genuine mother-of-pearl buttons.  The peghead overlay and rosewood fingerboard are inlaid with the most intricate inlay pattern of any catalogued Gibson banjo.  The gold-plated hardware features extensive engraving on the tension hoop, tone ring, flange, armrest, and tailpiece.

Factory order numbers with leading zeroes are seen on prewar Gibson banjos only for a brief period in 1927-1928, concurrent with the introduction of the Bella Voce and Florentine models.  #0283-84 surfaced in 2017 in the Greater New York City area.  It remains in original condition with the except of replaced resonator thumbscrews, one replaced tuner button, one replaced bracket and nut, and a replaced tailpiece base, mounting bolt, and adjustment screw.
 


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