Gibson TB-X conversion to five-string
As the 1930s progressed and banjo sales declined, Gibson attempted to revive their line of these instruments which had been so successful a decade earlier. The best-known of these experiments was the top-tension line introduced in 1937, which continued in production into the early 1940s. Another late-1930s innovation was the obscure style pictured above, which was never illustrated or described in any Gibson catalogs but appears in Gibson's shipping ledgers as "style X".
Style X had a number of
highly distinctive features; its resonator was ornamented with alternating sections of
black and ivory, a look very atypical of Gibson banjos. The rim, neck, and resonator
sidewalls were painted black. The rim was 1/2" thick below the rim, a feature
typically seen on
style 00. The tone ring found on style X is highly unusual, with large holes around the outside of the skirt and a thin wire hoop sitting on top.
This banjo has been converted to five-string with the addition of a neck by Wyatt Fawley.
Photos courtesy of Wyatt Fawley.