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.