Locating the Serial Number of your Gibson Banjo

Most prewar and wartime Gibson banjos are actually marked with factory order numbers rather than serial numbers, but for right now you don't need to be worried about the distinction unless you're just especially interested!  If your banjo has a wooden back, or resonator, you'll need to remove it to get to the factory order number.  Don't worry. . . removing the resonator is no more invasive than raising the hood on a car.  The resonator will be held in place by three or four large screws that look like the one in the middle of this photo:

On some earlier Gibson banjos, the screws will have small hex-shaped heads instead of the large round heads.

These screws can just be undone with your fingers and once the back is removed, you will likely see a factory order number in three places. . .

stamped into the wooden rim:

and written inside the resonator, both in large chalk numbers in the center, and in smaller red or brownish numbers near the edge:

You can also look for one of two types of decals inside the wooden rim. . .

the "Mastertone" guarantee label:

or the smaller "The Gibson" label:

If there is no factory order number inside the rim or resonator, there could be a factory order number or serial number hiding on the back of the peghead, above the tuners:

If there's no factory order number or serial number anywhere, that's not necessarily a bad sign since some prewar Gibson banjos were shipped out without either factory order numbers or serial numbers.

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