Studio King tenor banjo by Gibson #9717-20
In the 1930s, Gibson made a number of banjos for sale by other companies, including mail-order houses such as Montgomery Ward. These banjos were labelled with a variety of brand names and bore no Gibson markings even though they were made at the Kalamazoo factory and in many cases were very similar to Gibson catalog models. This banjo, manufactured under the Studio King brand, is similar to the Gibson style 3 of the same period, with mahogany neck and resonator, three-ply maple rim, one-piece flange, nickel-plated hardware, and a forty-hole archtop tone ring. The ornamentation differs somewhat from style 3, however; the rosewood fingerboard is inlaid with the hearts and flowers inlay pattern, the purfling rings on the back of the resonator are yellow and green rather than the white/black/white of style 3, and the neck binding is similar to that used on the style 4 of the 1920s.
This banjo is in excellent original condition, including a skin head and an original prewar Gibson two-footed bridge.
Photos courtesy of Music Man.