December 14, 2007--Another littermate arrives on the site: PB-1 #9559-37 is joined by PB-1 #9559-40.
December 8, 2007--Here's one of the niftiest pieces of Gibson ephemera I've ever seen: the string cabinet offered to dealers in the 1937 catalog.
December 3, 2007--Davis Brown, owner of RB-75 #F906-2, was also the son of a banjo player; his father Tal Brown preferred this beautiful trap-door RB-4. From Melvin Cumbee comes probably the nicest example of a TB-18 in existence. Is BAS (Banjo Acquisition Syndrome) genetic? Maybe so. . . here's my dad's correspondence with Gibson from 1966.
November 29, 2007--All the way from Germany. . . is it a Florentine? Is it a 6? You decide. The distinction of being the earliest Gibson banjo on this site now belongs to this TB-0 has a highly slanted peghead logo reminiscent of Gibson's early mandolins. TB-3 #9524-20 has been on the site for a while, but its history just got a little more puzzling. And I'm especially fond of late prewar Gibsons with serial numbers on the back of the peghead, amber-button Kluson tuners, and big ol' truss rod covers. . . like TB-11 #E3795-6.
November 19, 2007--Here's a nice pair of TB-2s. . . one in the old bracket-shoe style with pyramid tone ring, and one in the later pearloid and walnut configuration.
October 31, 2007--A lightning strike put my web-publishing out of commission for quite some time but I'm finally back up and running and have so much stuff to add, it's scary! Heh. Little joke there. For now, here's Mike Johnson's beautiful, incredible-sounding, and unbelievably rare RB-12 #411-1, the flathead PB-3 #66-5 played for many years by Charlie Cushman, the recently discovered TB-Granada #9556-51, the beautifully converted TB-3 #9588-5 and the banjo that's had everybody talking lately, RB-75 #F906-2, the "Davis Brown"!
July 27, 2007--I think it's hard to beat the classic beauty of a well-played but fully original 1930s TB-3. . . feast your eyes on #42-18!
July 21, 2007--Three great new banjos this time; PB-3 #9264-7 is a beautiful example of a tube-and-plate style 3, while PB-4 #444-1 and PB-75 #444-2 are a very interesting pair of original flatheads.
July 8, 2007--We now have another pair of littermates on the site. . . PB-3 #8057-12 has been joined by #8057-2. And all the way from the Netherlands comes original five-string RB-3 #9267-3.
June 27, 2007--I love having "littermates" on this site, banjos that once sat side by side in the old factory at 225 Parsons Street in Kalamazoo and are now reunited in cyberspace all these decades later. So here's another one from the last lot of tube and plate style 3s, TB-3 #9478-148. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Gibson's lowest-priced five-string banjo of the Depression years, and here's a beautiful example of the RB-00.
June 26, 2007--The newest addition to the site is a rare TB-00 with a full-thickness rim, notched tension hoop, and round hooks. . . the best part is that I got to meet its original owner! There's also a beautiful example of one of my favorite prewar banjos: the rarely-seen hearts and flowers style 4 of the 1930s.
June 19, 2007--I have now added more photos and a complete description of what is probably the cleanest PB-11 in existence, formerly owned by Carlos Brown of Reno, Nevada. Another addition that can be traced to the original owner is Earnest Ray's beautiful ball-bearing PB-4. And, to add to the ever-growing list of style 1 inlay variations, we have TB-1 #9812-30.
June 10, 2007--Here's a better example of the extremely rare walnut Recording King tenor with one-piece flange and forty-hole archtop tone ring. We also have a beautiful TB-5 with "iridescent" binding and the last banjo Charlie Poole recorded with. . . an original five-string, no-hole archtop RB-4! More to come. . .
May 29, 2007--Lots of great additions this time around, and more to come! Feast your eyes on a littermate to J.D. Crowe's famous "Banger": PB-3 #9467-12, the "Morell DoRan". Nearly three hundred lots later, Gibson's last run of "old style" tube-and-plate style 3s included TB-3 #9478-155. I previously had no example of Gibson's humble but serviceable style 0 of the 1920s; that gap his been filled with the addition of TB-0 #8040-41. There's an interesting variant of an already quite rare model in RB-1 #9468-5; it's always nice to come across vintage photographs of original owners with their prewar banjos--be sure and take a look at young Donald C. Hill with
TB-3 #9524-20. And to round out this bunch of additions, there's another beautiful, minty TB-11.
March 10, 2007--Somehow I was missing an example
of a Kel Kroydon. This has now been rectified with a beautiful
KK-10. And be sure to check out the latest original five-string Mastertone on the site, RB-3 #8127-12. More to come!
January 7, 2007--Craig Korth has sent in some great photos of his beautiful new TB-7, from the first known batch of top-tensions ever produced! Other new additions include a flathead Granada with a very unusual inlay combination, a vintage photo of Grace Attfield with her RB-1, a Granada from the last known batch produced before World War II, and a TB-11 with an interesting historical connection.
January 1, 2007--Happy New Year from The Prewar Gibson Banjo website! It's hard to believe, but this website is now going into its tenth year online! I began in 1998 with about four banjos, three of which were mine. As of today, this website features photos and descriptions of 87 prewar Gibson banjos, ranging from the humblest bracket shoe model to four original five-string Granadas, contributed by folks from all over the world. I look forward to greatly expanding the site in 2007 with more contributions from all of you!
There's lots of new stuff for the new year. Who would have thought a TB-3 would leave the factory with the "N" in "Mastertone" inlaid backward? And while bluegrass players often think of the Granada as the top of the line, it was actually the lowest-priced and least ornate of Gibson's prewar gold-plated and engraved models. Next up in the line was the style 5, and we have a couple of beautiful TB-5s new to the site: a beautifully preserved forty-hole archtop model and an extremely rare example featuring an original high-profile, full-weight flathead tone ring.
also added a beautiful late TB-75
with amber-button Kluson tuners, and a nice pair of TB-3s
from batch 9550. . . one forty-hole
archtop with a most unusual inlay pattern, and one
rare original flathead.