December 8, 2009--New today. . . a few high-resolution shots of the neck on PB-3 #66-2.
November 28, 2009--Here's one not many people have seen--a 1930s TB-3 with a style 2 peghead and fingerboard overlay. Check out the "Mastertone" silkscreened on the pearloid at the nineteenth fret!
November 8, 2009--Some interesting new information has turned up regarding the history of PB-3 #66-2.
November 1, 2009--Time to take another look at PB-4 #9525-6 now that it's been reborn as a five-string.
October 11, 2009--I've added photos taken of PB-3 #66-2 while it was disassembled for cleaning and the installation of a new head.
October 4, 2009--I'm overdue for an update, but I hope you'll find this previously undocumented flathead PB-3 worth the wait.
September 13, 2009--Alterations made to a vintage banjo by a previous owner can detract seriously from the instrument's value, but they can also provide. . . well, "character", as in the case of TB-2 #9469-49.
August 28, 2009--The banjos made by Gibson for Montgomery Ward under the Recording King brand were usually budget instruments. . . but not always.
August 24, 2009--I've finally completed scanning and posting highlights from the wonderful collection of material I recently received documenting the 1930s musical career of Helen Knighton of York, Pennsylvania. There's lot of great ephemera related to Warren Dean's Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra and the Karl Alex Smyser Banjo Band, as well as Miss Knighton's beautiful TB-3 #345-6 and her 1915 Gibson K-1 mandocello.
August 16, 2009--I'd like to introduce you to Miss Helen May Knighton. You'll be hearing a lot more about her soon.
August 9, 2009--This banjo has been on my site for a while, but I'm pleased to now have lots more photos of TB-1 #124-12, the "Charlie 'Tex' Oldokowski".
August 1, 2009--Everyone liked PB-Granada #9526-14 so much, let's back up one lot number and take a look at PB-4 #9525-6.
July 29, 2009--Sorry to be so late with an update, but I think you'll agree that this original flathead Granada was worth the wait.
July 14, 2009--Today we have TB-1 #1109-4, shipped to J.D. Stacy in Sturgis, Michigan on February 16, 1937; new photos of TB-Granada #9556-26; updated (and very surprising) shipping information on TB-2 #9546-24, the "Andrew Rampulla", and a new insight into Scotty Wiseman's RB-Granada. I've also given the Miscellany page a more user-friendly graphic interface. Look for more additions to that page soon!
July 5, 2009--I'm pleased to be able to add two "littermate" TB-2s, #9546-9 and #9546-24, both with documented family histories. I've also updated shipping information on the "faux-top-tensions" #F4713-2, #5820-1, and #5998-1, as well as the non-standard top-tension #EA-5578.
June 30, 2009--It's always wonderful when an old banjo is brought back to life after decades of obscurity in a closet; that's what's about to happen to TB-4 #8836-42. Today we also have a nice example of the rare "Truett" brand, made by Gibson for the Truett-George Studios in California in the 1930s. In a bit of website housekeeping, I've added a more user-friendly, graphic interface to the Gibson Banjos by Style page.
June 16, 2009--Here's a third transitional TB-1 from lot #9477, along with an S.S. Stewart-brand TB-11 complete with the original owner's name and purchase date, along with lots of great "case candy".
June 8, 2009--Gibson apparently had a lot of diamonds and squares inlays left over when style 3 changed to the leaves and bows pattern, so they used them up on some TB-1s like #128-14. And how many Kalamazoo tenor banjos do you think are out there in near-mint condition with the original bill of sale? This might be the only one.
June 5, 2009--Today's addition is a beautiful (and beautifully converted) TB-5 with the nice added touch of the original owner's name in place of the Mastertone block.
June 2, 2009--This is a message for "Greg" who has RB-100 #7-5712-17. I saved the photos of your banjo but accidentally deleted your e-mail. . . please write back and I'll be glad to tell you what I can about your banjo!
May 27, 2009--Today we have an early TB-3 with nice documentation of its original owner, Isidoro Termini of Buffalo, New York.
May 23, 2009--We call them "prewar" banjos, but a few left the factory well
into the war years. . . like
this RB-75 shipped on January 24, 1944.
May 20, 2009--In the 1930s, some of the banjos sold in the Montgomery-Ward mail-order catalog were actually made by Gibson, like this neat M-6 tenor. Today's other addition is a very clean, classic TB-1 from the 1930s.
May 14, 2009--Nothing fascinates me more than Gibson's odd "floor-sweep" banjos of the late 1930s and early 1940s. . . here's the oddest one I've seen yet.
May 8, 2009--I love factory order numbers on the back of the peghead, and I love amber-button Klusons tuners. . . this nice little TB-00 has both. Today we also have a 1930s TB-1 with non-standard inlays and a very clean diamond-flange TB-2 from the family of the original owner.
May 7, 2009--Today we have a beautiful late TB-3 with provenance traceable back to the original owner, and an unusual factory order number.
May 6, 2009--I had always thought it was kind of strange that I had never seen a transitional Gibson banjo combining features of the 1920s and 1930s Mastertone designs. With Gibson's propensity for using available parts without regard for standard catalog descriptions, I figured a few such banjos should exist. Now I've finally seen one.
April 29, 2009--Too long since I updated! Today we have TB-Granada #8250-37 and TB-3 Mastertone #9151-35.
April 14, 2009--Gibson banjo
nuts afficionados frequently debate when
style 3 was actually changed
to style 75. . . so it's
pretty interesting to see the
first style 75 banjo designated as such in the Gibson shipping records.
April 13, 2009--Another original five-string RB-3! The newest addition is #8910-2, formerly owned by Mrs. Powell Newman of Salisbury, North Carolina.
April 12, 2009--Happy Easter! More from William B. Anderson today. . . RB-3 #9602-12!
March 31, 2009--From the collection of William B. Anderson comes the beautiful original flathead PB-Granada #558-3. More to come from Mr. Anderson's collection soon!
March 30, 2009--Today we have a nifty little style 2 mandolin-banjo with the quirky "serpentine" flange.
March 20, 2009--More
style 1 mania. . . today's additions are
littermates #9477-14 and
#9545-44, and #9774-21.
March 9, 2009--I love late
prewars with factory order numbers stamped on the peghead, like
this great TB-1. Can't say for
why. . . I just think they're neat.
March 4, 2009--Two beautiful original five-string 1930s Mastertones join the site today: RB-3 #9602-5 and RB-4 #276-18.
March 3, 2009--Style 3 was just about to morph into style 75 when Gibson made TB-3 #271-22.
February 25, 2009--There haven't been any updates in the last couple of weeks because I've been working on a major file renaming in hopes of making the site easier for search engines to find. If you find any bad links (and I'm sure you will), please let me know. Now that the renaming is done, I'll be adding lots more banjos in the days to come.
February 8, 2009--I'm pleased to add new photos (and one new sound file) of two original five-string flathead RB-75s that were already on the site: #DA-5055 and #F906-3.
January 29, 2009--I had the pleasure of visiting with Larry Perkins over the weekend and spending some time with his monster floor-sweep flathead.
January 23, 2009--I now have all the sound clips I recorded at Banjothon 2009 on one page. Also new today is a beautiful original five-string RB-11.
January 16, 2009--More sound clips. . . this time it's Bob Curell's amazing banjo the only known original five-string RB-5 ever made!
January 13, 2009--Here's a banjo I've been wanting to get on the site for some time: RB-75 #DA-5055, one of the best-sounding banjos I've ever played. I've included some sound clips. . . listen and be amazed! While you're at it, take a listen to The J.G. Hemmis TB-12. . . another one of the greatest old flatheads you'll ever hear.
January 5, 2009--Happy
New Year! I've redone the page on
TB-11 #E3795-6 since I was able to find a set of original Kluson tuners with
Catalin buttons to replace
the decomposed originals.