What's New

December 28, 2016--Today I've added the Gibson banjo shipping totals for July 1942.  Shipping was up somewhat from its all-time low the previous month, but the July shipping entries reflect major changes on the way; for the first time since at least April 1935 not a single tenor banjo was shipped, and the last day of this month saw Gibson's first shipment of war material.

December 26, 2016--This has been a year of great prewar Gibson banjo discoveries, one of the most significant being RB-7 Mastertone #FG335-2, the "Charlie Macrow", which surfaced in Johannesburg, South Africa.  This banjo has been on the website for several months but I have now added many more photos and a link to a video showing the banjo in action!

December 13, 2016--Here are the Gibson banjo shipping totals for June 1942.  That month saw a dramatic decrease in banjo shipping, with only eight instruments leaving the factory. . . although two of them were RB-75s.

November 21, 2016--TB-4 Mastertone #9553-32 dates to 1930 and features the "hearts and flowers" inlay pattern rather than the "flying eagle" pattern more commonly associated with that model.

November 1, 2016--This TB-00 dates to the 1930s and was played for over fifty years by Nathan Ellis (1919-1989) of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.

October 26, 2016--RB-800 #849887 dates to 1966 and, although it's not a prewar banjo, is a rare instrument and significant in that it represents Gibson's first attempt to revive the classic styling of its prewar Mastertone line.

October 18, 2016--Today's addition is TB-2 #9729-36, which dates to 1930 and is highly unusual due to its chrome plating and engraved Grover DeLuxe "clamshell" tailpiece.

October 6, 2016--I have now uploaded the Gibson banjo shipping totals for May 1942.  Five-string banjos accounted for almost eighty percent of all banjos shipped that month, but only one of them was a Mastertone and nearly half were Kalamazoo-brand.

September 26, 2016--I have added MB-11 #F5635-5 to my page of Prewar Gibson Banjos for Sale.  Please contact me for more information.

September 25, 2016--TB-1 #9774-22 is a beautiful example whose original owner, Dana Schweinle Scholl of Texas, just passed away last month.

September 22, 2016--Today I've added photos of TB-Granada Mastertone #9470-28 with its beautiful new five-string conversion neck by Frank and Ricky Neat.

September 21, 2016--MB-11 #F5635-5 was shipped quite late into World War II.  How late?  Late enough that the factory apparently was out of both armrests and resonator thumb screws!

September 15, 2016--I have now uploaded the Gibson banjo shipping totals for April 1942.  Only twenty-five banjos were shipped that month, and just over half were the budget-priced style 00.  I have also added TB-1 #252-19 to my list of Prewar Gibson Banjos for Sale.  More prewar Gibson banjos will be listed for sale soon!

September 12, 2016--Today we have TB-1 #252-19, a nice example dating to 1932.

September 10, 2016--I have added TB-1 #9542-50 to my page of Prewar Gibson Banjos for Sale.  Please contact me for more information.

September 4, 2016--TB-5 Mastertone #9029-23 was owned for many decades by tenor banjoist Jim Robinson, who can be seen here putting the banjo through its paces in 2001.

August 25, 2016--Here are the Gibson banjo shipping totals for March 1942.  Out of twenty-two banjos shipped that month, three were Mastertones; one was a TB-7 top-tension while the other two were new-old-stock Florentines (one tenor and one plectrum).

August 9, 2016--Lot #9470 was the first production run of Granadas in the new one-piece-flange configuration; TB-Granada Mastertone #9470-28 is beautiful example from this lot of banjos and even retains its original hang tag!

June 9, 2016--Today's update features one of the most significant prewar Gibson banjo discoveries of recent years: RB-7 Mastertone #FG335-2 was shipped to South Africa in the summer of 1940 and just returned to the United States within the past two weeks.

May 22, 2016--Here are the Gibson banjo shipping totals for February 1942.  Thirteen of the twenty-six banjos shipped that month were five-strings, but only two of them were Mastertones.  The purge of new-old-stock "fancy banjos" continued, with two TB-Florentines being shipped to Davitt and Hanser of Cincinnati, Ohio.

May 20, 2016--Thanks to Joshua Lee Hymer for contributing photos and sound files of TB-3 Mastertone #9488-34!

April 10, 2016--Here are the Gibson banjo shipping totals for January 1942, the company's first full month of shipping in the wartime period.

April 9, 2016--Gibson made large numbers of Kalamazoo-brand tenor banjos between 1936 and 1940, but this example is one of only a very few to feature the one-piece cast flange seen on more expensive Gibson-made banjo models of the time.

March 21, 2016--Eleven-year-old Gordon Florey of Scranton, Pennsylvania was given TB-1 #917-18 as a Christmas present in 1936; he obviously never put in much playing time on the banjo, with the result that today it remains in like-new, "time capsule" condition.

March 7, 2016--#9926-28 is a beautiful, fully original TB-3 dating to 1931; it was given as collateral for a $300 loan in the early 1960s. 

March 4, 2016--Today we have a recent and noteworthy "under-the-bed" find, TB-Granada Mastertone #9522-1.  It features an especially attractive curly maple resonator veneer and the optional "Vibrato Tone-Master" armrest-activated mute.

February 28, 2016--It has obviously been far too long since I did an update!  Thanks to all of you who have let me know how much you look forward to new content on the site, and I appreciate your patience.  I have a big backlog of terrific banjos to add to the site and I'm starting with PB-3 Mastertone #9524-17, an original flathead now converted to five-string with a neck by Jim Grainger of Sparta, Tennessee.  Thanks to the anonymous owner for his contribution!

January 12, 2016--Today we have another Gibson instrument originally shipped to South Africa; this 1939 UB-1's tiny peghead is barely big enough to contain the silkscreened "Gibson" logo.

January 9, 2016--Here are the Gibson banjo shipping totals for December 1941, the month in which the United States entered World War II.

January 5, 2016--Welcome to our eighteenth year!  We start 2016 off with TB-1 #9542-50; it dates to 1930 and remains in original condition with the exception of a replaced tension hoop.

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