Recently the age of my Gibson RB-250 has come into question. Looking at the serial number, I assumed it was built in 2001, BUT, the only Gibson serial number system I am familiar with, is the line of Electric Guitars. I was wondering if there was any diferance. And how you read a Gibson Banjo Serial number. I hope to be able to put a date on it...
Some photos of my banjo are located on my BHO homepage
Chris, the first two digits indicates what year the banjo was built (00 means 2000), the next two digits indicates the month it was built (02 would mean Feb.), then there should be a dash and another number following the dash. This number could be a single, double or triple digit number. This number indicates which banjo in that batch, that particular model is. For example, if the banjo was an RB-250 and there was a 10 after the dash, that would mean that that particular banjo was the 10th RB-250 built. SO, an RB-250 with the serial number, 0002-10, would be a 2000 year model, built in February and it was the 10th one built that year. Hope this helps!
Oh yeah, and sometimes the model number is stamped in front of the other numbers. For instance, 250-0002-10.
Chris, is the flange on your banjo a 2 piece or 1 piece? And is the rim black? If the flange is a 2-pc, the rim black and the neck a 3-pc (which it appears to be, I may be wrong though), your 250 is most likely from the '70s.
Kalle Kockum, Sweden I wish I was as cool as Levon Helm...
If it has "Made in USA" stamped underneath the serial number, it was made in 1970 or later. If not, it was made prior to 1970, but not any earlier than 1968. The shape of the headstock was changed in 1968 from the "flyswatter" style (seen on most of the "bowtie" models) to the "fiddle style", which Gibson used throughout the 70's and '80's. It is an RB-250 model and I think it does have the tube & plate flange.
I bought my rb-250 new from Venemon music in Virginia in 1976.
My serial number is 00201742.
Unless they used a really schizophrenic numbering scheme, I would say your banjo is 1976 or slightly older?
Actually, the following site (mentioned previously by some one on this list) confirms that your banjo is indeed a 1976 model: http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Support...umberSearch/ The site clearly says: "From 1975-1977 the number is typically found on a decal on the back of the headstock. This should be an 8 digit number that can be dated by the 1st and 2nd digits as follows:
99 = 1975 00= 1976 06 = 1977"
It then goes on to describe the rather more complex scheme introduced in 1978, which is irrelevant to your serial number.
I have another with identical neck that has serial number 511316. Also has the "Made in USA." I bought it at a festival from a dealer in a booth. That number is puzzling me though... Any ideas about that number?