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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: 1923 Gibson '0' open back

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

darryl k. - Posted - 01/28/2020:  10:31:47

I've had this banjo for a few years, but, like all my former banjos, which have been quite a few, it's time for something different.
I got this banjo on a trade, so am not clear on its value. Any advice?
1923 Gibson. Replaced tuners with aged top quality (name I forget...could look up). Still have the original pancake tuners which I will include.
Frank Neat neck.

pastorharry - Posted - 01/28/2020:  10:39:19

No idea on pricing, but I really like that banjo !!

Emiel - Posted - 01/28/2020:  11:41:45

Yes, cool banjo…

maneckep - Posted - 01/28/2020:  13:05:28

I sold a similar Gibson a few years ago when the market was much better for $1200. Not sure what yours is worth in today's market. My guestimate would be $800 - $1000.

Eric A - Posted - 01/28/2020:  13:18:08

Is that an 11" rim? I can't decide if it looks smallish.

darryl k. - Posted - 01/28/2020:  13:34:20

Rim is 10 1/2 inch.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 01/28/2020:  15:51:01

That looks like a TB3 pot, as it has the Gibson "tone tube."

darryl k. - Posted - 01/28/2020:  22:44:53

Really?. I have no idea. Pretty sure I was told it was a style 0. But I could be wrong. What kind of tonering would an 0 have? Is this a ball bearing? Total Gibson novice here.

Emiel - Posted - 01/29/2020:  02:06:15

There could be balls too, or just the tube…

mikehalloran - Posted - 02/04/2020:  20:51:24

Definitely not an 0. Those might have a decal applied later but I before the ‘late ‘20s, an 0, 00 or Jr had no headstock logo and were not covered by the Gibson lifetime guarantee.

No matter, it is definitely a 3. An original RB-3 has a 24 fret fretboard with an extension, no scoop. I've never seen one different including mine that I sold to David Grisman. 

It would be a shame if someone altered an original fretboard for that scoop but what's happened, happened. There are enough of these out there that an original 'board can be duplicated.


Originally posted by Emiel

There could be balls too, or just the tube…

Only if someone removed the balls.

A 3 has a brass tube sitting on balls resting on washers. Put a mirror up there and you should see them. No springs—that was the 4.

You will see three holes on the rim where the trapdoor resonator was attached. Even if filled in, you can always find them.

Look up Buell Kazee on YouTube to see him playing one of his three 1923/4 RB-3s. Quite the frailer, he did fine without a scoop. His banjos all have the trapdoor resonator and the elevated "finger-rest" that we now call a pick guard.

Get a lesson from Rev. Kazee himself

Buell Kazee banjo lesson 1969

Edited by - mikehalloran on 02/04/2020 21:05:07

mikehalloran - Posted - 02/04/2020:  21:28:52

Part 2 of that lesson if YouTube doesn't send it to you.

Buell Kazee lesson Part 2

There were done for Seattle PBS in 1969. It was fun to watch these again. I like the multiple closeups of each hand.

Besides these videos, there are other YouTube recordings of his early records with old album cover pics Well worth checking out.

A relative of the Reverend is/was a BHO member. A grandson, I think. He didn't post often but I learned a few things including the multiple backup banjos. His wife also played one.

Emiel - Posted - 02/05/2020:  01:48:42


Originally posted by mikehalloran


It would be a shame if someone altered an original fretboard for that scoop but what's happened, happened. There are enough of these out there that an original 'board can be duplicated.


Mike, have you read in the original post that the 5-string neck is not original to the banjo, but made by Frank Neat?

mikehalloran - Posted - 02/05/2020:  04:32:06

I don’t know how I missed that. Thanks.

Obviously, I’m a fan of these. I was always going to buy another after I sold mine but there was always somewhere else to spend the money.

Eric A - Posted - 02/05/2020:  05:19:00

Thanks Mike, those Buell Kazee vids are terrific! Every time somebody thinks they are onto something new, it turns out the old guys were doing it all along!

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