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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Identifying a Gibson - not sure if fake.


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: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/374488

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:22:06


I have come across I guy that I know through some family that bought a Gibson in 1970 (he’s pretty sure it was 1970). He played it for a few years but eventually gave it up to focus on other things, and it has sat in his closet for all these years and now he wants to get rid of it. I don’t know the make/model, although the serial number indicates it could be from the late 60’s?

I’m trying to find out if it’s legit and if so, what kind of Gibson is it. It doesn’t have a sticker on the rim like I have seen on many Gibsons, so that has raised some concern. It does have the original case though. One of my main concerns is that I saw that somebody posted a thread on here over a year ago wanting to identify their Gibson banjo, and it had the exact same serial number as this one, except it was a different banjo for sure by the pictures. It didn’t look anything like this one. So I don’t know. Any details/help would be greatly appreciated!

OM45GE - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:33:31


Nobody is going to be able to offer much of an opinion without detailed photos.

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:40:38


The pictures are in the media tab of my profile. Not sure how to attach pictures to a post

mike gregory - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:44:02


Welcome to the HangOut.



Please post photos.





Front of peghead, back of peghead, tailpiece, inside of body, full front view, full back view, heel.

Case proves nothing, same way a box labelled "GRAPE NUTS" may contain neither grapes nor nuts.

Bob Smakula - Posted - 04/20/2021:  11:58:36


quote:

Originally posted by asparks78

The pictures are in the media tab of my profile. Not sure how to attach pictures to a post






The pictures come out bigger and you will get more comments from the banjo hangout brain trust when posted directly to the forum page.



To add photos; Reply to this post, then scroll down until you see the word Attachments. Under that is a button that says Photos. Click on that and you will see the photos in your media file. Then click on the  photos you want to add. When done click post reply and we'll start chatting about your banjo. 



 



Bob Smakula

kyleb - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:12:27


I can see the pictures pretty well. If you post the number on the back of the peg head we can date it. But it looks like a late 1969 to early 70s Gibson rb250. They are the least desirable Gibson mastertone me due to the poor quality standards at that time. But command around 1800 dollars depending on condition and if you find a buyer. I don't see anyone faking one of these.

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:14:43


quote:

Originally posted by Bob Smakula

quote:

Originally posted by asparks78

The pictures are in the media tab of my profile. Not sure how to attach pictures to a post






The pictures come out bigger and you will get more comments from the banjo hangout brain trust when posted directly to the forum page.



To add photos; Reply to this post, then scroll down until you see the word Attachments. Under that is a button that says Photos. Click on that and you will see the photos in your media file. Then click on the  photos you want to add. When done click post reply and we'll start chatting about your banjo. 



 



Bob Smakula






 





 

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:15:15


899389 is the serial


Edited by - asparks78 on 04/20/2021 12:17:19





 

J.Albert - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:34:23


That's an early 70's RB-250.

The serial number on the peghead will give a better idea of the date.

Looks to be pretty much original, with the exception of a couple of screws holding the tuner buttons on.



The armrest (if original) should have TWO brackets and "Gibson" engraved on it, like the tailpiece.



Take a GOOD LOOK at it, all over.



Check the condition of the binding. ALL of the binding. Some of these suffer from "binding disintegration" and you wouldn't want one of those.



Check the rim, both inside and out. Make sure the plies aren't delaminating.

Also check "the tube" of the tube-and-plate flange. Make sure it's not "getting distorted", and that "the bead" on the rim that the tube presses against isn't breaking off.



A little finish checking can be overlooked, but you probably wouldn't want one that has the finish just riddled with checking.



And of course, make sure it sounds ok. Some of these weren't that good, but others are quite good.



Price?

Offer 1,700-1,800.

That would be "a good enough deal" for me.

Old Hickory - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:41:15


That is definitely a 1970s era Gibson RB-250. One telling detail is the three-piece laminated neck. I don't think anybody copied that when making Gibson copies. And I don't think anybody was copying the '70s model, which is probably the least respected Mastertone ever. (I own one that's been modified, so I'm not knocking these. Just reporting the truth.)



There's been discussion here before about Gibson repeating some serial numbers. Don't recall which number range or years were involved. I wouldn't be concerned.



As to the absent Gibson Mastertone label or decal inside the rim, I'm pretty sure the 70s RB-250 did not have that.



This one has the original multi-ply rim. So you'll want to take a cloe look at the rounded bead of wood that retains the tube portion of the two-piece flange. This is a documented point of failure on these. Apparently there's too little of the outer laminate remaining after shaping and it sometimes delaminates.  Also, this one could have the lightweight tone ring that weighs a pound or so less than a typical ring.



So see how the banjo looks to you and play it to decide for yourself how it sounds to you.



This one has the original -- or at least period correct -- Gibson tuners on 1 and 4.  The Keith tuners are old, which is known by their saying "Scruggs." That's cool.  You can get a genuine Keith tuner replacement screw from Beacon Banjo.



Pay well under $2,000.



Good luck.

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  12:45:46


Okay, good info from you guys. Everything you’re looking for checks out. The guy wants $1500 for it, and honestly it plays incredibly well in my opinion. It sounds good, has a good feel to it. I just wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was buying.

Bob Smakula - Posted - 04/20/2021:  13:03:04


Safe to say it is a Gibson RB-250. Gibson serial numbers from the early 1970s are not exactly precise. Sure, it could be a 1970, but more than likely the banjo was made in 1972 or 1973. Well maybe 1971, But no later than 1975 when they changed serial number protocol.

The precise year will not effect the value.

I did notice that the binding on the resonator is crumbling. Replacing binding and finishing the new binding to get keep the vintage appearance is a real pain, but definitely a job that is necessary.

Bob Smakula
smakula.com

RioStat - Posted - 04/20/2021:  13:25:48


Looks like it may have a set of original "Bump-Scruggs-Keith" D-Tuners on it. They're probably worth a couple hundred $$ themselves

asparks78 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  13:36:49


One more question, would anybody happen to know if the armrest is made of nickel or chrome? It does appear to be the original armrest. Not sure what kind Gibson was putting on their banjos back in those days. I have a pretty bad nickel allergy so I usually have to replace armrests with wooden ones if I plan on playing it.

kyleb - Posted - 04/20/2021:  13:46:49


1500 is a deal. Hell  talk him down ton1400 . I love my 72 rb250. Gibson isn't making any more banjos and that's a good deal.


Edited by - kyleb on 04/20/2021 13:47:20

rcc56 - Posted - 04/20/2021:  13:50:34


It's hard to tell for sure from a picture, but it looks like nickel to me.
Nickel has a touch of yellow or gold in the color, while chrome is more bluish. If it looks yellow compared to a car bumper, it's probably nickel.
Zach Hoyt makes nice wooden armrests at a very reasonable price. He is a member here.

beegee - Posted - 04/20/2021:  14:17:48


nickel-plated, and they have a tendency to turn rather mossy-looking.$1500 is a decent price,

Old Hickory - Posted - 04/20/2021:  14:18:10


quote:

Originally posted by asparks78

One more question, would anybody happen to know if the armrest is made of nickel or chrome? It does appear to be the original armrest. Not sure what kind Gibson was putting on their banjos back in those days. I have a pretty bad nickel allergy so I usually have to replace armrests with wooden ones if I plan on playing it.






Based on the wear on mine that reveals the underlyng metal, I believe these armrests are nickel-plated brass. I believe all the metal is going to be nickel plated, except the Keith tuners, which are stainless steel.



If you want to maintain the original look, here's an inexpensive chrome-plated two-legged armrest.  I wouldn't be surprised if you can find one for even less on eBay. But people change out armrests all the time and don't care about the original look. I think those Thinline corian armrests are pretty cool looking. But they're $64!



Any parts you change out, save for the future in case you decide to sell the banjo. Might matter to a future buyer.



Necks on these are a comfortable width side-to-side. I find them chunky above the 5th fret. In fact, when I sent my neck for reworking to clean up a previous owner's heel modification, I had the neck reprofiled. So glad I did.



$1500 is a good price.  This looks to be in good condition and has lots of original parts. I agree with the suggestion of trying to get it for $1400.  Maybe offer $1300 or $1325 and meet in the middle.  If the seller won't budge AND you like the banjo, then pay the $1500 and be happy. Or if you don't want to haggle, also pay the $1500 and be happy.



Good luck.

mikehalloran - Posted - 04/20/2021:  15:01:21


>There's been discussion here before about Gibson repeating some serial numbers. Don't recall which number range or years were involved. I wouldn't be concerned.<



Late 1961–1971



The plating appears to be chrome—typical of late '60s–early '70s RB-250.



The MADE IN U.S.A. stamp indicates 1969 or later. The fretboard inlays post indicate 1970. 1971 was a watershead year for Gibson. Many guitars, banjos and basses were redesigned that year and hit the stores in 1972.

RioStat - Posted - 04/21/2021:  07:17:48


quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

>There's been discussion here before about Gibson repeating some serial numbers. Don't recall which number range or years were involved. I wouldn't be concerned.<



Late 1961–1971



The plating appears to be chrome—typical of late '60s–early '70s RB-250.



The MADE IN U.S.A. stamp indicates 1969 or later. The fretboard inlays post indicate 1970. 1971 was a watershead year for Gibson. Many guitars, banjos and basses were redesigned that year and hit the stores in 1972.






Don't believe I've ever seen chrome-plated tube-and-plate flange on 70's RB 250's.......

mikehalloran - Posted - 04/21/2021:  11:24:40


quote:

Originally posted by RioStat

quote:

Originally posted by mikehalloran

>There's been discussion here before about Gibson repeating some serial numbers. Don't recall which number range or years were involved. I wouldn't be concerned.<



Late 1961–1971



The plating appears to be chrome—typical of late '60s–early '70s RB-250.



The MADE IN U.S.A. stamp indicates 1969 or later. The fretboard inlays post indicate 1970. 1971 was a watershead year for Gibson. Many guitars, banjos and basses were redesigned that year and hit the stores in 1972.






Don't believe I've ever seen chrome-plated tube-and-plate flange on 70's RB 250's.......






I'll readily concede faulty memory on this. I do remember lusting after a 1970 or '71 bow tie an a local music store near my high school—that one was definitely chrome. Interestingly (or not—this is Gibson) the 1970 brochure mentions the plating (chrome or gold) of every model except the 250.



Not that Gibson catalogs are known for being correct. This mid '70s banjo page mentions the RB-250 and 100 being nickel while showing an RB-100 that is clearly chrome plated. It also mentions the RB-350 — anyone remember those?



Too bad we can't post png files — that scan is much clearer before I converted to jpeg



 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 04/21/2021 11:28:13



 

Tom Meisenheimer - Posted - 04/24/2021:  10:20:21


(honestly it plays incredibly well in my opinion. It sounds good, has a good feel to it).

Best reason to get it.

$1,500 is a good price. Don't buy it as an investment. Buy it to PLAY it.

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