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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Help identify this Gibson prewar 6 string guitar banjo


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/374691

Steeler4166 - Posted - 04/29/2021:  16:59:27


Hello everyone, I'm new to banjo hangout. I recently acquired a Gibson 6 string guitar banjo (gb). I will attach photos. I believe it's one of the earilist ones from 1918 thru 1922. It has The Gibson in cursive on the neck, it has an open back with one Wooden dowel and not the later added metal one, it has the serial number 750 on the side of the Wooden dowel and what I've real is that the earilist ones used a 3 digit serial number in the sequence with the 4 string tenor banjos. People online seem to refer similar looking ones as gb3, or gb4 or gb6 but I think the very early ones were just gb. Any help pinning this down would be greatly appreciated. Also, it's missing one of the hook and nuts and missing one of the tuner bushings. If anyone know when I could find replacements that would be great. Thanks for your help.



Rick


Edited by - Steeler4166 on 04/29/2021 17:13:55



 

rcc56 - Posted - 04/29/2021:  19:11:01


Yes, that's an early one. It may very well be from the period when the model was simply called "GB."  I'll guess the instrument was made no later than 1922, most likely earlier.  If it came into my shop for evaluation, I would probably call it "circa 1920," especially if there is no tone ring visible from the inside of the rim.  The bound "mocassin" peghead and fleur de lis inlay are characteristic of style 4.  Later GB-4's have a "tone tube" with multiple holes, which was eventually replaced by the ball-bearing tone rings, and finally the arch top and flat head tone rings.



I don't have any info on 3 digit factory order numbers. The majority of these early Gibsons had 5 digit numbers, often followed by a dash and 1 or 2 more numbers.



Finding an original tuner bushing will be difficult. Stew-mac has made a couple of different versions of early Gibson style bushings that may or may not fit correctly. If you will measure the peghole, I'll see if I have a narrow lip Stew-mac bushing that might fit.



We can't help you with the hook and nut without a nice picture.


Edited by - rcc56 on 04/29/2021 19:22:44

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/30/2021:  04:58:29


I can't really add much to what Bob says. I believe this one is very early, and it appears to have the hollow "Kraske" rim. I'd also guess that the bridge and the case are original equipment, and nice to have.


Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 04/30/2021 05:00:34

Steeler4166 - Posted - 04/30/2021:  05:54:48


Thanks,,, it was a really nice find. Not sure if I'll keep it or sell it but either way it's a great piece of histiry.

Leslie R - Posted - 04/30/2021:  06:09:20


quote:

Originally posted by rcc56

Yes, that's an early one. It may very well be from the period when the model was simply called "GB."  I'll guess the instrument was made no later than 1922, most likely earlier.  If it came into my shop for evaluation, I would probably call it "circa 1920," especially if there is no tone ring visible from the inside of the rim.  The bound "mocassin" peghead and fleur de lis inlay are characteristic of style 4.  Later GB-4's have a "tone tube" with multiple holes, which was eventually replaced by the ball-bearing tone rings, and finally the arch top and flat head tone rings.



I don't have any info on 3 digit factory order numbers. The majority of these early Gibsons had 5 digit numbers, often followed by a dash and 1 or 2 more numbers.



Finding an original tuner bushing will be difficult. Stew-mac has made a couple of different versions of early Gibson style bushings that may or may not fit correctly. If you will measure the peghole, I'll see if I have a narrow lip Stew-mac bushing that might fit.



We can't help you with the hook and nut without a nice picture.






Bob, do you know if all GB4's were 14 inch rim banjo-guitars ? 



Likewise, have you seen any GB3's built prior to 1925 ? 



Also, it's been my understanding that Kraske rim Gibson's are much desired for their tone. Looks to me, you have become the owner (some say custodian) of a really fine banjo.



Thanks

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/30/2021:  13:56:36


"Also, it's been my understanding that Kraske rim Gibson's are much desired for their tone. Looks to me, you have become the owner (some say custodian) of a really fine banjo."

I've heard otherwise. I suppose, though, that tone, being a matter of personal taste, one would get a wide range of opinions on that.

Steeler4166 - Posted - 04/30/2021:  14:06:02


Thanks, the more I find out the more excited I am to have it.

rcc56 - Posted - 04/30/2021:  14:46:44


To answer Leslie's questions: Most, if not all of the pre-1925 guitar banjos had 14" rims, and most examples that we see are style 4's. I may have seen one plainer model many years ago, but I do not remember anything for sure. My references show that a GB-1 and/or a GB-3 was available in the early days.



The pre-1925 banjos vary considerably in their details, so it is possible that some smaller and/or plainer guitar banjos were built. We do not see early Gibson guitar banjos very often, they were not built in large numbers.



I have viewed some other pictures of Richard's banjo. It is perhaps the earliest Gibson GB that I recall seeing. The appointments are those of style 4, but his is early enough that it might have simply been called "GB" with no model suffix. My opinion is that his instrument was probably not built any later than 1920.


Edited by - rcc56 on 04/30/2021 14:47:17

Jarvie - Posted - 05/07/2021:  16:48:37


Bob Smakula has some hooks and nuts listed from this period Gibson. Without a photo I can't tell if they are a match, but this was a common style for these: smakula.com/images/BanjoParts/...-4H+N.jpg

smakula.com/vbp.html


Edited by - Jarvie on 05/07/2021 16:49:17

Steeler4166 - Posted - 05/07/2021:  17:11:39


Thanks Jarvis, I actually spoke to him today and sent him some photos of mine. Havent heard back yet.



 

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