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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Seeking info on Gibson TB3 Sn 11001A-2


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/382988

Mark Ralston - Posted - 05/04/2022:  06:48:38


I'm not familiar with dating Gibson banjo s. This one is Serial # 11001A-2, Ball-bearing suspended tubular tone ring with 59 holes. 24 hooks, ivoroid pick guard and wire armrest. Scale length 19 3/8". I'm told it may be an early TB3. I'd like to know the year of manufacture and get an idea of value.

Thanks in advance for your comments......






kd8tzc - Posted - 05/04/2022:  06:52:53


Sorry, I don't have any info for you, but I just wanted to ask, what was the purpose of ball bearings supporting the tone ring?

BTuno - Posted - 05/04/2022:  07:10:17


That FON is not listed in Spann, but I do have notes of a previous report. The A suffix, indicates it is likely the first TB-3 from 1924. The finish color seem unusual, perhaps some better photos of the back of the neck and side of the rim would help. Otherwise, it looks to be in great shape.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/04/2022:  07:10:46


Early TB 3, 1922-24 probably 1924. That's not really a ball-bearing tone ring, although it is supported on balls but not the later springs, and doesn't have the brazed-on ring which made the 1925-6 models look like arch top banjos .This one has a 10 1/2 inch rim which is not as thick as the later Gibson banjos. Many of these had what is known as a "Trapdoor"--a flat flush mounted resonator with a hinged section that could be positioned either open or closed. Check the rim for three screw holes, as the trapdoor was mounted that way. These early Gibsons are not as sought after as the later models because they don't convert well to 5 string banjos and are not what bluegrass people are looking for. It's nice that you have the original tailpiece cover, which goes missing most of the time, and also have the pickguard. A nice banjo, but not a really valuable one.

RioStat - Posted - 05/04/2022:  08:07:00


quote:

Originally posted by kd8tzc

Sorry, I don't have any info for you, but I just wanted to ask, what was the purpose of ball bearings supporting the tone ring?






Here ya go....have at it ! smiley



siminoff.net/gibson

eljimb0 - Posted - 05/04/2022:  10:50:34


Love that tailpiece!

Jarvie - Posted - 05/06/2022:  14:26:00


As for the solid (no springs) ball bearings, they are to my thought similar to the concept in Electrics/Whyte Ladies, and even more like many Morrison, and some Washburns, of having a fairly solid tone ring with a multi- point mounting to the wood rim. I am not sure of the acoustic concept, but it certainly was a "thing". No relation of course to Whyte Laydie gin (which was a new thing to me). On these banjos, as mentioned, there are no springs but simply a series of ball bearings set into holes drilled about the rim which the hollow tube rests against.

jwold - Posted - 05/06/2022:  17:07:57


quote:

Originally posted by kd8tzc

Sorry, I don't have any info for you, but I just wanted to ask, what was the purpose of ball bearings supporting the tone ring?






I'm certainly not an expert, but I believe the springs and ball bearings underneath the tone ring were an attempt to keep the skin head taught depending on fluctuations in humidity.  No plastic heads invented yet.



Or like so many other "inventions and patents" surrounding banjos in the early part of the last century, it could've been the latest miracle "tone enhancer."

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/07/2022:  06:06:35


All that I've read indicates that the bearings and springs were not for keeping head tension consistent.

kbiinde2 - Posted - 05/08/2022:  13:04:36


Just an opinion.. a solid tone ring fit in a shallow groove on the rim would have a somewhat muted ring when the strings were plucked or strummed, when the tone ring rest at points on the ball-bearing arrangement, could this possibly aid in the vibration of the tone ring, and thus the quality of sound produced (un-muted).. thoughts.?? kb

Emiel - Posted - 05/08/2022:  13:12:57


The ball-bearing tonering was developed at Gibson under Lloyd Loar. In an article he wrote that the idea was to have a tonering that could vibrate freely.



This is the article:



hangoutstorage.com/banjohangou...82008.jpg


Edited by - Emiel on 05/08/2022 13:22:50

Emiel - Posted - 05/08/2022:  13:58:16


quote:

Originally posted by Emiel

The ball-bearing tonering was developed at Gibson under Lloyd Loar. In an article he wrote that the idea was to have a tonering that could vibrate freely.



This is the article:



hangoutstorage.com/banjohangou...82008.jpg






Looking at the article again, he talks about freely floating… If there is real science behind this… anyway, that's how it was promoted.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/08/2022:  16:39:13


Probably a theory prevalent at the time and spread about as gospel by a marketing department.

There may be some wisdom here, though. There are many who say they've improved their banjos by making certain the tone ring is a slip-fit and doesn't bind on the rim. (Stelling's wedge design kind of disagrees with that notion, though.)

TomL - Posted - 05/09/2022:  16:32:21


I think the springs were to keep any of the ball bearings from getting loose and rattling against the tubular tone ring. Just my thought.

At the time a lot of makers were using tone rings suspended off the rim. Whyte Ladies had the scalloped hoop, Orpheums/Paramounts had metal staples/rods that the tubular tone ring sat on.

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