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For Sale: Gibson RB-00 Pre War Original Five String with Full Thickness Rim

Posted By: Karl Smakula (+18) | Rate Member
 Member 8+ Years  Verified Seller  Returns allowed with money back refund

$3,900 USD

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Those of you who follow the “True Crime” section of might be familiar with this banjo and its bizarre story, but if not, take a minute and give this article a read.

The gentleman whom I was able to return the banjo to wound up selling it back to me about a year ago. Given the history this banjo and I have together now, I intended on making it a keeper. I played gigs with it and took it to festivals, but I never could get used to the feel of the neck so it wound up getting delegated back to its very cool brown Lifton case. Despite what my house looks like, I don’t fancy myself a collector so it should go to a new home where it is used and appreciated.

This banjo is an original five string pre war RB-00 with a full thickness rim, which is uncommon but not unheard of for the model. Like many examples of style 00 instruments, it does not have a Factory Order Number so we can’t pinpoint an exact year of manufacture. The neck is mahogany, which is odd as most 00 necks are maple.

As the Bluegrass Today article notes, this particular example was highly modified by the Rual Yarborough shop in Alabama. Pearl inlay was added to the headstock overlay and a fake Mastertone Sticker was affixed to the interior of the rim. The resonator was rebound and a layer of binding was added to the top. The original one piece Doehler flange is intact, but most of the rest of the hardware is circa 70s Stu-Mac. A fourth resonator lug and thumb screw were added. The rim was cut for a Steve Ryan No Hole Tonering. Most of the instrument was refinished, though the interior of the the rim appears to still feature original lacquer finish.

I had new frets installed after the first time I purchased it. The gentleman I got it back to took it to the Huber shop, which reset the neck and installed a new tailpiece and Huber head.

Last time I had the banjo listed for sale, someone asked me about possible delaminating in the rim. I took it apart (which I really don’t want to do again) and found there were some gaps and shallow delaminations in the rim under the tonering. The gentleman I returned it to asked Steve Huber to take a look at that potential problem and Steve told him not to worry about them.

Some knowledgeable sources have suggested to me that the brown Lifton case it comes in would have originally been from a Bacon and Day instrument that had a knee mute. This theory makes sense to me and feel free to let me know your thoughts on the matter.

This is a tough one to price, but I do not think you can find a more inexpensive prewar Gibson banjo with an original five string neck, a full thickness rim, and an original one piece flange. This is less expensive than the very nice 1938 TB-1 conversion I also have listed for sale.

Thanks for looking and feel free to reach out with any questions.

$3900 plus shipping. I can include copies of the police report from 1981 if you’d like.


United States, Nashville, TN



Payment Methods:

Check/Money Order, Cash (in person), Paypal

Payment Option Notes:

Venmo and Zelle Accepted

Return Policy:

Returns accepted. Buyer must contact seller within 2 days to arrange return. Refund will be given as Money Back. Buyer pays return shipping.

Condition of Item(s):

Used - Very Good Condition




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