Gibson TB-800 Mastertone Deluxe Model Tenor Banjo, c. 1968, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, cherry sunburst finish, laminated maple rim and resonator, maple neck, ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case. This instrument is a 1960's Gibson TB-800, the company's high-end banjo of the period and a rather rare one as well, with only 52 total shipped from 1964-69. At the time there was increased demand for 5-string banjos due to the rising popularity of bluegrass, and these very fancy tenors are actually much rarer then the corresponding RB-800. Both versions represent Gibson's return to elaborately decorated banjo designs after decades of offering only comparatively plain instruments. The Mastertone TB-800 was introduced as a new the top-of-the-line banjo for Gibson in 1964, not an exact re-issue of previous models but an amalgamation of older style features. The engraved pearl "MASTERTONE" fingerboard block harks back to the 1920's, and indeed the entire instrument is a direct descendant of the fancy 4-string banjos of that era. All the hardware except for the internal tone ring and the flange is gold-plated and engraved. The ebony fingerboard is bound with colored wood marquetry on the sides; the same inlaid wood pattern is used on both edges of the resonator. The headstock shape is the early 1930's slimmer profile. The resonator has heavily bound edges and two circles of 3-ply inlay on the back. The full dual co-ordinator rods are also employed. The finish is a eye-popping cherry with a sunburst to yellow on the neck and resonator back. This TB-800 was originally as expensive as Gibson's high-end guitars, and was a thoroughly professional instrument. These very expensive banjos were generally built only to order, and sometimes the features can vary. The only real oddity on this banjo is the lack of a serial number which makes it impossible to date exactly, though the logo style suggests 1968-9. The window for its construction is fairly narrow anyway.
This is a very flashy looking and very powerful sounding banjo.Overall length is 34 1/2 in. (87.6 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/16 in. (30 mm.).
Vintage Gibson Mastertone Tenor Banjo in good condition. All original hardware. Beautiful maple finish.
All hardware is gold plated, even the coordinator rod washers!
Planetary tuners, clamshell tail piece and arm rest all sport the Gibson mark.
Ebony fretboard with hearts and flowers mother of pearl inlays. Some wear on Mastertone inlay near pot.
Full size Mahogany rim in excellent shape with original Mastertone label intact.
All parts are original expect for a new Grover bridge and a new weatherking head.
Areas of notable wear on this banjo includes loss of gold plating on exposed areas of the pot assembly and some finish wear on the lower side of the resonator and neck heel.
All areas of wear are shown in the pictures. Please review and ask any questions. None of the wear affects playability or the tone of this vintage instrument.
This banjo is a joy to play! A real classic sound for Irish, jazz, pop or what have you.
United States, Irvine, CA, 92620
Check/Money Order, Cash (in person), Paypal
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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