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Jan 10, 2018 - 1:41:48 PM
1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

I need help from the BHO gurus. I have found an early to mid 70's RB 250 that has serial number 962XXX. My first inquiry is how many have seen 250's with a 3 piece neck? This one has a multi-ply neck like a 350, 500 and 800. I did a google image search and saw one other with a 3 piece but the rest were all 1 piece......as far as I could tell from the pics. So.....tell me what you all know about that please!

Next, I looked the serial number up on banjophiles and of course like most of the post war serial numbers they are sketchy at best with 962XXX possibly being 1970, 1971 or 1972. BUT....when I look at production numbers (on the same site) I see it broke down as to how many of each model TB-PB-RB that were made plum thru 1980! How is it that I can have THE serial number and not be able to put an exact year on it BUT we/they know exactly how many of each model was built?? So......is there a way to tell EXACTLY what year that 962XXX is?

Before the questions are asked, this is a tube and plate, fiddle peghead, black jelly roll rim, no consintric rings, Made In USA on the back of the peghead banjo......not a Bowtie.

Any and all help or ideas are appreciated!
Thanks,

Robby

Edited by - Robby Boone on 01/10/2018 13:44:23

Jan 10, 2018 - 2:20:06 PM
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roydsjr

USA

477 posts
Joined May 17, 2007

My Brother in law's 1976 RB-250 is a 3 ply Neck, (not counting the ear wood for the peg head). He bought it new in 1977 from a local dealer. His is tube and plate, black multiply rim. No concentric rings. Fiddle peg head. I don't know the serial number. Stamped on back of Peg head "made in the USA" . Serial number is located there too.

Jan 10, 2018 - 2:49:59 PM
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xnavyguy Players Union Member

USA

6585 posts
Joined Dec 5, 2007

I make no claim to be a Guru but I've worked on a lot of early 70's RB-250's, including my own. All had a laminated (3 piece) mahogany neck. Like mine, on some, it is difficult to see the the center piece unless you get the light just right.

Mine was purchased by the original owner in 1972, Serial Number 178978 if that's any help. It "had" a black multi-ply rim but now has a Tony Pass thin skirt block rim.

Jan 10, 2018 - 3:04:44 PM
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I'm also not a guru, but I've seen quite a few laminated necks in pictures of 70s RB-250s on the internet.

Here's one.

But from searching just now, I found discussions where people said theirs had conventional one-piece necks. I get the impression from those discussions that one piece was early and three-piece was later. But that's just an impression based on what people say they own or have seen.

I think I see a center ply in this one. It's described as a 1971. If the year is correct, that shoots my theory of this being a later feature. 

Edited by - Old Hickory on 01/10/2018 15:10:16

Jan 10, 2018 - 4:02:59 PM

1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

Hey guys, thanks for the quick response! And, if you can help me learn more or something I did not know about these old banjos you're ALL gurus in my mind.......I appreciate your knowledge, help and input!!!

My memory is probably fuzzy on these 70's 250's as it has probably been over 30 years since I have helt, felt or smelt one. I "thought" they were all one piece necks but I am having to recant that and think differently after Jerry saying that sometimes you had to look close to see it.......it is absolutely possible that I just never noticed it especially if the mahogany had similar grain and took stain the same way.......it WOULD be hard to notice unless you were going over it with a fine toothed comb. And I wasn't, I was just playing a banjo......listening to it more than looking at it......I'm STILL that way.

Ken.....on the early vs late theory, your guess is as good as mine but I "think" I know for sure that the banjo I am looking at is a 70-71 or 72. Thats taking the info that I get from a Gibson guitar site and BanjoPhiles as truth. So, with that, yea it kinda blows your theory but who knows!!! But maybe not either, let's turn it around and say that the early ones had the 3 piece and the late had one piece?! That might work.

Roy.......I'm curious as to the Made In USA stamped on the peghead. Here's where I might get into trouble and someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I thought ONLY 1970 thru 1975 had the stamping. I know that your Brother in law bought it new, but could it be a "hold over" 1975 model??

Anyway this is fun for me to try and find out as much as I can about this instrument.

Roy, Jerry and Ken......I appreciate your help, thank you all very much.

Robby

Edited by - Robby Boone on 01/10/2018 16:06:55

Jan 10, 2018 - 5:28:18 PM
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roydsjr

USA

477 posts
Joined May 17, 2007

I'm not sure of that. My Brother in law called Gibson and checked with them about the serial # and they told him it was a 1976 model. Anyway, whoever talked with him might have been wrong? It is like you said, there is ???? marks about the actual dates of the serial #s during those years.

Jan 10, 2018 - 6:50:22 PM
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beegee

USA

20314 posts
Joined Jul 6, 2005

Gibson doesn't know diddly-squat about their production numbers.

They made some multi-ply necks in 68-69. Given this number I'd say late 69 or very early 70 as they were transitioning into the 2-piece flange era.

Jan 11, 2018 - 6:43:04 AM

1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Gibson doesn't know diddly-squat about their production numbers.

They made some multi-ply necks in 68-69. Given this number I'd say late 69 or very early 70 as they were transitioning into the 2-piece flange era.


Bob,

I have seen transition banjos that you mention, the 68-69 models that have the 3 piece neck, BUT, all of these (which aren't many) that I have seen were the fiddle head, bowtie inlay, maple banjos that were called 250s.  This one is mahogany, so I hope that your theory that it's early is correct. 

Robby

Jan 11, 2018 - 6:47:51 AM
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1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

Thanks guys for the input and trust me I understand that Gibson themselves don't know anything.....about much of anything! The Gibson guitar site that I mentioned as reference was one a few independent sites that I looked at, of course they probably got their info from THE Gibson site....who knows. I also understand that this vintage in banjos (1965-1987) is not considered much and is usually deemed as junk only useful for a part or two and of course kindling wood, so nobody has really taken time to investigate the serial numbers and what year that they might actually represent.......and probably never will.

I feel about these un-loved banjos like I do raised heads, hoops and ball bearings.......you have to love them for what they are and what they can give. I believe that ALL the variations of Gibson banjos have something to offer and that we cannot and should not group a certain options that they came with as junk that needs to be immediately replaced before the banjo is even given a chance. While I absolutely agree that there are dark years for Gibson banjos, I have to also say that I have been very surprised several times by these "less than" banjos.

Robby

Jan 11, 2018 - 10:32:13 AM
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beegee

USA

20314 posts
Joined Jul 6, 2005

I have seen some of these banjos that were very good. I have also seen some bow-ties that were very sorry. I replaced the rim in a bow-tie for a friend and it completely brought that banjo to life.

I never liked the plating on the 70's Gibsons. It tended to turn mossy after a few years. The necks were a little slim for my liking. But, I have played several that "had it." And there were those that did not.

Jan 11, 2018 - 10:40:10 PM
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rcc56

USA

1241 posts
Joined Feb 20, 2016

Gibson 6 digit serial numbers are an absolute mess. We date guitars with 6 digit numbers by specs more than by number.

Going by the Gruhn ID book, that serial number could have been used on instruments made in '68, '70, '71, or '72.  The combination of the USA stamp and that number narrows it down to '70, '71, or '72.  I don't know enough about these banjos to date it any more accurately than that.

So far as I can tell, the last instruments with 6 digit numbers were made in 1975.

Supposedly, the USA stamp impressed into the back of the head appears on most instruments from 1970 to mid-1975.  From mid-'75 to mid-'77, a peghead decal with USA and serial number was used.  After that, impressed serial numbers reappear, usually with the USA stamp except on some banjos, mandolins, high end archtop guitars, and Historic Collection and Custom Shop models . . . .  except when they decided to do something else . . . .   crying

I don't know how they're doing it this year or this month.  All I know for sure is that they've been out of the banjo business for almost ten years now, and they're not very from being out of the mandolin business.

Now that everyone is completely confused, I'll add that a fellow around here also owns an early '70's banjo that sounds much better than it "should."  So far as I remember, it is factory original except for the setup.

On a not too closely related subject, I'll add that my young friend who works at Gibson's Nashville plant is coming in Saturday for more training, since they won't cross-train him.  I'll ask him for a brief report on Gibson's latest contortions . . .

On a completely unrelated subject, my nearly 20 year old cat has thrown three tantrums today, one in the last 15 minutes . . .  so I think I'll sign off.

Edited by - rcc56 on 01/11/2018 23:02:09

Jan 11, 2018 - 11:47:41 PM

rcc56

USA

1241 posts
Joined Feb 20, 2016

correction: ". . .not very far from being out of the mandolin business."

Jan 12, 2018 - 7:09:12 AM
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1054 posts
Joined Jul 25, 2006

Robby, This was back in the days when Norlin  E.C.L. who chanded the name to Norlin owned from 1969 to 1986 the Gibson name. Some of the lesser desired  gibson banjos. Some were Good, Russell Sparks old 3 was a exceptional banjo with the L W Ring. Some were not. I,ve never seen a 3 piece neck besides the 500 and 800.  The numbers were so screwed up even they didn,t know if they were chopping cotton or picking purple hull peas. You may have seen a mistake original gibson,,,,,,,,,,I,m no authority on anything,,,,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e,

Jan 14, 2018 - 3:29:53 PM
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VPS

USA

71 posts
Joined Mar 29, 2004
Online Now

I had a(sold to me as a) '74 for a few years in the 90's. It had a 3 piece neck for sure. I sold it through Elderly Instruments-I eventually thought it was a dog, but bought it before I knew enough to know! Probably could have benefited from a rim swap, but.....

Jan 14, 2018 - 5:37:29 PM

1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

Well......I just got the new (old) RB250 home and so the adventure begins. I think that after actually getting the banjo in my hands that Bob (beegee) could be onto something in his thinking that it might be a 69'.......possibly a 1970. I know that the six digit 962XXX serial number doesn't reflect it (who can say with THESE serial numbers anyway) but the neck profile does. Not as big as the usual 60's banjos but bigger than the early to mid 70's had. This one could definitely be one of the first mahogany 250's after the transition.

Thanks for all the input, opinions and help guys.....I appreciate it!

Robby

Jan 14, 2018 - 7:13:17 PM
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10089 posts
Joined Jul 4, 2004

My dad ordered an RB250 for me in May of 1970, it showed up at the music store in August. The serial number was 907489 and it was a maple fiddle head bowtie.

Jan 14, 2018 - 8:31:53 PM

1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

quote:
Originally posted by El Dobro

My dad ordered an RB250 for me in May of 1970, it showed up at the music store in August. The serial number was 907489 and it was a maple fiddle head bowtie.


Don't doubt that one bit. I've seen a very few of those maple bowtie-d 250's and knew that they were the earliest of the transition period. The few that I have seen were one piece flanges though.....was yours? The one I have I believe is closer to late 71' or early 72' and I'm basing that entirely off the sequence of the serial number. 900000 started in 70' and 999999 ended in 72'.......take my serial # of 962XXX and figure from there. It's hard to believe that they (Gibson) built 99999 instruments in three years!! I realize that number is EVERYTHING they built from guitars, mandolins, basses, banjos and whatever else they manufactured......but 99999 instruments!?!

Anyway, I just plan to have fun with it and enjoy it's un-molested original-ness! The only thing that is not original (of course strings) is the bridge. I was told that it's even the original head......can't prove that one way or the other, but it IS an ancient no logo pre EPA Remo!

Robby

Jan 16, 2018 - 4:28:45 PM
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10089 posts
Joined Jul 4, 2004

907489 had a OPF and chrome plated metal. It had two coordinator rods and four resonator thumbscrews. The neck and resonator back were maple and the resonator side was mahogany. The fingerboard was ebony. The rim was painted black and had megaplies, but the heavy ring only hung over slightly.

Jan 17, 2018 - 9:03:56 AM
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Joined Aug 14, 2003
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Now you got me wondering?? I've got a 250 I bought around 80 something and I always assumed it was mid/early 70's, had the multiply and 2.2 ring (long gone).. It was nearly mint and had the paperwork and original purchase receipt in the case..(long gone too).. and of course 40 years later can't remember..

But reading this thread on the nos, I had to look... And I get an 8 digit.. 00 2013 68, Made in America, embossed, lightly stamped? on back of the head (best I can make it out) Instead of a 6 digit, like being discussed for that time period..

Where does that fit?? (could the 1 actually supposed to be a 7?)

Edited by - Kenneth Logsdon on 01/17/2018 09:07:01

Jan 17, 2018 - 4:12:45 PM
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1159 posts
Joined Mar 24, 2006

quote:
Originally posted by Kenneth Logsdon

Now you got me wondering?? I've got a 250 I bought around 80 something and I always assumed it was mid/early 70's, had the multiply and 2.2 ring (long gone).. It was nearly mint and had the paperwork and original purchase receipt in the case..(long gone too).. and of course 40 years later can't remember..

But reading this thread on the nos, I had to look... And I get an 8 digit.. 00 2013 68, Made in America, embossed, lightly stamped? on back of the head (best I can make it out) Instead of a 6 digit, like being discussed for that time period..

Where does that fit?? (could the 1 actually supposed to be a 7?)


Kenneth,

Wish that I could help but I really can't. Unless a Gibson banjo is from the 50's or older it's a crap shoot dealing with the serial numbers. 

Robby

Jan 17, 2018 - 4:40:18 PM
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rcc56

USA

1241 posts
Joined Feb 20, 2016

quote:
Originally posted by Kenneth Logsdon

Now you got me wondering?? I've got a 250 I bought around 80 something and I always assumed it was mid/early 70's, had the multiply and 2.2 ring (long gone).. It was nearly mint and had the paperwork and original purchase receipt in the case..(long gone too).. and of course 40 years later can't remember..

But reading this thread on the nos, I had to look... And I get an 8 digit.. 00 2013 68, Made in America, embossed, lightly stamped? on back of the head (best I can make it out) Instead of a 6 digit, like being discussed for that time period..

Where does that fit?? (could the 1 actually supposed to be a 7?)


In '76 they used a decal with a 00 prefix followed by a 6 digit number.  This might be one of those.

Or not . . .crying

Jan 17, 2018 - 6:38:15 PM

13009 posts
Joined Aug 14, 2003
Online Now

Thanks, would have to be in there somewhere? Not a stick on decal, but has some kind of gold coloring in the letters... Decal, then stamp it?? Its definitely stamped nos..

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