Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

400
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jan 12, 2019 - 11:12:28 AM
394 posts since 1/24/2014

I can’t afford it. It’s hard to tell but is it a 5 string?facebook.com/marketplace/item/...79620100/

Jan 12, 2019 - 11:15:24 AM

394 posts since 1/24/2014

I meant to ask, what the chance it’s an original 5 string?

Jan 12, 2019 - 11:57:04 AM
like this

2514 posts since 5/29/2011

quote:
Originally posted by britcarfan

I meant to ask, what the chance it’s an original 5 string?

 


Almost 100% chance. This is one of the pre-Mastertone banjos that Gibson made from 1918 to 1924. These banjos don't have the same amount of collector's appeal that prewar Mastertones have so  the chances that someone would convert one to five string is fairly slim. From what I can see in the picture everything looks original. I do think the seller is a little optimistic on his asking price.

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:14:45 PM

3746 posts since 9/21/2009

I would go a little farther and say that he is probably a lot optimistic.

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:20:25 PM
likes this

1675 posts since 4/7/2010

I would bet a box of Buckhannon, WV doughnuts that it is a conversion neck. #1) the proportions do not look like any of the original 5-string necks I have had from that time period. #2) Most original Gibson banjos from this time period I have seen have 2 on a plate tuners on the peghead (or 4 on a plate for mando banjos). #3) The factory order number 11056A is listed as an MB-4 in Spann's guide to Gibson.

Any takers?

Bob Smakula
smakula.com

Jan 12, 2019 - 12:30:42 PM
likes this

467 posts since 5/31/2004
Online Now

Bob, maybe for Spudnuts I'd take the gamble, but not for regular doughnuts. :)

Is that Spudnuts shop on Rt. 50 still there? I remember seeing it about 25 years ago.

Jan 12, 2019 - 1:30:50 PM

219 posts since 5/19/2018

Chance that it is an original 5 string Is pretty slim. Based on what Bob said above, I second his opinion based on the facts he so clearly stated. 

If it is,an original 5  2,400 is a steal. As a conversion 2400 is a bit steep.

I personally know a few people who took those pre-Mastertone models and dropped five string necks on them. I had a dear friend who went so far as to put on a fretless neck on one. I think Goat Peak Strings has or had that one for sale.

They make nice conversions , though the appeal is very narrow. Good for fingerpicking styles. 

I like the look, but not 2400 worth. Probably sounds real nice. If it’s a quality neck, drop 500 and the appeal goes up. 

Edited by - Alvin Conder on 01/12/2019 13:38:42

Jan 12, 2019 - 2:56:31 PM
Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2199 posts since 3/10/2008

I saw a plectrum banjo of this style. It is very lightweight with a thin shell. It had the tube with holes drilled in it for a tone ring like this one. Brackets were attached to the shell rather than a tube or flange. So far as I could figure out, tenors and plectrum like this go for $300 to $400. There's another model with a thicker rim that gets converted for bluegrass. If the banjo pictured has the thicker shell and tube &flange, it is worth much more. I can't tell from the pictures which it is.

Jan 12, 2019 - 4:56:29 PM

394 posts since 1/24/2014

It does look to have the original tail piece cover. Which seem to be lost on most of these old Gibson’s. If it was a price I could afford would like to have it to go with my 1924 TB.

Jan 13, 2019 - 6:40:34 AM
likes this

1675 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by vintagetenor

Bob, maybe for Spudnuts I'd take the gamble, but not for regular doughnuts. :)

Is that Spudnuts shop on Rt. 50 still there? I remember seeing it about 25 years ago.


Trust me Mike, Doughnuts from the Buckhannon Doughnut shop are not just regular doughnuts. My shop crew is grateful it is a half hour away so we don't eat them every day. If I can arrange a same day delivery to your shop, you'll get a first hand taste.

Bob Smakula

Jan 13, 2019 - 6:50:32 AM

247 posts since 2/22/2015

I have seen that in person. It has been for sale for a long time. (I bought a nice Weymann 5 string from them). It had lots of issues when I saw it. This is not the original seller though. They started out at $3500 and over six months dropped it to $1200. This is the same banjo by another dealer, they bought and are trying to flip it.

Jan 13, 2019 - 8:35:56 AM

5496 posts since 8/28/2013

I'm with Bob Smakula on this one.

If nothing else, tuners, frets, and armrest are not original. Although those items are often replaced, there's something about that neck that just doesn't look quite right to me.

I also notice that the seller's date of manufacture is way off. There's no way this banjo predates 1920, and it's most likely from 1924.

Jan 13, 2019 - 10:35:43 AM

467 posts since 5/31/2004
Online Now

@Bob Smakula
Trust me Mike, Doughnuts from the Buckhannon Doughnut shop are not just regular doughnuts. My shop crew is grateful it is a half hour away so we don't eat them every day. If I can arrange a same day delivery to your shop, you'll get a first hand taste.

Thanks, Bob, your word on it is good enough for me. I don't really eat doughnuts but couldn't resist the WV / Spudnuts connection in my memory. :)

Jan 13, 2019 - 11:35:09 AM

935 posts since 9/13/2018
Online Now

Who’s got donuts?

Bruce

Jan 13, 2019 - 5:40:24 PM

394 posts since 1/24/2014

I’m guessing the year as being 1924 also. It’s FON is only 140 less than my TB which is a 1924.

Jan 13, 2019 - 8:38:45 PM

10229 posts since 10/27/2006

It's a 1924. Style 3 (no springs) or 4 (with springs) ball bearing pot.

If it was originally an MB-4 then the RB-4 style neck can't be original. Does indicate that there should be springs under the balls.

A 3 should have a trapdoor. A 4 may have a Pyralin (sp?) plastic resonator or a trapdoor.

I've never seen a PB or RB 3/4 from that era with 2 on a strip tuners—including the one I sold to David Grisman. Tenors, yes.

I have a set of friction tuners for one of these. Pulled them from a 1930s Kalamazoo. They are identical to the ones on my '20s Bacon and '23-24 RB-3.

It has the Waverly tailpiece cover. If engraved, that's very good. If not engraved, could be from anything from a Kalamazoo to a Martin mandolin. The tailpiece will accommodate up to 8 strings, no matter what the original configuration.

Jan 14, 2019 - 7:01:45 AM
likes this

5496 posts since 8/28/2013

It's an MB4 pot. The 3's don't have binding at the bottom of the rim. I have a PB3 (11055A-10) which also doesn't have the two-on-a-strip tuners, although the ones on this alleged RB3 are different than the spring loaded friction models on mine, and appear to be replacements. Frets are too large; early Gibsons used very small frets.

Jan 15, 2019 - 11:20:52 AM

10229 posts since 10/27/2006

"The 3's don't have binding at the bottom of the rim."

Forgot that detail—thanks. I sold my last trapdoor, an RB-3 in 1995.

Jan 15, 2019 - 1:39:59 PM
likes this

5496 posts since 8/28/2013

Mike--I'd have forgotten that binding detail too if I didn't have one nearby!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.546875