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Jul 20, 2019 - 5:59:38 AM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

Good morning Gibson gurus.

I have recently purchased an older RB 250 with the Kalamazoo label on the inside of the rim. The serial number is on the back of the peg head and is 6170852. I'm sure someone can help me with the year and such. Thanks in advance for any info I may receive. Thanks and have a great summer day.

Kerry

Jul 20, 2019 - 7:59:43 AM

rcc56

USA

2171 posts since 2/20/2016

Gibson re-used serial numbers during the 1960's and 70's. We also use the individual instrument's specs to aid us in the dating process.

There is no such thing as a Gibson "guru" when it comes to dating Gibson instruments with six digit serial numbers.  Because of the company's inconsistency in numbers, designs, and what they used at the factory in a given week, it could be argued that there is no such thing as a Gibson guru at all.

But unless your instrument is a bow-tie RB 250, a number in the 600000's could have been made any time between 1970 and 1975. If it is a bow-tie, it was probably made between 1966 and 1968.

Clear pictures of the front and back of the peghead and neck might be helpful in narrowing down the date a little more.

Does it have a "made in USA" stamp on the back of the peghead?

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/20/2019 08:03:21

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:37:05 AM

896 posts since 4/13/2017

IMHO, the bow-ties of the 50s were the best version of the RB-250s

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:50:50 AM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

Thanks for your information. I have attached 3 pictures for you. Can you also tell me what the inlay patter is and the type of peg head? The rim is a dark colour. Maybe even slightly bluish. Thanks






Edited by - Kerry1 on 07/20/2019 09:08:28

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:09:34 AM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

There is no such thing as a Gibson "guru" when it comes to dating Gibson instruments with six digit serial numbers. 


That explains a lot!  The 70s RB-250 I bought this past October has a 6-digit serial number starting with 7. It has the thre-piece laminated neck and 1/8-inch thick fretboard. I think it's from the early 70s, rather than later in the model run.

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:14:26 AM

beegee

USA

21277 posts since 7/6/2005

Your 06170852 was made in 1977, before they adopted the current numbering system. For whatever reason(did Gibson EVER have a reason for anything?) "06"=1977

The remaining digits ranged from 100000-200000, which would probably put your banjo in the latter half of 1977

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:19:24 AM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1

Thanks for your information. I have attached 3 pictures for you. Can you also tell me what the inlay patter is and the type of peg head? The rim is a dark colour. Maybe even slightly bluish. 


That's definitely a 1970s (to early 80s) RB-250.

The inlay is called either ribbons and bows or leaves and bows.  I've seen both names applied to what looks like the sme pattern.

The peghead is called fiddle shape or fiddle cut, because it looks like a violin.

This model replaced the the post-war bowtie inlay RB-250 of the 1950s and 60s. Gibson designed the 70s RB-250 to recapture a pre-war look. The inlay was based on the late pre-war RB-75. I believe the peghead shape and inlay are not the sme as on the 75, so the 70s RB-250 was its own thing,  Gibson also brought back the two-piece (tube and plate) flange for this model.  Two-piece flange is structurally superior to 1-piece, but banjo players bay far prefer the 1-piece -- I think mainly because that's what Earl Scruggs had and so banjo players associate the 1-piece flange with the Holy Grail of bluegrass sound.

I believe the rim was painted black on this model. I suppose yours could be fading, revealing a hint of blue pigment.

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:32:55 AM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Your 06170852 was made in 1977 . . .


I believe Doug Hutchens has written on the Hangout that Gibson replaced the multi-ply rim with 3-ply rims in the late 70s.  I forget what year he said that was.  A 1977 banjo could be the last of the multi-ply or the first of the 3-ply.

Kerry: Take the resonator off, look at the bottom edge of the rim and see if you can make out seams between plies.

Even if the rim is multi-ply, the banjo can sound great.  Some of those rims have de-laminated at the tube, but not all have.

Because the 1970s RB-250s are Gibson's least respected banjos, they represent the most affordable way to get a genuine Gibson Mastertone. That's why I bought one -- and I'm happy I did.

Enjoy.

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:50 AM
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Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

There is no such thing as a Gibson "guru" when it comes to dating Gibson instruments with six digit serial numbers. 


That explains a lot!  The 70s RB-250 I bought this past October has a 6-digit serial number starting with 7. It has the thre-piece laminated neck and 1/8-inch thick fretboard. I think it's from the early 70s, rather than later in the model run.


Thanks so much.  I couldn't be more happier with all the info I have receive.

Jul 20, 2019 - 9:51:37 AM
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Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Your 06170852 was made in 1977 . . .


I believe Doug Hutchens has written on the Hangout that Gibson replaced the multi-ply rim with 3-ply rims in the late 70s.  I forget what year he said that was.  A 1977 banjo could be the last of the multi-ply or the first of the 3-ply.

Kerry: Take the resonator off, look at the bottom edge of the rim and see if you can make out seams between plies.

Even if the rim is multi-ply, the banjo can sound great.  Some of those rims have de-laminated at the tube, but not all have.

Because the 1970s RB-250s are Gibson's least respected banjos, they represent the most affordable way to get a genuine Gibson Mastertone. That's why I bought one -- and I'm happy I did.

Enjoy.


It plays really well for a banjo not played much.  It's in great shape for 42 years old.  Thanks

Jul 20, 2019 - 10:05:52 AM
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9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1
It plays really well for a banjo not played much.  It's in great shape for 42 years old.  Thanks

Looks like you got a good one!

Could you post one photo with a side view showing the armrest leg(s), flange tube and wood bead between flange and tone ring skirt?  That would help to confirm originality of parts. Original equipment on this banjo would be 2-legged armrest engraved "Gibson" in the middle.

With good setup these sound great and are easy to play.

Jul 20, 2019 - 10:47:09 AM

rcc56

USA

2171 posts since 2/20/2016

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Your 06170852 was made in 1977, before they adopted the current numbering system. For whatever reason(did Gibson EVER have a reason for anything?) "06"=1977
 


I mis-read the number in the original post.

Beegee's post agrees with the info I have on hand.  8 digits on a decal with "made in USA" corresponds with 1977.

The pictures helped a lot.

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/20/2019 10:48:36

Jul 20, 2019 - 10:53:12 AM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

Your 06170852 was made in 1977 . . .


I believe Doug Hutchens has written on the Hangout that Gibson replaced the multi-ply rim with 3-ply rims in the late 70s.  I forget what year he said that was.  A 1977 banjo could be the last of the multi-ply or the first of the 3-ply.

Kerry: Take the resonator off, look at the bottom edge of the rim and see if you can make out seams between plies.

Even if the rim is multi-ply, the banjo can sound great.  Some of those rims have de-laminated at the tube, but not all have.

Because the 1970s RB-250s are Gibson's least respected banjos, they represent the most affordable way to get a genuine Gibson Mastertone. That's why I bought one -- and I'm happy I did.

Enjoy.


It has the solid mahogany neck and as far as seeing if it's a 3 ply rim, can't tell as the finish is still perfectly intact.

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:03:26 AM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1
It plays really well for a banjo not played much.  It's in great shape for 42 years old.  Thanks

Looks like you got a good one!

Could you post one photo with a side view showing the armrest leg(s), flange tube and wood bead between flange and tone ring skirt?  That would help to confirm originality of parts. Original equipment on this banjo would be 2-legged armrest engraved "Gibson" in the middle.

With good setup these sound great and are easy to play.


It has the 2 legged arm rest with Gibson on it and clamshell tail piece with Gibson on it also. Sound pretty good already. Hmmm!  What do I do with my Huner Lexington now?  I’m thinking with new tuners, this could be all the banjo I need. 

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:05:14 AM
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896 posts since 4/13/2017

From what I've heard and played, a Huber should have a 70's 250 beat...

Jul 20, 2019 - 11:24:18 AM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1
quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1
It plays really well for a banjo not played much.  It's in great shape for 42 years old.  Thanks

Looks like you got a good one!

Could you post one photo with a side view showing the armrest leg(s), flange tube and wood bead between flange and tone ring skirt?  That would help to confirm originality of parts. Original equipment on this banjo would be 2-legged armrest engraved "Gibson" in the middle.

With good setup these sound great and are easy to play.


It has the 2 legged arm rest with Gibson on it and clamshell tail piece with Gibson on it also. Sound pretty good already. Hmmm!  What do I do with my Huber Lexington now?  I’m thinking with new tuners, this could be all the banjo I need. 


Jul 20, 2019 - 3:24:43 PM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

I agree with Blue20Boy17.  Hubers I've played are a lot more banjo than a 70s RB-250. I like their necks a lot better.

But if you're happy with your 70s Gibson and don't think you need the Huber, that's all that matters.  Sell the Huber and have money in your pocket.

Presumably you paid a lot less for the Gibson than any Huber sells for.

Jul 20, 2019 - 8:16:50 PM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1
 I’m thinking with new tuners, this could be all the banjo I need. 

This detail didn't sink in before.

What's wrong with the current tuners?  Photo shows is has some type of D-tuners on 2 and 3. Look more like Schallers than Keiths to me, but there's not enough showing to be sure.  Does the banjo not have the "Gibson" stamped originals on 1 and 4? 

With luck, you can score a working set here on the Hangout -- I did.

Or just get a set Waverly tuners from Stew-Mac. They're offset like the original 70s Gibson tuners.

Jul 21, 2019 - 12:57:14 PM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

unfortunately it only came with the two original tuners on 1st and 4th. Not sure who made the D tuners, but they aren't great. I'm not a real big fan of them. I will probably look at replacing the works.

Jul 21, 2019 - 12:58:55 PM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

I agree with Blue20Boy17.  Hubers I've played are a lot more banjo than a 70s RB-250. I like their necks a lot better.

But if you're happy with your 70s Gibson and don't think you need the Huber, that's all that matters.  Sell the Huber and have money in your pocket.

Presumably you paid a lot less for the Gibson than any Huber sells for.


Oh yes, the Huber was a lot more money than the 250.  I keep playing it and enjoying it.  I may have to decide on which one to keep.

Jul 21, 2019 - 1:56:38 PM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Kerry1

unfortunately it only came with the two original tuners on 1st and 4th. Not sure who made the D tuners, but they aren't great. I'm not a real big fan of them. I will probably look at replacing the works.


There are Hangout members who have 70s Gibson tuners for sale in twos and fours.  I had several offers late last year when I needed a set.  One issue to be aware of is the tuners were made in two slightly different sizes. The difference can be seen in the washer on the peghead face. No problem: replacement washers are available so you can make what appears to be a matched set.

If your D-tuners don't say Keith, they are most likely Schaller.  Outside chance they're Gotoh, but those weren't made for very long. They're rare.  Post a photo.  Buttons might tell.

Jul 21, 2019 - 5:17:29 PM

Kerry1

Canada

31 posts since 4/6/2012

I checked the D tuners and there is no name on them. One set screw is chrome and the other is black on both tuners.

Jul 21, 2019 - 8:02:36 PM

9955 posts since 6/2/2008

Most likely Schaller. Loosen the set screws when you're not using it as a D-tuner.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 07/21/2019 20:03:27

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