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Aug 23, 2019 - 11:53:38 AM
177 posts since 8/25/2013

Is there any difference between a 2001 and 2010 Gibson banjo? With the exception of it obviously being "newer", I'm wondering since it was the later years, is the construction as good, or better?
Also, what about the metal? I noticed the Gibson stamp on the flange is different. An example would be on
'banjowarehouse'. There's two different RB3 Wreaths. If you look at the stamp on the flange, they're different.
Any comments?

Edited by - Chris Salomone on 08/23/2019 11:54:18

Aug 23, 2019 - 1:23:42 PM

2419 posts since 4/19/2008

search here for Greg Rich

Aug 23, 2019 - 1:26:55 PM

12094 posts since 10/30/2008

There were no 2010 Gibson banjos. They ended the banjo business before that. Some say 2009, some say 2008.

What leads you to think it is a 2010? Just out of curiosity.

Gibson nearly always had "differences" over various years. The main difference I'm aware of in post 2000 banjos is choice of tone ring supplier. Kulesh, "Mystery", and Crowe rings are 3 that are frequently discussed. There could very well be other differences too. I think the neck/resonator supplier was pretty consistently Sullivan through all that period though.

Aug 23, 2019 - 3:27:50 PM

2329 posts since 4/16/2003

I don't believe there ARE any "2010" Gibson banjos.

I believe banjo production ended in 2009, -before- "the flood".

I could be mistaken. If so, others will correct me.

Aug 23, 2019 - 3:31:17 PM

1895 posts since 1/10/2004

After 2000 the occasional minor quality issues of these banjos were amplified, mostly I think because the Internet was more of a thing by then and we could all come on here and gripe about it. Gibson used a variety of suppliers in the last decade, including FQMS and Prucha I think. There were more tone ring options, and the mystery ring turned up with some prevalence. Crowe and Crowe-based models were popular and there were several special runs. RB-250 and ESS still sold the most. On balance I believe Gibson banjo quality was almost always just about as good from one year to another from the mid-80s thru 2009. There was certainly never any real effort to cut corners, use cheaper materials or diminish quality throughout that period.

By some accounts Gibson had already wound down banjo production by sometime in 2009, although they supposedly still filled a few orders. The 2010 flood was used as the excuse to say they were out of the business indefinitely due to destruction of facilities, tooling, equipment, materials, whatever at Opry Mills.

Given comparable condition, and ignoring aesthetic differences between models, while I think the quality should be roughly the same I might lean toward the 2001 vs the "2010". There is some sentiment, fair or not, that older is better. But my own personal voodoo belief having owned several instruments long enough is that age makes a difference, and that sometime around the 10 year mark or beyond a good quality instrument finally opens up to reveal its fullest potential. A 2010 is close to that threshold, but a 2001 has a big head start and has already surpassed it. An instrument from the late 80s or the 90s is potentially even better.

Aug 23, 2019 - 5:23:39 PM

177 posts since 8/25/2013

Thank you all for your responses.
I was informed that the banjo production actually stopped in early May of 2010. I'm partial to the 90's Gibsons as well. I'm not too sure if it would be cool to have one of the last in production (literally) or if it would be a poor purchase. I have some other options. But in the multitude of counsel there's safety. Thanks everyone!

Aug 23, 2019 - 8:11:57 PM

10038 posts since 6/2/2008

Originally posted by Chris Salomone

I was informed that the banjo production actually stopped in early May of 2010.

But someone with extensive industry experience and deep knowledge of the events has written on the Hangout that by fall of 2009 Gibson had sold off any banjo tooling it still owned and had let go just about everyone involved in banjo production.  I can't rule out that Gibson assembled some final banjos in 2010 by using up parts on hand. But they were done with large-scale banjo production well before the flood.

Aug 23, 2019 - 8:22:19 PM

177 posts since 8/25/2013

Thanks Ken

Aug 23, 2019 - 8:29:59 PM

12094 posts since 10/30/2008

It's true for most any Gibson that you need to inspect it and play it in person before you make any judgments. MOST are fine. A few are clunkers. The clunkiest one I ever played was a late 1990s RB 4. Probably just a tight fit tone ring, but there you go...

I've owned or own 3 post-2000 banjos that are just fine. I've owned or own 3 Greg Rich era banjos that are just fine, too.

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