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Gibson RB-250 from the 70’s

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Jan 25, 2020 - 1:33:34 AM
295 posts since 2/26/2012

I have read that some people do not recommend to buy Gibson RB-250  from the 70’s.

I did not find the reasons and the problems that this particular model could have in that era and if they are fixable.

Also I wonder if that problems also exist on the RB-250 made in 1968-1969.

I have seen a few rb-250 for sale from 1968-1969-1970’s. I think it is a very nice bajo. I like it and prices are not too high than other Gibson

Edited by - Aitor Eneko on 01/25/2020 16:03:25

Jan 25, 2020 - 7:38:55 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5144 posts since 10/12/2009

From late '69 thru early 80's, the RB 250 had an 11 ply, painted black rim, with a tube and plate flange, and a light-weight, flathead tone ring often referred to as the "mystery ring".

On the outer diameter of the rim, the wood "bead" that the tube flange butts up against, was glued on separately, and had a tendency to break away from the main body of the rim.

Mahogany neck, often 3 piece, fiddle-cut headstock, and a "leaves and bows" inlay pattern, that was supposed to harken back to pre-war Style 75/3's. Plain mahogany resonator (no concentric rings). The whole look of the banjo was Gibson's first effort to bring back a "traditional" looking banjo, after 20+ years of "bow-tie" banjos.

People did not like the multi-ply rim, the tube and plate flange, the "mystery ring", the inlay....basically the whole banjo! Just like the "bow-ties" , customers were either "love it" or "hate it" !

I"ve owned 2 of them, a 1974 and a 1977. The '77 had a thick, clubby neck , that i coukd never get used to, so i sold it. The '74 has a nice feeling, easy playing neck, so i did a rim and tone ring "transplant", and it's one of my favorite banjos.

If you can find an RB 250 in Spain, either a "bowtie" or a later one, i can guarantee it will be better than the Asian-made, entry level banjo that you've got right now.

Edited by - RioStat on 01/25/2020 07:40:23

Jan 25, 2020 - 7:48:40 AM
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295 posts since 2/26/2012

Yes, i am just starting, but i think a need a better banjo to progress. This 20 dollars savannah is ok for playing it outside home, or when the "good" one is not necessary , i was thinking in a RK 35 or 75, or Gibson 250

Thanks

Edited by - Aitor Eneko on 01/25/2020 07:50:13

Jan 25, 2020 - 8:13:03 AM
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GStump

USA

347 posts since 9/12/2006

Usually, unless i'm mistaken, the 69 and 70 bowtie is very different from earlier versions. Gibson started building those with a fiddle headstock, bowtie inlays, and i believe a one piece flange; most would have had rosewood fretboards, and many had all, or nearly all, of the metal parts being chrome plated. They were usually a "sunburst" type finish. this is generally considered the transition model before gibson began using primarily the two piece flange and black, multiply rims. these banjos are somewhat sought after because they are a bit harder to find, and usually are a pretty decent banjo. the later Gibson RB 250 - as described in the previous post, did in fact have many issues, in varying degrees in particular banjos. some never suffered any mishaps, others many of them. There are in fact many better banjos available in the same price range. It probably comes down to personal choice.

Jan 25, 2020 - 9:36:12 AM
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1185 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Aitor Eneko

Yes, i am just starting, but i think a need a better banjo to progress. This 20 dollars savannah is ok for playing it outside home, or when the "good" one is not necessary , i was thinking in a RK 35 or 75, or Gibson 250

Thanks


Value for money I would look towards RK35. If you research who is involved with designing them and the components you will find good reviews. With a good setup they can sound really good. If bluegrass if your target the RK35 will hit the bulls eye. I think they are really cheap for what it delivers. You will not have to worry about delaminating rims or worn out necks, frets, nuts etc. If Gibson is your aim Listen to the previous posts as they have owned them.

Jan 25, 2020 - 2:51:32 PM
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2455 posts since 4/16/2003

OP:
"I have read that some people do not recommend to buy Gibson RB-250 bowtie from the 70’s."

Gibson DID NOT MAKE any "bowties" in the 1970's...

Jan 25, 2020 - 4:02:32 PM

295 posts since 2/26/2012

ok, excuse me, i mean RB-250.

Jan 27, 2020 - 7:04 AM

1936 posts since 1/10/2004

Although they sometimes have problems there isn't really anything "wrong" with 70s RB-250s. It was an early attempt by Gibson to bring back the glory days, and they didn't really succeed. Almost nothing about the general design, parts and materials is "preferred" by the community, lot of odd choices. Earlier bowties are not everyone's cup of tea, but they are good quality and definitely have their fans. 1970s RB-250s not so much. There are individual owners who like their particular 70s banjo, but almost nobody loves 1970s Gibson banjos in the general sense.

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