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Question concerning the Epiphone Model EB88 Banjo circa 1962

Jan 1, 2021 - 7:06:44 PM
2396 posts since 12/18/2004

Does anyone know who was making the tone rings for these Epiphones @ Kalamazoo in 1962?
Thanks in advance
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

Jan 1, 2021 - 8:21:14 PM

13730 posts since 10/30/2008

Surely it's the same supplier for Gibson at that time? At least two vendors have been named here making tone rings for Gibson in the 1960s.

Jan 1, 2021 - 8:39:37 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5415 posts since 10/12/2009
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Surely it's the same supplier for Gibson at that time? At least two vendors have been named here making tone rings for Gibson in the 1960s.


......and those two vendors, "named here", would be who....?

Edited by - RioStat on 01/01/2021 20:40:42

Jan 2, 2021 - 4:12:37 AM
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tlong

USA

176 posts since 2/5/2009

Most likely Kalamazoo Tank and Silo or Cooper Foundry.

Jan 2, 2021 - 8:19:36 AM

13730 posts since 10/30/2008

Thank you Ted, I couldn't remember them.

Jan 2, 2021 - 8:43:50 AM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5415 posts since 10/12/2009
Online Now

Thank you, tlong.

Jan 2, 2021 - 9:34:56 AM

13730 posts since 10/30/2008

Also I suppose the famous "Faulkner" ring has a chance of being included? Or 1962 too early?

Jan 4, 2021 - 2:39:35 AM

eljimb0

USA

2003 posts since 7/24/2007

I have played a couple of them.. I played one with a thin rim that sounded very good. That was before I knew anything about the different rings that went into 60's Gibsons. woulda shoulda coulda

Jan 4, 2021 - 7:25:18 AM

305 posts since 11/22/2004

1964 is the earliest i have seen the faulkners in. same on the bowties

Jan 4, 2021 - 8:18:37 PM

2396 posts since 12/18/2004

quote:
Originally posted by dlottbanjo

1964 is the earliest i have seen the faulkners in. same on the bowties


Donnie,

Do you know if all the Faulkner rings were chrome?

And do you know the weight of the Faulkner?

Don B

Jan 4, 2021 - 10:58:44 PM

11078 posts since 10/27/2006

Chrome plate is something that I associate with 1967.

On those not-so-rare occasions that two or more '61–'71 Gibsons have identical serial numbers, you go looking for other clues and chrome v. nickel is one of them.

Jan 5, 2021 - 9:04:55 AM
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564 posts since 8/10/2009

Hello Don,

I have seen Faulkner tone rings with either chrome or gold-plating. On average, they weigh 3 pounds 10 ounces.

The flathead tone ring which Gibson used in a 1962 Epiphone EB-88 model five-string banjo was cast and machined at the Cooper Brass Works in Cooper, Michigan (now a suburb of Kalamazoo). They are nickel-plated. A Cooper Brass Works flathead tone ring usually weighs between 2 pounds 10 ounces and 3 pounds.

Joe Spann
Nashville, TN

Jan 5, 2021 - 10:18:32 AM

217 posts since 11/16/2011

I had a conversation years ago (mid-80's?) with Brad Combs of KTS Industries that told me KTS made rings for Gibson from 1960 until 1974. Brad said there were two different Gibson part numbers. One was 250 "regular style" and the other 898 "old style". The 250 rings were a 5.3lb casting and 898 rings were a 6.1lb casting. Brad mentioned that Lavin Corp. in Chicago provided the red brass ingots. The 250 rings were presumably archtop rings whereas 898 are definitely flathead rings. Walter Lamb of KTS was in charge of the casting of the rings. Documentation and patterns were always returned to Gibson after each use. According to Brad, "Gibson was very protective". Two or three ring suppliers to Gibson?

Faulkner rings were first made in 1967 for a couple of years with some supplied to Gibson. I had three authenticated Faulkner rings that were just over three pounds and know of one gold plated one that was closer to 3-1/2pounds.

Jan 5, 2021 - 11:16:24 AM

2048 posts since 1/4/2009

6 pound tone ring????????????

Jan 5, 2021 - 11:26:04 AM
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217 posts since 11/16/2011

quote:
Originally posted by kyleb

6 pound tone ring????????????


No, a 6 pound casting.  Counting gates and risers it takes about 20lbs of material to sand cast a finished 3 pound ring. 

Jan 12, 2021 - 3:32:24 PM

305 posts since 11/22/2004

I have been in possession of several faulkner rings and have worked on several bowties with them in it. i have never seen one under 52 ounces and have seen several 56 ounce and the one in my shop for repairs right now weighs a whopping 58 ounces so they were all over the place. and most were chrome but i have had 2 that were original nickle plated.

Jan 12, 2021 - 3:51:37 PM

305 posts since 11/22/2004

early 60s rb 250s were notorius for plating issues I may be wrong but i believe the faulkner ring may have been reinstalled in some of the earlier bowtie flatheads that had plating and pitting issues as a gibson replacement possibly under warranty. My dads banjo player ( Bob Cox deceased} had a 1964 flathead that he purchased knew at columbia music in lake city florida in 1965. By 1967 the tonering had literally turned to white chalk Claude Bedenbaugh ( great old time blind musician) who owned the store shipped it back to gibson for Bob in late 67 and it come back with the Faulkner ring in it. I have had that banjo in my shop several times in fact it was the first good banjo i took lessons on when i started playing in 67. Bobs family wants to hold on to it right now however nobody in the family plays.

Jan 13, 2021 - 4:51:43 AM

3456 posts since 4/27/2004

Would somebody please explain to me how a "Faulkner" tonering be identified? From what I know, they had absolutely no identifying marks (to differentiate them from the other maker's tonerings) and it seems that they were chrome plated. It has also been said the Faulkner ring was used in the style 500s. But I have never seen an explanation of how one can be identified. What makes them different from the other rings used by Gibson in those years?

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