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Feb 27, 2021 - 12:24:56 PM
13839 posts since 10/30/2008

Someone posted a ton of Gibson catalog images on FB. I looked through them all for banjo stuff. Was surprised to see "weather resistant" heads mentioned as early as the 1960 catalog! Same catalog had an image of Earl Scruggs with the bow tie Granada, as an endorser.  And Brother Oswald holding the Uncle Dave banjo, posing with the Wilburn Brothers.

Also noted the 1966 catalog first said Mastertones were "chrome plated".

Finally, the word MasterTone was used for the better banjos (Styles 3, 4 and 5) as early as 1919 and as "late" as 1923, with lots of prattle about the isolated "vibratory" excellence of the ball bearing tone chamber, and "tuned" air spaces both within the ball bearing tone tube and the enclosure between the head and trap-door or resonator. to read more of this acoustic "science" check out the 1923 catalog treatise on the achievement of "harmonics" in the Loar F5 mandolin.

Interesting to peruse. Banjos not mentioned in many of the catalog years.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 02/27/2021 12:25:43

Feb 27, 2021 - 12:40:03 PM

13839 posts since 10/30/2008

And I now see someone has already posted the link to the images up in Collectors Corner.

Feb 27, 2021 - 1:24:43 PM

2555 posts since 3/30/2008

The early Gibson catalogs get a grade of "A" for purple prose, insult,  pseudo science, & bombast, (totally within the tenor of the times in advertising). I had a 1910-11 ? catalog that was as much fun to read as a period novel, & almost as long.

(BTW, I believe mylar heads started entering the market c. 1957, in the drum market. I'm not sure how that compares to the banjo market)

Edited by - tdennis on 02/27/2021 13:38:31

Feb 27, 2021 - 1:46:45 PM



56493 posts since 10/5/2013
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Wasnt “Ground Speed” the first tune Earl recorded with a plastic head?

Feb 27, 2021 - 2:20:37 PM

13839 posts since 10/30/2008

tdennis, an old friend of mine, now gone on, bought the first plastic head that appeared on the Opry, in 1958. He bought it at Hank Snow's Music Store. The banjo pickers on the Opry all flocked around to check it out.

There have been many discussions here on the Hangout as to when plastic heads became "standard equipment" or "factory issue". So that 1960 provides one data point I guess. To me, that is fairly rapid adoption. From 1957 to 1960 is relatively quick.

Feb 27, 2021 - 3:13:08 PM



22267 posts since 7/6/2005

I saw my first plastic head around 1965

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