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Apr 29, 2021 - 12:50:17 PM
86 posts since 4/9/2019

Made a stop over in NC & a local music shop has a RB150 in fair condition for sale. Flange looks like it was bent down by the tailpiece and banjo has “high top tone ring” not certain if they meant Archtop…. Played it and it had good tone and playability. They are asking 1400 for it (originally was asking 2k). Thoughts on value? Seems to me that 140O is still a little high….

Apr 29, 2021 - 1:12:43 PM

11416 posts since 10/27/2006

For a '60s archtop? It's high only if you don't want the banjo.

Apr 29, 2021 - 3:01:59 PM
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13979 posts since 10/30/2008
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The RB 150 wasn't offered during the 1960s as far as I remember.

What is the serial number? Is it in the back of the peghead (1960s) or stamped in the rim (indicates 1950s).

Also and RB 150 did not have a full weight Mastertone style tone ring unless someone paid to have one added.

I've never heard of a pot metal one piece flange that is "bent down". Usually if they bend they bend "up". If there's a downward bend perhaps the banjo was dropped on the flange in which case I'd really want to examine the resonator side and the rim for damage.

But in general a 1960s RB 150 is a red flag.

"Fair condition" really pushes value down. I would be very cautious, and check this banjo in person, and you have better LOVE IT. Otherwise walk away.

Apr 29, 2021 - 4:26:24 PM

86 posts since 4/9/2019

Thanks! Sound advice!

Apr 30, 2021 - 7:47:36 AM
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3767 posts since 5/29/2011

I would like to see a picture of this. The RB150 was introduced in 1949 and discontinued in 1958. The introduction of the RB250 in 1954 spelled the end of the RB150 because a customer could spend a little bit more and get a banjo with a Mastertone ring in it. Because of this, a lot of RB150's were cut down and fitted with Mastertone style rings which destroyed the originality of the rims. The ones that are still original are sought after by some people. An unaltered RB150 can bring more than a Mastertone from the same era if it is in good shape.
If the banjo in question is in fair condition then $1400 is a reasonable price unless there is structural damage. A bent flange is only cosmetic but it could be part of something much worse.
Even RB100's can fetch upward of $1400. If it is, indeed, an RB150, and the person is wrong about the year of manufacture, then the price would be a steal. But, only pictures can tell the whole story.
I hope that made sense.

Edited by - Culloden on 04/30/2021 07:56:12

Apr 30, 2021 - 8:17:57 AM

86 posts since 4/9/2019

sunburst mahogany neck and double w-b-w-bound resonator (concentric rings of w-b-w purfling on resonator back),
22-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl bowtie inlays,
1-3/8? nut width,
26-3/8? scale,
one-piece flange,
plain brass tone hoop,
nickel hardware,
unbound guitar style peghead with pearl “Gibson” and crown inlays


 

Apr 30, 2021 - 8:43:50 AM
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13979 posts since 10/30/2008
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Well it sure looks like a 1950s RB 150. Except for the tailpiece, which was a later Mastertone feature.

Apr 30, 2021 - 10:05:30 AM

3767 posts since 5/29/2011

Well, it's definitely an RB150. The tailpiece is a Baker from the early 1960's which, as Dick said, was used on Mastertones and the thumb key has been replaced with a geared one, a definite upgrade. The description is spot on. This was made in the 1950's.
Unless there is significant damage which is not apparent in the picture it is well worth $1400. I would be interested in this myself if I didn't think I would wind up in divorce court.

Apr 30, 2021 - 10:56:11 AM

1484 posts since 2/9/2007

You can tell somebody liked playing that banjo a whole lot. Look at the wear on that fingerboard!

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