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May 6, 2021 - 3:29:43 PM
24 posts since 10/16/2008

Hi -

I'm based in the UK (but from Ireland)

I'm really keen on getting hold a good Gibson RB12 banjo Top Tension.

If anyone knows of someone who is holding on to one and considering selling?

I suppose preferably this side of the avoid the substantial extra cost if possible:)

If you could help...that would be great!



Edited by - Lynne on 05/07/2021 05:45:45

May 6, 2021 - 3:35:48 PM



729 posts since 2/18/2003

I'll bring you one over this try! I stay in Lisburn, Carryduff :)

May 6, 2021 - 3:41:44 PM

24 posts since 10/16/2008

Hey...Thanks for the reply.
I'm originally from Co.Down myself.
Sure you can let me know if you have one available and any pics / sound files etc would be great too!

May 6, 2021 - 8:50:16 PM

142 posts since 9/19/2005

I couldn’t find any Gibson top tension banjos but I remember seeing this Hawthorn top tension which looks really nice.

May 7, 2021 - 3:13:53 AM

24 posts since 10/16/2008

Thanks for the heads-up and the search!
I'll probably hold out for a RB12. The maple wood (as good as it sounds) is a little too bright for my ears:)
I prefer Mahogany and walnut (as I believe the Rb12 were originally made from)

May 7, 2021 - 8:09:15 AM

13964 posts since 10/30/2008

GD, the top tension construction seems to suppress a LOT of the Mastertone brightness, even of a maple banjo. I owned a newish RB 18 for some years. It was NOT bright.

That just seems to be part of the top tension outcome, in my experience. They are not as bright as "regular" Mastertones. Loud, yes, but not as bright no matter what the wood.

Bottom line, don't ignore a maple top tension -- check it out.

May 7, 2021 - 1:13:14 PM

24 posts since 10/16/2008

@The Old Timer
Thanks for the advice.
I haven’t had the chance to play any TT’s yet. Just from what I can hear online through my headphones.
I prefer a dryer sound and I like the silver rather than the gold finish. That’s why my taste gravitates towards the RB 12.
The RB 7 and RB 18 sound great too! No doubt about that!

May 8, 2021 - 7:16:46 AM

11413 posts since 10/27/2006

The most jaw-dropping, awesome banjo I ever played was an original RB-7 in Portland OR. 1991. I could have had it for $10,000. As a road musician with a family of 4, it may as well have been a million bucks.

This one has a few replaced parts so you can get it for $90,000.

At the moment, that's the only Gibson RB top tension I can find for sale.

Otherwise, the Hawthorns are available built to order.

May 8, 2021 - 7:53:32 AM

24 posts since 10/16/2008


Hi Mike


What a coincidence - I was just looking at this web page!!!

Yes. I think I'll bide my time til a reissue RB12 comes up. I haven't got a spare $90K lying around:)

I love their sound and look.

I'm a big fan of Bill Keith and Bill Knopf - both great TT's players.

They seem to have a sound the captures the era of the 1930's . (Bill Knopf)

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