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Aug 31, 2021 - 9:32:48 AM
809 posts since 5/22/2006

One of my best friends in the world gifted me this Gibson, and I’m having a hard time nailing down exactly what it is. It’s a ‘60s RB-100 neck (1968 I think-serial number is 959804) but the pot is somewhat of a mystery. No label, 2 coordinator rods, and a Mastertone ring. I’m looking for any ideas anyone more knowledgeable than I am might have. It’s a fantastic sounding banjo, and one of the most generous gifts I’ve ever received. It needs some work and a good setup. I’d love to have a new neck put on it, because this one had a pretty serious heel crack at some point, though it is stable. So if anyone has any leads on a good bowtie RB-250 neck let me know. Thanks a million!












Aug 31, 2021 - 9:46:31 AM
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4739 posts since 5/9/2007

Looks like it’s been “loved”.

Aug 31, 2021 - 9:46:54 AM
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RioStat

USA

5591 posts since 10/12/2009

1950-70's RB 100's (and bowtie Mastertones) had no rim label. 

Someone has cut the rim and added a flathead tone ring.

Aug 31, 2021 - 9:57:10 AM
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177 posts since 11/1/2007

Looks as if the second coordinator rod may have been added later since they don’t have the same patina

Aug 31, 2021 - 10:10:54 AM

809 posts since 5/22/2006

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

1950-70's RB 100's (and bowtie Mastertones) had no rim label. 

Someone has cut the rim and added a flathead tone ring.


Ah ok. Does the rim look right? 

Aug 31, 2021 - 11:21:37 AM

12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by dustyelmer
Ah ok. Does the rim look right? 

If it's '68, then the original rim would be multi-ply and possibly thin.

I'm not sure if this what I'm seeing, but the non-original tone ring appears to over-hang the inner wall of the rim, leading me to think the rim is thin.

While the sunburst, single-bound, resonator is correct to my understanding of '50s-'60s RB-100, this one has 4 lugs instead of 3 that would be original to RB100.

Someone who owns one of these will have to comment on whether the nuts look right,

Since this has been modified with the tone ring, I don't know if originality of other parts is important.

1970s RB100 would have a fiddle cut peghead, three-piece laminated mahogany neck, and single-bound mahogany resonator.

Edited to add:  The lower section of the heel is not making contact with the rim. This should be corrected by tightening the lower coordinator rod. If that doesn't help, then it's possible the hanger bolt is loose in the heel. 

Edited further to add: An original 1-piece flange from this era will have the Doehler casting mark in the neck area:

Edited by - Old Hickory on 08/31/2021 11:32:55

Aug 31, 2021 - 11:40:57 AM

14240 posts since 10/30/2008

This is two banjos made into one, IMHO.

The pot is a late 1960s thin plywood rim, overhanging flat head ring from an RB 250. Not a tone ring added to an RB 100 pot.

Upper coord rod was added by someone.

Neck and resonator are from a 1960s RB 100.

Tightening up that lower coord rod to eliminate the huge gap between the neck heel and the rim could quite possibly bust open the neck heel crack. Be careful.

Aug 31, 2021 - 12:06:01 PM

heavy5

USA

1866 posts since 11/3/2016

As Dick alludes to , looks like the flange cut out in the heel is not deep enough , hard to tell w/o a closer look . Possibly created the break .

Aug 31, 2021 - 12:21:25 PM

809 posts since 5/22/2006

Thanks for all the tips, guys. I went ahead and tightened the co-rod and it did snug right up to the pot. No Doehler mark on the flange.

Aug 31, 2021 - 12:37:21 PM
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11757 posts since 10/27/2006

I would make it playable then Stop and declare it done. It will be a conversation piece — no worries there.

You get to give the answer to all questions, "Well… I'm not really sure… Did I mention I got it for free?"

Everyone else, "Oh man, did you luck out!"

I hope it sounds like a million bucks.

Aug 31, 2021 - 12:37:24 PM

12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by dustyelmer

No Doehler mark on the flange.


Well, it's usually going to be hidden by the neck. Or are you saying you got enough of a peek into there to see there's no mark?

Aug 31, 2021 - 12:42:03 PM

809 posts since 5/22/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by dustyelmer

No Doehler mark on the flange.


Well, it's usually going to be hidden by the neck. Or are you saying you got enough of a peek into there to see there's no mark?


I took the resonator off and looked around both sides of the flange, I didn't look in the cracks though. I'll pop the reso back off and have a closer look. It'd be nice to find the mark!

Aug 31, 2021 - 1:02:53 PM
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12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by dustyelmer
I took the resonator off and looked around both sides of the flange, I didn't look in the cracks though. I'll pop the reso back off and have a closer look. It'd be nice to find the mark!

The Doehler casting mark is in the area where the neck attaches, so it's usually only visible when the neck is removed. It's to the 1st string side of that. Slightly left of 12-o'clock if you're looking at it from behind/underneath. 

With the neck on, it will be difficult to see the mark. Maybe some time in the future you'll have reason to remove the neck. No need to be doing that now and risk opening that crack.

Aug 31, 2021 - 1:15:34 PM
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Jbo1

USA

1050 posts since 5/19/2007

I don't know about the banjo, but I do know I need some new friends.

Aug 31, 2021 - 1:56:51 PM
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241 posts since 11/16/2011

The top coordinator rod may have been added however 1969 was a transition year. A 1969 bowtie RB250, didn't pay attention to RB100s, is likely to have four resonator thumbscrews and two coordinator rods, the lower in chrome and the upper one in nickel.

It is likely the coordinator rods and four thumbscrews are original if there is no indication of a resonator lug and bracket being moved (and one added)

Sep 1, 2021 - 10:33:40 AM

12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by 550Spyder

A 1969 bowtie RB250 . . . is likely to have . . .two coordinator rods, the lower in chrome and the upper one in nickel.


Wow!  There's an odd piece of design trivia.  I'd sure like to hear the explanation for that. 

Sep 1, 2021 - 10:46:01 AM
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Jbo1

USA

1050 posts since 5/19/2007

It's.....Gibson?

Sep 2, 2021 - 6:40:58 AM

350 posts since 2/14/2013

I concur with Oldtimer. The pot is original late 60s Gibson Style 250 (maybe was a tenor originally--this would explain the added RB-100 neck) rim, thin black rim with overhanging tone ring. The flange looks original chrome-plated Doehler. Hardware looks correct. Neck and resonator are RB-100... you can also see the resonator was a 3-lug layout originally --the extra lug hole where the original lug was moved to convert to a 4-lug configuration. The neck crack wouldn't bother me at all if it was stable. Glad you successfully tightened the lower coordinator rod to bring the neck heel up tight against the rim... I would imagine that this alone substantially improved the tone of the banjo! Congratulations... should be a fine instrument!

Sep 2, 2021 - 2:50:59 PM
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11757 posts since 10/27/2006

Although 1967 was the transition year from nickel to chrome plate, parts is parts. One cannot assume that whoever stocked the bins was careful to let the old stock run out completely before refilling. As you got to the bottom of the bin or the back of a shelf, some of the older parts would be there waiting to be mixed in with the new.

Sep 2, 2021 - 3:10:14 PM

12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by StudioKing

... you can also see the resonator was a 3-lug layout originally --the extra lug hole where the original lug was moved to convert to a 4-lug configuration. 


Can you describe where that is? I've been looking for it, but I sure can't see it.

Also: Where are the lugs in a Gibson resonator with 3?  I get the impression from your post that two of the locations are the same as when there are 4.

Sep 2, 2021 - 4:44:16 PM
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RioStat

USA

5591 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by StudioKing

... you can also see the resonator was a 3-lug layout originally --the extra lug hole where the original lug was moved to convert to a 4-lug configuration. 


Can you describe where that is? I've been looking for it, but I sure can't see it.

Also: Where are the lugs in a Gibson resonator with 3?  I get the impression from your post that two of the locations are the same as when there are 4.


Ken, if you use the neck notch as 12 o'clock, then the lug at 4 o'clock has been moved from.....say 5:30, and the lug at 7 o'clock has been added

Sep 3, 2021 - 5:07:07 AM
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809 posts since 5/22/2006

Thanks for all the input, you all definitely shed some light on this formerly mysterious banjo. Seems like I have a mish-mash of original Gibson parts, and that’s good enough for me! I’ve wanted a Gibson Mastertone for years and this is pretty close, it sounds great, and the price was right! Does anyone have any lines on a replacement RB-250 bowtie neck?

Sep 3, 2021 - 5:36:33 AM
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12268 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
Ken, if you use the neck notch as 12 o'clock, then the lug at 4 o'clock has been moved from.....say 5:30, and the lug at 7 o'clock has been added

Thanks! Now I see it. A 3-lug set-up lacks the one at the armrest and has one just to the other side of the tailpiece.

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