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Need some information on what I believe is a Gibson RB250 2 pc flange and m

Sep 4, 2021 - 7:20:06 PM
2428 posts since 12/18/2004

I am trying to help a friend out with selling his Gibson banjo.
I know that these Gibsons are not very popular for obvious reasons but I have a few questions.
The serial # or FON is on peg head and is 419006 and it has Made in USA under the number.
Can someone tell me the first year that Gibson made the 2 pc flange, mahogany multiply rim banjos?
Fiddle peghead and leaves and bows ebony board.....The owner says it is a 1969 but I always thought that these started showing up in the 1970s.......can anyone enlighten me on this?
Thanks
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

Sep 4, 2021 - 8:49:45 PM

12281 posts since 6/2/2008

There's been talk on the Hangout years back that this model may have showed up in late 1969. And this list at Banjophiles agrees they were produced in 69. But those have serial numbers beginning with 5. Also, the list has a 2-piece flange RB-250 with this inlay and headstock shown as 1965, which can't be right. Nothing with a serial number close to the one you post is a similar RB-250. And the closest listed serial numbers, beginning with 420 and 425, are from 1966 -- which doesn't prove anything about your friend's banjo. It's been mentioned on the Hangout that Gibson repeated serial numbers or backtracked ranges in this era. I've repeated that after reading it, but I'm not the first person to have said it.

1969 has been described on the Hangout as some type of transition year, because there were bowtie inlay RB-250s with fiddle cut headstock instead of paddle. Like this one that a seller on Reverb claimed was 1969.

I have a banjo that started out as a 70s RB-250. It has a 6-digit serial number beginning with 7, which I believe puts it early in the decade.

Sorry not to be more definitive. I think there's conflicting information out there. And Gibson was apparently inconsistent in numbering these things.

Sep 4, 2021 - 11:02:36 PM
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rcc56

USA

3745 posts since 2/20/2016

Gibson used 6 digit serial numbers in the 1960's, and then re-used them in the 1970's. This causes a lot of confusion, and a lot of mis-identification.


The way to tell the difference is that the "Made in USA" stamp was not used in the 1960's.
The presence of the "Made in USA" stamp under the number indicates that your instrument was made in the 1970's.


According to "Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars," a 400,000 serial number combined with the USA stamp was made in either 1974 or 1975.

Edited by - rcc56 on 09/04/2021 23:30:16

Sep 5, 2021 - 4:57:45 AM
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3487 posts since 4/27/2004

All I can add to what has been said is that the 2-piece flange, fiddle-shaped peghead with "prewar" inlay pattern first appeared, in the 1970 Gibson catalog. Nailing down anything definitively that Gibson did, would be like herding cats! Good luck!

Sep 5, 2021 - 6:06:39 AM
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2428 posts since 12/18/2004

Thanks to everyone.......I appreciate it!
Don Bryant

Sep 5, 2021 - 8:22:54 AM

12281 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

According to "Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars," a 400,000 serial number combined with the USA stamp was made in either 1974 or 1975.


Hey, Bob. What does Gruhn's Guide say about a 6-digit serial number 73xxxx ?

The list at Banjophiles is no help.

Thanks. 

Sep 5, 2021 - 9:13:07 AM
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rcc56

USA

3745 posts since 2/20/2016

The 700,000's with the US stamp were built from 1970 to 1972.
The 700,000's with no US stamp were built between 1966 and 1969.

Sep 5, 2021 - 1:12:55 PM

12281 posts since 6/2/2008

Thanks!  Made in USA. So 70-72.

I was already under the impression it was from early in the run of this model, but I couldn't remember where I got that idea. Maybe one of the discussions back when I bought the thing.

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