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Nov 28, 2021 - 8:17:15 AM

Chris-Doll

Germany

3 posts since 11/28/2021

Dear Banjo experts
I inherited a couple of Banjos from my Dad,
A really nice Gibson Earl Scruggs Mastertone and an Epiphone Masterbuilt that are 100% legit and then this "Gibson?"
It does not have the resonator anymore or is built as an open back, I only play guitar and don't have a lot of knowledge about Banjos but heard that there a a lot of fakes around.
It hast been collecting dust the last years and I wanted to ask if anybody here can give me any information about this model, thanks for your help!




 

Nov 28, 2021 - 8:27:53 AM
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1661 posts since 5/19/2018

It looks like what you have is a 20’s Style 1 pot, with either a late 20’s Gibson No-Hole ring or a late 70’s Stew Mac no hole ring, mated to a somewhat of a style 4 neck. All in an open back configuration. Basically a parts banjo.

Not very valuable, but I bet it is one heck of a banjo for the older, non- Bluegrass styles of music.

Nice instrument.

Nov 28, 2021 - 8:42:35 AM
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4009 posts since 5/1/2003

There might be a number stamped in the rim.
A flat 22 hook flange will fit right on there plus a good resonator would make a fine bluegrass banjo.

Nov 28, 2021 - 8:44:42 AM
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rcc56

USA

3910 posts since 2/20/2016

This is what we call a "parts banjo." It appears to have been built from parts assembled to an old Gibson TB-1 or TB-2 rim. At least some of the parts are modern. The rim has been cut to accept the installation of the tone ring.

Your pictures do not show enough to determine whether or not the tension hoop, shoes, hooks, and nuts are original Gibson parts. The tailpiece is not a Gibson part.

I cannot determine the origin of the neck, but we would describe it as a having a "fiddle-cut" peghead and "hearts and flowers" fingerboard inlays.  It does not appear to be a Gibson neck.

Is the rim diameter 11 inches or only 10 1/2 inches?

Edited by - rcc56 on 11/28/2021 08:56:58

Nov 28, 2021 - 8:54:05 AM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5674 posts since 10/12/2009

The neck either has no truss rod or one that adjusts from the heel.

Two holes on the headstock show where an unneccesary truss rod cover used to be.

Nov 28, 2021 - 10:37:05 AM

Chris-Doll

Germany

3 posts since 11/28/2021

Thank you so much for all of your replies,
I really appreciate your knowledge and didn't expect so many replies in such a short time!
The rim diameter is 11 Inches and there is no truss rod on the neck, unfortunately there is also a big crack in the wood. There is a number stamped in the rim, 8256-28.
I'm thinking if I should keep it like it is and use it as a openback since I already have two other resonator Banjos or If I should add a resonator.
Best Regards
Chris Doll




 

Nov 28, 2021 - 11:29:45 AM
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40 posts since 11/7/2019

According to Spann's guide , the pot is from a TB -1 . 1926.

Nov 28, 2021 - 3:44:16 PM

4721 posts since 11/20/2004

Some of these had an outer veneer layer over the outside of the rim, sometimes covering block construction. That crack maybe insignificant to structural integrity. A couple of these I have known of made great banjos.

Nov 28, 2021 - 5:14:28 PM
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rcc56

USA

3910 posts since 2/20/2016

Whether or not to add a resonator?
Since you already have 2 resonator banjos, it might be nice to have an open back.  And you have one now that is hopefully completely serviceable.
If you stick a resonator on this one and decide you want an open back later, you might be tempted to buy something else.
Which would give you 4 banjos in the stable. By then, you will have contracted BAS [banjo acquisition syndrome] and you will want more.
And then, if you happen to be married, chances are good that your wife will not be pleased.

Getting rid of BAS can be difficult.  I took the pledge a few years back, but was still sorely tempted earlier this month when a particularly nice Stewart #3 with all the extras came on the market at a very friendly price.  We don't see many of them, and this one was in better shape than most of them.  I had just put a new roof on my house, my property taxes are going up and are due soon, and I just paid my homeowner's insurance bill, which has gone up 20%.  I'm counting pennies at the grocery store.  Not a good time to buy an instrument.  I tried my #1 treatment, which is waiting, but I was weakening.

Thankfully, someone else spotted it within a couple of days, bought it, and relieved my temptations.

Edited by - rcc56 on 11/28/2021 17:25:20

Nov 29, 2021 - 2:28:43 AM

Chris-Doll

Germany

3 posts since 11/28/2021

@rcc56
Thank you so much for your brilliant answer, made me spit out my coffee this morning!!!
As I already have a severe case of GAS [guitar acquisition syndrome] and just started with
pedal steel guitar as well I really hope I can avoid BAS as I heard there's no cure for it too...
Be strong and resist the temptation & stay healthy
Chris

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:04:25 AM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

10032 posts since 1/22/2003

GAS is my way to fight BAS, doesn't make it any better though.

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:40:19 AM

2251 posts since 1/4/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Chris-Doll

@rcc56
Thank you so much for your brilliant answer, made me spit out my coffee this morning!!!
As I already have a severe case of GAS [guitar acquisition syndrome] and just started with
pedal steel guitar as well I really hope I can avoid BAS as I heard there's no cure for it too...
Be strong and resist the temptation & stay healthy
Chris


Im afraid to tell you, since youve got this great banjo, and already are doing research on this site, youve got BAS. There is no cure except MORE BANJO. The good news is theres a large and active support group for you here. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:47:44 AM
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1706 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat

The neck either has no truss rod or one that adjusts from the heel.

Two holes on the headstock show where an unneccesary truss rod cover used to be.


yeah, and you can see the heel was cut for a Mastertone rim (not a plain rim with bracket shoes, which is what that is).  Filling that cut with a block of matching wood and reshaping the heel could improve the neck-to-rim fit and thereby improve the tone, but probably not enough to make that worth doing. 

The stresses that caused those cracks could be relieved some by fitting a pair of co-rods in that rim, which would definitely have a positive effect on tone. 

If it were mine, I'd first make sure everything was structurally sound, then add those co-rods (or at least a single rod, which is probably what that rim had originally).  If it turned out to be exceptionally fine-sounding, I'd be tempted to replace the neck with a new one that looks more like one Gibson would have put on that rim (darker fingerboard, much simpler inlay, etc.)

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:53:14 AM

hbick2

USA

490 posts since 6/26/2004

Press down on the headstock veneer over the area under the truss rod cover to see if it pushes in. There could be a truss rod under it. Sometimes builders leave this uncut until such time it is necessary to use it.

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