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Sale value of 1928 Gibson Mastertone conversion

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Aug 13, 2022 - 10:42:39 AM
9 posts since 8/11/2021

I have a 1928 Gibson Mastertone conversion that I would like to sell.
The rim ( stamped # 9011-1), two piece flange, hoop and all hooks and nuts are original and in excellent condition (no plating loss, no corrosion). Tailpiece is a Prucha Kershner, arm rest is a later two post replacement. The resonator is also a later replacement, I believe (no chalk # ).
The tone ring is a Bucks County 40 hole archtop, serial # 9. Unknown mahogony neck is in excellent condition with hearts and flowers inlay.

I would like to know a reasonable selling price for this banjo
Thanks

Edited by - taijiguy on 08/14/2022 09:16:36

Aug 13, 2022 - 11:12:11 AM

1971 posts since 5/19/2018

Please post pictures. With those, many here can see aspect that will give a better idea as to value. Front , back and inside serial numbers for verification.

Also, do you know who
Made the neck? Makes a difference in value.

Aug 13, 2022 - 3:58:28 PM

rcc56

USA

4430 posts since 2/20/2016

Original parts: rim, flange, hooks and nuts, tension hoop.
Changed parts: resonator, tone ring, neck, armrest, tailpiece.
Unknown: coordinator rods, resonator hardware.

A lot of changes there.

I find a reference to a PB-6 with that number. If that reference is accurate, the original metal parts on a style 6 would have been gold plated and the flange and hoop engraved. There should be a verifiably original Mastertone decal in the rim.

We'll have to figure out what the instrument was, is, and is not. The authenticity of the rim will have to be verified. I'll say no more without pictures.

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/13/2022 16:01:46

Aug 14, 2022 - 6:34:03 AM

9 posts since 8/11/2021

Correction: serial number is 9011-1
The neck is unknown. When found, the neck literally appeared as if someone bought it unshaped and unfinished and simply painted it with polyurethane. I shaped, stained and finished it.
The tuners are Waverly 2 band, i believe the 5th is Schaller.
The rim has four resonator brackets; there are no drilled holes on the rim indicating any alteration.

Aug 14, 2022 - 9:26:09 AM

9 posts since 8/11/2021

I have posted pics on my home page, in a folder titled "1928 Mastertone"
The armrest is one piece with 2 attachment lugs with plating loss commensurate with some degree of age and the rim appears never to have had a single lug armrest (there are no screw holes where the third bracket would be, as it is on my 1950 Mastertone with a single lug armrest

Aug 14, 2022 - 10:45:52 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1704 posts since 8/9/2019

I think the Mastertone decal is also a reproduction.

Here it is next to my 1928 8977-5 TB3 (no hole ring).
The word 'will' below 'workmanship' looks off.

Many things about this banjo bring up red flags to me.

 

If the banjo sounds good and plays easily, I don't see it ever going for over 2500-3k..but I'm no expert. 


Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 08/14/2022 10:46:53

Aug 14, 2022 - 11:04:27 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1704 posts since 8/9/2019

Another remark.....is there only 3 resonator thumbscrews and 3 brackets, with no holes in the rim where the 4th thumbscrew bracket would would be?

If so, this doesn't indicate the rim to be from a Mastertone.

Hopefully real experts will chime in.

Aug 14, 2022 - 11:48 AM
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rcc56

USA

4430 posts since 2/20/2016

We need more pictures, including one showing the location of the resonator mounting hardware, one of the inside of the resonator, more pictures of the rim and flange from several angles, and one showing whether there is a patent stamp next to the factory order number.

The most I can say about this instrument is that I agree that the resonator is not right for a pre-war Mastertone, and that I also believe the Mastertone decal to be a reproduction.  The armrest is not a pre-war part.   Other than that, I can't evaluate the origin of the rim from what I can see right now.

Without further info, I'm calling this a "good utility instrument" or "parts banjo" rather than a "Mastertone conversion."

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/14/2022 11:57:35

Aug 14, 2022 - 2:07:09 PM
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14912 posts since 10/30/2008

This banjo has two "upper" coordinator rods. Missing a Gibson bottom coord. rod with the "long nut".

The two legged armrest is a 1970s armrest. All earlier armrests were single leg. Amrests don't leave "screw holes" anyplace on the banjo pot.

Aug 15, 2022 - 8:54:23 AM

9 posts since 8/11/2021

quote:Originally posted by rcc56We need more pictures, including one showing the location of the resonator mounting hardware, one of the inside of the resonator, more pictures of the rim and flange from several angles, and one showing whether there is a patent stamp next to the factory order number.

The most I can say about this instrument is that I agree that the resonator is not right for a pre-war Mastertone, and that I also believe the Mastertone decal to be a reproduction. The armrest is not a pre-war part. Other than that, I can't evaluate the origin of the rim from what I can see right now.

Without further info, I'm calling this a "good utility instrument" or "parts banjo" rather than a "Mastertone conversion."

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Aug 15, 2022 - 12:10:27 PM
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rcc56

USA

4430 posts since 2/20/2016

I've looked at your new pictures, and while your rim looks rather "Gibson-y," I do not believe it to be an original pre-war TB-3 rim. The fonts on the stamps don't match what is usually seen, and the lower bass side resonator lug is not in the usual position.  If it was made by Gibson, I will guess that it originally came from a non-resonator model and that the stamps were added later.

Unless someone else sees something that I'm missing or am mistaken about, I'm still calling it a "good utility instrument" or "parts banjo."
The price would be largely dependent on how good the instrument sounds.

I know a bit about the old Mastertones, but don't consider myself to be an expert; so I'm very interested in whether others agree with my thoughts on this instrument.

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/15/2022 12:12:48

Aug 15, 2022 - 12:21:35 PM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1704 posts since 8/9/2019

Would be nice/useful if the original poster would tell where/how he came about this banjo.

The plies and colour of the rim do look like the old Gibsons, but its near impossible to tell without having it in your hands.

I'd be very hesitant to sell it as a pre-War Mastertone 5 string conversion TB3.
Not sure anyone would remove an original Gibson pre war 40 hole raised head ring fora modern repo 40 hole raised head...for starters.

I'd like to see the upper lip of the rim with the ring removed....
If it's a fake, it's not a very well executed one.

Aug 16, 2022 - 4:52:19 AM

9 posts since 8/11/2021

I have posted more pics on my home page.
I came across this banjo in a small town music store in central NY state. I noted the serial # and posted on this forum, asking for someone to date the instrument. the response was 1928.
Please understand that although I have played the banjo for about 60 years and my personal instrument is a 1950 Mastertone conversion, I don't claim to know a great deal about old Mastertones in any sense. I cleaned and set up this banjo,and was surprised to see the Buck tone ring. I will say that the tone and volume of this banjo impresses me; everyone on line who has a Buck tone ring agrees that they are first rate. The banjo plays very well indeed.
I paid $900.00 for it. I no longer play bluegrass and have been playing classical music for many years. My 1950 Mastertone is set up to produce the tone I prefer for Classical music and the banjo in question on this forum is ,to my ear, a flat out bluegrass banjo.
I'm simply trying to sell it a reasonably price and possibly replace it with a Vega Tubaphone or something similar for a second instrument. Any leads would be appreciated.

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