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Gibson TB-3 Conversion flathead banjo general price

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Aug 14, 2022 - 11:30:37 PM
7 posts since 6/16/2022

Hello all,

I have been in the market for a Gibson prewar flathead banjo.
I recently came across a couple of good examples of Gibson prewar TB-3 flathead conversions for sale from the mid to late 20s that sound pretty good and I would say are between good to very good condition.
Does anyone have an idea on a price range a TB-3 like these would fall under?

Let me know if you have any thoughts or need/would like more information.


Thank you,
Luke Lastelick

Edited by - llastelick on 08/14/2022 23:39:22

Aug 15, 2022 - 3:50:46 AM
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4918 posts since 11/20/2004
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The two big questions would be one or two pc. Flange and are the tonerings original full weight flatheads or converted archtops.

Aug 15, 2022 - 4:53:56 AM

7 posts since 12/1/2006

Another big question is whether the rim has been cut.

Aug 15, 2022 - 5:25:25 AM

banjoy

USA

10431 posts since 7/1/2006

It would also be helpful to know who actually did the conversion, who made the neck, etc. It matters whether the conversion was done by a well known and respected individual, or by some unknown mystery maker. So, basically, provenance matters.

Aug 15, 2022 - 7:08:31 AM

heavy5

USA

2415 posts since 11/3/2016

Seller integrity
If listed here , did they just join to sell & have no feedback ?
Make sure u have permission to return it if not satisfied .
Authentication , do your homework on what to look for --- lots of good info here .

Aug 15, 2022 - 7:44:40 AM
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14915 posts since 10/30/2008

A two piece flange Style 3 conversion will run around $4000 plus or minus, depending on who did the work, if the rim was cut, who built the neck, overall condition, originality of other parts, etc. Higher at a vintage dealer, I recently saw one at Gruhn's at $5500. That would be "top of market" I suppose. (A 19295-26 ball bearing rim is usually valued a bit less due to unbound top edge of resonator, grooved instead of notched tension hoop, etc.)

A good late 1929 one piece flange style 3 will be roughly double the price of a two piece flange. They are not so plentiful.

Having the original tenor neck usually is worth a slight premium. If rim is uncut, original ball bearing or arch top tone ring with the deal is also a slight premium.

Aug 15, 2022 - 7:45:27 AM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

1710 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by llastelick

Hello all,

I have been in the market for a Gibson prewar flathead banjo.
I recently came across a couple of good examples of Gibson prewar TB-3 flathead conversions for sale from the mid to late 20s that sound pretty good and I would say are between good to very good condition.
Does anyone have an idea on a price range a TB-3 like these would fall under?

Let me know if you have any thoughts or need/would like more information.


Thank you,
Luke Lastelick


Just go look at the past history of TB3 flathead conversions in the classifieds. Its easy to get a feel for the prices.

 

They've gone up quite a bit since the pandemic. 

Aug 15, 2022 - 12:21:26 PM

rcc56

USA

4434 posts since 2/20/2016

There are also not many of them floating around on the market right now.

If I were going to offer any advice, I'd look for one with an uncut rim and a "no cut" archtop-to-flathead conversion tone ring installed, that also included the original archtop ring in the sale.

And yes, most of the few that I see these days are $4k and up for 2 pc. flange archtop conversions, perhaps a little less for banjos from the ball bearing years.

Edited by - rcc56 on 08/15/2022 12:22:27

Aug 15, 2022 - 10:58:01 PM
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rvrose

USA

889 posts since 6/29/2007

I bought one on bho this year. 1925 tb3 flat head conversion from bb. New full weight Sullivan ring. Rim was uncut. Included all original parts to revert back to original bb pot if desired. Advertised for $3400.

Edited by - rvrose on 08/15/2022 22:59:46

Aug 16, 2022 - 4:20:40 AM

4918 posts since 11/20/2004
Online Now

Ball bearing banjos in my experience are a different discussion in both sound and value from later models. Both are good and can sound "prewar", but not the same.

Edited by - lightgauge on 08/16/2022 04:21:07

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Aug 28, 2022 - 11:31:19 AM

3995 posts since 9/9/2010

$3,500-$5,500+ depending if it's private or retail. Things have increased a significant amount in the past few years. You could buy one of these for $2,500 privately in the past ten years.

If you go through Jim Mills, you might be at more.   This is from his site:

     "I sell these completely Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Style 1 and 2 Conversion banjos in the $6,500.00 to $7,000.00 range regularly……..and this includes a personal “set up” by me…a “Letter of Authenticity”…. Guaranteeing the banjo to be 100% original in writing, a Deluxe Hardshell 5 string case….and their original tenor necks when available….

https://prewargibsonbanjos.com/buy-and-sell/

Edited by - JMalmsteen on 08/28/2022 11:36:28

Aug 28, 2022 - 7:33:58 PM

2325 posts since 10/12/2004

quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

A two piece flange Style 3 conversion will run around $4000 plus or minus, depending on who did the work, if the rim was cut, who built the neck, overall condition, originality of other parts, etc. Higher at a vintage dealer, I recently saw one at Gruhn's at $5500. That would be "top of market" I suppose. (A 19295-26 ball bearing rim is usually valued a bit less due to unbound top edge of resonator, grooved instead of notched tension hoop, etc.)

A good late 1929 one piece flange style 3 will be roughly double the price of a two piece flange. They are not so plentiful.

Having the original tenor neck usually is worth a slight premium. If rim is uncut, original ball bearing or arch top tone ring with the deal is also a slight premium.


He stated a prewar Flathead. You will not find a prewar, one piece flange 3 for those prices.

Edited by - Stevespickn on 08/28/2022 19:35:15

Aug 29, 2022 - 5:08:15 AM
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8119 posts since 9/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Stevespickn
quote:
Originally posted by The Old Timer

A two piece flange Style 3 conversion will run around $4000 plus or minus, depending on who did the work, if the rim was cut, who built the neck, overall condition, originality of other parts, etc. Higher at a vintage dealer, I recently saw one at Gruhn's at $5500. That would be "top of market" I suppose. (A 19295-26 ball bearing rim is usually valued a bit less due to unbound top edge of resonator, grooved instead of notched tension hoop, etc.)

A good late 1929 one piece flange style 3 will be roughly double the price of a two piece flange. They are not so plentiful.

Having the original tenor neck usually is worth a slight premium. If rim is uncut, original ball bearing or arch top tone ring with the deal is also a slight premium.


He stated a prewar Flathead. You will not find a prewar, one piece flange 3 for those prices.


you are right steve,,he did say flathead,,,he didn't say if it was a conversion flathead,,if it is a late 29 flathead it would be quite a bit more then that.  i guess we needed a little more info. is the conversion just the neck or neck and tone ring ?

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 08/29/2022 05:09:31

Aug 29, 2022 - 8:20:20 AM

14915 posts since 10/30/2008

There's a pre war flat head 1 pc flange conversion (wreath neck) Style 3 for sale for $45,000 (for many months) at Greg Boyd's in Montana (on line). I think it states the the pre-war flat head tone ring in it was not original to this banjo but is one of those "orphaned" rings.  The pot was an arch top originally, so it had to be cut.   

I don't know if the Original Poster (OP) knows or not, but pre-war tenors were almost ALWAYS arch tops.   One piece flange plectrums and 5 strings were much more likely to be flat heads.

The least expensive original pre war flat heads with converted neck nowadays tend to be Top Tension models.  They're not as popular as Style 3 or 75.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 08/29/2022 08:25:27

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