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Nov 27, 2023 - 6:22:51 PM
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36 posts since 10/18/2023

Hi all,

Could someone help me date this Gibson RB-100 banjo? Thanks and happy holidays!

Nov 27, 2023 - 7:22:26 PM
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Players Union Member



6215 posts since 10/12/2009


See the attached link, scroll down to the 4-2522 xxx numbers

Nov 28, 2023 - 1:59:13 AM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks for this information RioStat. Would you also happen to know if this is considered a good year for these banjos? I found this on an auction site.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:05:46 AM
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5518 posts since 5/29/2011

Anywhere between 1949 and 1964 is considered a good year for these models. They were the ones with the thicker rim that had the brass hoop sitting on the inner edge. After that they went to the thinner, black rim and a hoop that sat on the outer edge.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:14:09 AM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thank you Culloden for that information. I am in the process of acquiring this banjo through an online auction. Based on the pictures that were provided, I do see that the rim is definitely dark brown (not black) and that there 3 thumbscrews that attach the resonator.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:42:03 AM
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14812 posts since 6/2/2008

Three-ply rim. A decade before Gibson went to multi-ply.

Right after the war the Doehler casting company reworked the die for the flange. The inner diameter at the bottom of the flange was reduced 1/8 inch from 10-13/16 prewar to 10-11/16 postwar.

Even Mastertones in this period had only three resonator screws.

Should sound good as-is or be conversion material. Your call.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:49:39 AM
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5518 posts since 5/29/2011

That is correct for an RB100 of that vintage. I believe that all RB100s had three thumb screws until the early 70s. The thick brown rim is the one Gibson used up until about 1965. The RB100 went to the larger hoop, which gave it a flat head appearance, when the thin black rim was introduced. The smaller hoop wouldn't sit on the inner edge of the thin rim.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:55:43 AM
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36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks Old Hickory for this additional information. My initial plan is to play it as is. As a beginner, I am too far away from thinking through conversion options. Just happy to be able to acquire an older resonator banjo.

Nov 28, 2023 - 6:56:52 AM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks again Culloden for this information. I am appreciative of all comments that members on this site are providing.

Nov 28, 2023 - 9:33:25 AM

5518 posts since 5/29/2011

Since you are planning to keep it original, it would be a good idea to keep those cam style D tuners on it. You may not have any need for D tuners at first but, eventually, you may want to use them, and those tuners are period correct for a banjo of that vintage. Despite all the hype about newer designs in D tuners, a number of banjo players are finding that they prefer the simplicity of the old cam style tuners. My first "good" banjo was a 1951 RB100 with a pair of Kluson D tuners on it. The ones in your pictures look like Burlile tuners.

Edited by - Culloden on 11/28/2023 09:34:13

Nov 28, 2023 - 11:10:54 AM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Hi Culloden, I attempted to add another picture that shows the tuners from the back. The description only mentioned that tuners had been updated, but did not mention the brand of tuner.

Nov 28, 2023 - 11:56:46 AM

5518 posts since 5/29/2011

The regular tuners appear to be 5Star brand from Stewart MacDonald. They are better quality than the Elton tuners that came on the banjo from the factory.
The D tuners in the middle are the ones I was referring to.

Nov 28, 2023 - 12:10:50 PM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks again for the education Culloden. I didn’t focus on you mentioning D tuners, my brain processed only the word tuners and I proceeded to send a picture of the back. At least the description that was provided has been pretty accurate so far. The description also mentioned that the tail piece had been replaced with a Fults Cumberland and that a Walt Pittman 5th string capo was added. The banjo also comes with the original case.

Nov 29, 2023 - 12:08:38 PM
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13007 posts since 10/27/2006

Originally posted by cease29

Thanks Old Hickory for this additional information. My initial plan is to play it as is. As a beginner, I am too far away from thinking through conversion options. Just happy to be able to acquire an older resonator banjo.

You have an easy modification available on this banjo. An 11" hoop and a medium or high crown head turn this into a flat top--StewMac has both items. The best part is that if you don't care for the change (fuller low end), it's completely reversible by reinstalling the original hoop and low crown head. 

Nov 29, 2023 - 12:27:19 PM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

mikehalloran thanks for this information.

Dec 7, 2023 - 10:24:45 AM
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36 posts since 10/18/2023

Hi all.

Just wanted to thank you again for the comments. The banjo arrived today and it looks to be in great shape. I added two pictures. Happy holidays to all!!!!

Dec 10, 2023 - 8:58:36 PM

64 posts since 11/7/2019

I have Tb100 # 171514 ( 1964 ) mint cond. I need an original RB neck -anyone ?

Dec 11, 2023 - 10:07:21 AM
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2750 posts since 1/4/2009

My advice, when dating an old Gibson, you need to have respect , manners and treat them like a queen. Remember these old birds are not like the other women you have been dating , they are from a different era and you need to treat them as such. Opening doors , pushing in their seat at dinner and table manners are super important to make a good impression. Speak in complete sentences and avoid modern slang as it may confuse and upset them. 

Edited by - kyleb on 12/11/2023 10:08:27

Dec 11, 2023 - 10:21:17 AM
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36 posts since 10/18/2023

kyleb - will do. While I am a beginner, I am not young. This banjo will be treated with care.

Dec 12, 2023 - 5:26:48 AM

6321 posts since 10/6/2004

I posted a while back asking about why some RB100's had 'flathead' hoops and some [like yours and mine] have 'archtop' hoops - interesting post earlier about this - the transition from fat rim to thin rim would account for that -

Mine is a 1963 with a black rim, but full thickness and with the AT style hoop.

Forever learning here.

Dec 12, 2023 - 5:36:37 AM
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36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks country frank. You are spot on learning about banjos. This site and its members offer a wealth of knowledge and information..

Dec 14, 2023 - 9:25:38 AM

165 posts since 9/27/2014

Ken- you mentioned that Doehler reworked the die for their flange after WWII. What was the reason for this change?

Dec 14, 2023 - 7:45:12 PM

15585 posts since 10/30/2008
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cease29 you have a lovely banjo there.   All of the "upgrades" on it add value IMHO.  Original case is another feather in the cap.  I started on an RB 100 made about 1961-62 that looks just like yours.  My dad installed a set of Kluson D-tuners in it.  Your old Burlile D tuners are quite valuable in and of themselves.

Pre-war Gibson made all kinds of non-Mastertone banjos with BOTH the tone hoop sitting on the IN-side of the rim, and also on the OUT-side of the rim. I seem to remember the smaller diameter hoop was 9.5" or 9" and the larger one was 11". RB 10s and 11s notably, and the Kel Kroyden variants and Recording Kings and Studio Kings too. The larger diameter hoop was not developed for the post 1964 "thin rim" RB 100s. It may have been very true that they NEEDED to go to the larger diameter hoop because the inner diameter of the rim had become too great. But the 11" tone hoops had already been around for 30+ years at Gibson.

Edited by - The Old Timer on 12/14/2023 19:48:36

Dec 15, 2023 - 3:37 AM

36 posts since 10/18/2023

Thanks The Old Timer ! I didn’t notice that brass tone on the inside. As a matter of a fact, I showed this banjo to my teacher yesterday afternoon. He thoroughly inspected it and told me that the banjo was in great shape, another affirmation in addition to what others members on this site had posted. When he was inspecting the inside of the pot, he pointed out that brass tone ring to me. I truly feel lucky to have come across this banjo and look forward to preserve its legacy for years to come.

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