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Dec 6, 2023 - 1:55:44 AM
20 posts since 3/17/2015

I have a 2007 Gibson RB-3, certified a pure Gibson, that does not have a FON. Any ideas as to why and when Gibson stopped putting FONs on their banjos.

Dec 6, 2023 - 6:19:16 AM

beegee

USA

23243 posts since 7/6/2005

As far as I know Gibson stopped using FON's way back when, and went to a serial number in various configurations and locations o the banjo.

Dec 6, 2023 - 6:19:47 AM

RB3

USA

1915 posts since 4/12/2004

I believe that the numbers in the Gibson banjos that were manufactured after World War 2 were a type of date-coded serial number, rather than the factory order numbers that were put on the banjos that were manufactured before the War.

Dec 6, 2023 - 6:23:56 AM
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2749 posts since 1/4/2009

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoMSA

I have a 2007 Gibson RB-3, certified a pure Gibson, that does not have a FON. Any ideas as to why and when Gibson stopped putting FONs on their banjos.


to avoid confusion here Gibson used a FON (factory order number)  which was a batch number followed by the an id for that individual item number, so my 1930 is batch 9597- item number 27. 

Some time in the 50s or 60s they stopped using this and went to a serial number, the serial numbers over the years changed the sequence. 

But all real gibson banjos (the ones labeled gibson) will have a number of some kind stamped inside the rim or the back of the headstock, if its lacking any number and its branded gibson then it is not a fully gibson made banjo.

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:13:17 AM

2153 posts since 2/10/2003

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoMSA

I have a 2007 Gibson RB-3, certified a pure Gibson, that does not have a FON. Any ideas as to why and when Gibson stopped putting FONs on their banjos.


A 2007 RB 3 would have a serial number stamped in the rim.  Should be something like 3-07xx-xx.

Also, what do you mean by certified a pure Gibson?  Did you have someone authenticate/appraise it? If so they would have stated the serial number  

Edited by - 250gibson on 12/06/2023 07:15:31

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:36:31 AM

813 posts since 11/9/2003

I noticed on the online prewar serial number charts it shows that in the mid to late 30's there were 3 digit serial numbers followed by the batch numbers stamped in the rims. Unlike the the 4 digit numbers in most other prewar banjo rims. Are these 3 digit serial numbers considered the FON also ?

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:47:35 AM

20 posts since 3/17/2015

I have a 1932 TB-4 with FON 276-9. Is this what you are meaning?

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:57:54 AM

813 posts since 11/9/2003

Yes. I've saw a banjo on line for sale that was actually stamped with the letters " FON" - ###-### then the actual serial number. I was wondering about the difference

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:59:24 AM

813 posts since 11/9/2003

Some omit the "FON" letters

Dec 6, 2023 - 8:00:58 AM

20 posts since 3/17/2015

Not sure about that. I have never seen a prewar Gibson banjo with the letters “FON” stamped into the rim.

Dec 6, 2023 - 8:10:57 AM

813 posts since 11/9/2003

I've only seen one with the actual FON letters stamped in it followed by the serial number. I'm thinking it was a banjo with the rim replaced and whoever replaced it re stamped the number and added "FON" in front of the number

Dec 6, 2023 - 9:52:09 AM

2330 posts since 5/19/2018

If it legitimately came out of the Gibson factory, it is going to have a serial number or a Factory order number. If it does not have a FON or a Serial Number, it is either not a 100% original Gibson instrument and may have had the rim or neck switched out. It is not Gibson at all. Or if it is made of all Gibson parts, could have left the factory under less than honest ways, ( Doubtful) or was assembled by a Gibson employee with Gibson parts.

Post some pictures. They will tell a great deal.

Dec 6, 2023 - 10:08:10 AM

3550 posts since 4/27/2004

I'm pretty sure Gibson made new banjos up until the flood of 2010. So a banjo made in 2007 would not likely be the last known Gibson banjo produced.

Dec 6, 2023 - 11:02:03 AM

15584 posts since 10/30/2008

I would not trust a "Gibson" banjo at least post 1987, without a number stamped in the rim. There are those who "believe". I am not one of them.  Well let me clarify just a bit; I don't "believe" in the case of any banjo I would expect to sell for full value someday in the future.  Perhaps even my estate my sell it.   How do I (or my estate) convince a buyer it's authentic?

Now if you bought the banjo because you just adore it and had to have it, and to hell with future sales value, well, I guess in that case I can see how one could "believe".

Edited by - The Old Timer on 12/06/2023 11:04:22

Dec 6, 2023 - 11:38:07 AM
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3006 posts since 4/16/2003

OP:

If that RB3 came out of the Gibson factory in 2007 as a regular production instrument, there will be a number stamped in the rim.

What is it?

Dec 6, 2023 - 11:42:46 AM

20 posts since 3/17/2015

No number. There is an indication that it was used for in-house promotional purposes. So, that may be why there is no number.

Dec 6, 2023 - 11:53:33 AM
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2749 posts since 1/4/2009

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoMSA

No number. There is an indication that it was used for in-house promotional purposes. So, that may be why there is no number.


theres no truth to this kind of story, even the prototypes have numbers. No number, not a factory product. that said post pictures.  https://guitars.com/inventory/ja6634-1984-gibson-earl-scruggs-standard-prototype-0001

Edited by - kyleb on 12/06/2023 11:55:42

Dec 6, 2023 - 1:18:06 PM
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2330 posts since 5/19/2018

If it was used for in house promotional reasons, in 2007, it would certainly have a serial number located on the instrument.

In close to 50 years of collecting and handling musical instruments, most of them Gibsons, I have never seen a complete instrument that left the factory that did not have some sort of serial, FON, or Promotional or Proto-type number on it.

If your instrument came out of the factory, and it is missing ID numbers, the parts that had serial numbers have been changed out.

That in no way diminishes the instrument. If it is an excellent sounding and playing banjo, the lack of numbers does not change that fact. Many folks here, a good number of professionals, play instruments that are Gibson copies, or parts banjos.

Dec 6, 2023 - 1:32:28 PM

2749 posts since 1/4/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

If it was used for in house promotional reasons, in 2007, it would certainly have a serial number located on the instrument.

In close to 50 years of collecting and handling musical instruments, most of them Gibsons, I have never seen a complete instrument that left the factory that did not have some sort of serial, FON, or Promotional or Proto-type number on it.

If your instrument came out of the factory, and it is missing ID numbers, the parts that had serial numbers have been changed out.

That in no way diminishes the instrument. If it is an excellent sounding and playing banjo, the lack of numbers does not change that fact. Many folks here, a good number of professionals, play instruments that are Gibson copies, or parts banjos.


well said! I have 4 or 5 prewar gibsons 2 original 5s and other conversions, my current favorite banjo to pick is a 90s copy. 

Dec 6, 2023 - 3:20:46 PM

14809 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by southerndrifter

I'm pretty sure Gibson made new banjos up until the flood of 2010. So a banjo made in 2007 would not likely be the last known Gibson banjo produced.


Does anyone have a Gibson banjo with a serial number or documentation that dates it to 2010?

Reason I ask is that in discussions here on this topic years ago, people in the industry with first hand knowledge of events said that Gibson had released its banjo staff and sold off any remaining banjo tooling that it owned by October or November of 2009. So according to this, by the time of the floods in May 2010, Gibson had been effectively out of the banjo business for six months. The flood  in 2010 provided a way to make official what had existed in fact since 2009.

Anyone know how many banjos Gibson made in 2008 and 2009?

Dec 6, 2023 - 4:23:14 PM

rcc56

USA

5004 posts since 2/20/2016

I have never seen nor heard of a modern-era Gibson product in original condition that did not have a serial number somewhere on the instrument . . . except for one example from a source that I consider to be extremely dubious.

60's and 70's banjos had serial numbers on the necks rather than the rims.  As has been mentioned earlier, banjos made since at least the mid 1980's had a number on the rim.

If there's no serial number on your rim, it is likely that either the rim has been changed, or the serial number was removed in an attempt to conceal a theft.

If there are no certification papers from the Gibson factory, it's not certified.  Even if there are factory papers, the instrument still could not be considered to be authentic without a number on the instrument to connect it to those papers.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We do very occasionally encounter low end Gibson instruments with no visible serial number or factory order number, but they were all built in the first half of the 20th century.  I've seen it on a couple of low-end mandolins and one LG-2 guitar.

Edited by - rcc56 on 12/06/2023 16:40:58

Dec 7, 2023 - 12:53:06 AM

eljimb0

USA

2102 posts since 7/24/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

I have never seen a complete instrument that left the factory that did not have some sort of serial, FON, or Promotional or Proto-type number on it.
 

Pb-11 mid 1930's ..no number anywhere. Lots of blue banjos have no numbers.

 


Dec 7, 2023 - 3:57:13 AM
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1237 posts since 7/25/2006

Your Banjo is like buying a used vehickle with no vin.  You can,t get a title. Same applies to your 2007 RB-3. No proof it even existed......

Dec 7, 2023 - 12:06:34 PM

bill53

USA

583 posts since 3/26/2004

is there such a thing as a rb 350 there is one on guitar center

Dec 7, 2023 - 2:45:20 PM

kevin

USA

1299 posts since 5/4/2003

There is one high end Gibson banjo I saw that was a prototype that did not have serial or fon number, it did have Gibson sticker, acquired and verified by Curtis McPeake many years ago. A reissue, in 89 to 93 years if I remember correctly.

Dec 9, 2023 - 6:50:30 PM

2390 posts since 10/12/2004
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I know of a 2003 RB-75 that has all original paperwork from Gibson, correct label, serial # on the paperwork, but not one stamped inside the rim.

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