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Apr 19, 2024 - 5:31:19 PM



30 posts since 1/27/2008
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Can anyone who’s handled many pw original Gibson 5-string banjos tell me if the construction of each style neck on any given year was more or less the same? Other than ornamentation, for example, would a 1930 Gibson RB-1 neck be and feel identical to a #2, 3, 4, 6, 11, etc?

Apr 19, 2024 - 7:15:49 PM
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3347 posts since 1/15/2014

In my experience, yes, they are all pretty similar - far more similar, say, than Vega necks.

Apr 20, 2024 - 6:51:58 AM
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3567 posts since 4/27/2004

I would have to say, similar? maybe. Identical, not at all. All Gibson necks were hand-made and each had subtle differences. Take for example the most well-known batch of all, 9584. It is well documented that Earl believed the neck of -3 was too chunky. -5 also has a chunky neck but -1 and -2 had a somewhat slimmer profile. Some of the cheaper models didn't have a hand-stop.

Apr 22, 2024 - 10:10:22 AM

2796 posts since 1/4/2009

In my experience they are different , maybe not or the degree as a Vega as pointed out, but certainly in terms of shape and feel different , as mentioned they are all hand made. That said my rb00 neck is very similar to the late thirties 5 sting neck have played. but is thinner and has a much different feel from the finish than my 1926 five string neck, which is slightly thicker and bulkier with less glossy finish. Keep in mind prewar Gibson banjos as usually discussed are really just referring to basically a 15 year period from the late 20s to early 40s. I think the biggest differences in necks probably aligns with the changes in pots. Two peice flange to opf aligns with changing from fiddle to double cut and the change to top tension top tension introduced radiused fretboards.

Apr 22, 2024 - 12:04:29 PM

15681 posts since 10/30/2008
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The skinniest Gibson neck I ever played was on a lovely RB 2 from the early 1930s, at Gruhn's years ago. It was ALARMINGLY skinny!

So, as always, don't think of Gibson adhering to "standards"!

And it's mentioned above that in the later 30s and early 40s, volutes were often sacrificed, even on Mastertone models.

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