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May 20, 2024 - 6:13:44 PM
4 posts since 4/25/2024

Came across this Gibson banjo. Tag said RB800, but do not see Mastertone label, no serial number, or FON numbers. Is any of it real or just a possible replica. Any help is much appreciated, I’m a guitar guy.

May 20, 2024 - 6:20:52 PM
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15254 posts since 6/2/2008

With 1-piece flange and block style "Gibson" I'm going to **guess** this is 1960s. That era didn't have Mastertone label inside.

You might Google search 1960s RB-800 banjo and see what you find.

THe three-piece neck is consistent with the model.

May 20, 2024 - 6:22:34 PM



859 posts since 5/17/2007

I believe it is a Gibson RB-800 but I can't say as good as others which will comment. There is a # stamped on the back of the peghead about where the black lamination is. It's up and down by what I can see.

May 20, 2024 - 6:57:56 PM

4 posts since 4/25/2024

I do see the serial number on back of headstock. Thanks

May 20, 2024 - 7:13:57 PM
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400 posts since 11/16/2011

One piece flange RB800s were made between 1965-1969. This one is likely from 1966 if the 6-digit serial number starts with 84 as the picture indicates. 84xxxx could indicate 1969 however this example has a single coordinator and three resonator brackets. I've had '67-'69 800s and they all had double rods and four brackets. Even the 250 bowtie had double rods and four brackets in 1969. The tuners are not original but everything else looks correct. The top of the armrest should be engraved although perhaps worn away. It may show engraving on the side.

May 21, 2024 - 10:07:35 AM

13138 posts since 10/27/2006

Gibson re-used serial numbers between 1961–1971 and RB-800s date to 1962 last I looked (but not with that headstock). That said, this gives me those "real deal" vibes but it's going to take some detective work to know more.

The scars from the klunky, original Klusons and the Scruggs tuners are a clue.

May 21, 2024 - 1:32:56 PM

400 posts since 11/16/2011

The first two RB800s were shipped in 1964 if these Gibson shipping numbers are accurate

May 21, 2024 - 5:09:29 PM

2818 posts since 1/4/2009

doesnt that headstock say Gibsun???

May 21, 2024 - 6:57:52 PM
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15706 posts since 10/30/2008

Gibson's inlay cutters were very sloppy in that time period.

I have a contemporary RB 500. This banjo looks consistent to be the "natural finish" option RB 800. The original boxy Kluson tuners have been swapped out for Keiths and some type of planetaries.  It also had can D tuners in the past and the holes for them have been plugged.

1960s Mastertone inlay blocks used that unique font.

This period of RB 800s has the older fashioned 3 ply rim and a decent tone ring. Considered better sounding than the 1970s that had 10 ply rims and a different tone ring not as well regarded.

You can see photos of some contemporay RB 800s on Greg Earnest's fine website of Gibson banjo photos.  Click on "Post War Gibson Banjos".

Edited by - The Old Timer on 05/21/2024 19:01:45

May 22, 2024 - 8:12:45 AM



2637 posts since 11/29/2005

Looks legit, with normal for the time mods of cam tuner removal and 4 pounds of LKluson big old boxy tuners. Font on the mastertone block looks right for time period.

May 22, 2024 - 12:20:10 PM

400 posts since 11/16/2011

Originally posted by kyleb

doesnt that headstock say Gibsun???

It does, pure fake.   wink   Now available on Reverb

May 22, 2024 - 1:31:27 PM



5114 posts since 2/20/2016

Here's another one with the same big chunk missing from the "o" on the logo; this one dated 1969:

Sorry, windows has made it too much trouble to paste the actual picture.

Gibson guitars with pearl logos from the same period also have open topped o's, but not usually with such a a large opening.

Edited by - rcc56 on 05/22/2024 13:46:46

May 22, 2024 - 2:51:02 PM

168 posts since 9/27/2014

I bought an RB-800 in the mid 60s from Jackson’’s Music Store in Atlanta, Georgia that looked just like these photos- only one coordinator rod and only 3 brackets for the resonator.

I thought that the pre 1969 RB 100s and 250s just had the one coordinator rod and 3 resonator brackets. This banjo looks like an RB 800 of that time period to me.

May 23, 2024 - 6:30:30 AM



2637 posts since 11/29/2005

Gibson installed lots of “blobby” pearl logos mid 60s or at the least the few I’ve owned. Not very crisp at all. I wonder if they weren’t trying a new method, but it seemed to go away later and their logo got crisp again.

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